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Love in Roseburg

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Roseburg is close to Linda and me. We drive through it frequently to see our Granddaughter who is a student at Oregon State University, then we drive through it again on our way home. We stop for coffee each time. Our granddaughter is the same age as some of the students at Umpqua Community College.
With each school killing conversations swirl around mental illness, racial and religious bigotry, and especially gun control. At first glance, gun control seems to be an immediate answer. The young unstable person who killed his fellow students had seven guns, all purchased legally. It is easy to buy an assault rifle in the United States. Here in Oregon, it is legal to carry it downtown. Changing that will be a step in a healthy direction, but the cause of killing lies elsewhere.

According to a Sioux story, the Creator called all the animals together and asked them, “Where can I hide from the humans the secret that they create their reality until they are ready to know it?” “Give it to me,” said the salmon. “I will take it to the bottom of the sea. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day the humans will go to the bottom of the sea, and they will find it.”

“Give it to me,” said the bear. “I will bury it in the mountain. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day they will dig into the mountain, and they will find it.” “Give it to me,” said the Eagle. “I will take it to the moon. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day they will even go to the moon, and they will find it.”

Then Grandmother Mole rose to speak. Everyone listened quietly, because they knew that she lives in the breast of Mother Earth and is very wise. “Put it inside them,” she said. “Ho!” said the Creator. “It is done.”

Now the secret is out. We are all discovering it. Each unchallenged moment of judgement, jealousy, anger, superiority, inferiority, and lack of compassion fuels killing, fuels brutality, fuels suffering. To change these things, we must change ourselves. We are each ultimately responsible for the world. That is the message of love that comes to us from Roseburg.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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ORLANDO, LOVE, AND LABELS

ORLANDO, LOVE, AND LABELS

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“Terrorist” is a label. There is no humanity in labels. There is no compassion in labels. Labels create villains and idols. The pain of an individual who claims allegiance to a symbol of hate and righteousness and then kills without connection is extreme. However, that pain is not as extraordinary as it might seem. It is shared by all of us. This pain cannot be relieved by hunting, capturing, or killing labels, such as “terrorists” and “infidels.”

People who are most shocked by the violence in our world have the most to gain from looking inside themselves. The violence in our world comes from us. It is generated by the pain of wanting desperately to belong and not belonging, needing desperately to love and feeling unlovable, wanting intensely to love and feeling incapable, seeing ourselves as ugly inside, inherently flawed, and permanently defective. It is an ever-present ever-pressing need to be on the side of “God,” of “right,” of “good” regardless of the cost to others. This is the pain of powerlessness.

We experience powerless parts of our personalities as anger, rage, righteousness, judgment, and need for revenge. Acting on them creates the violence in the world. Those who actually pull triggers and detonate bombs are our proxy actors. Unchallenged pain of powerlessness in us fuels the violence them, and we see the results in Orlando, Paris, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and every country and culture. Who pulled the trigger in Orlando? Who detonated the bombs in Boston and Baghdad? Our proxies. We held the gun in our fantasies of powerlessness. They detonated the bombs in theirs. What does pulling triggers and detonating bombs accomplish? It creates more violence, more hatred, more righteousness, and more labels.

To end violence in our world requires the courage to look inside ourselves. It requires asking, “Do I pull the trigger in my thoughts? Do I detonate bombs in my imagination? How often?” Every judgment and fantasy of violence carries the same energy as attacks with bullets and bombs. Ending the violence in the world requires finding in ourselves the parts of our personalities that label fellow souls as “terrorists” and “infidels” and challenging them by not acting on them. These are the parts that perceive others as without Divinity, and they perceive us the same way. When we disparage, judge, despise, or label another individual, we become like that individual, and we contribute more of what we disparage, despise, and judge to the world. If we have no compassion for those who have no compassion, what is the difference between us?

To end violence in our world requires the courage to look inside ourselves. It requires asking, “Do I pull the trigger in my thoughts? Do I detonate bombs in my imagination? How often?” Every judgment and fantasy of violence carries the same energy as attacks with bullets and bombs. Ending the violence in the world requires finding in ourselves the parts of our personalities that label fellow souls as “terrorists” and “infidels” and challenging them by not acting on them. These are the parts that perceive others as without Divinity, and they perceive us the same way. When we disparage, judge, despise, or label another individual, we become like that individual, and we contribute more of what we disparage, despise, and judge to the world. If we have no compassion for those who have no compassion, what is the difference between us?

Everyone who is grief-stricken and saddened by the violence in Orlando, in Paris, in the Middle East, by the violence of poverty that is everywhere and always, now has an opportunity to feel the pain of powerlessness inside and still choose to respond with compassion. This requires courage. Those who are outraged, righteous, and tormented by hatred have the same opportunity. In this we are brothers and sisters to those who disparage, despise, judge, and label us. We give to one another opportunities to choose love instead of fear, to change the world once and for all and for good. We offer one another the gift of love that underlies appearances of “ally” and “adversary” and is deeper than we can imagine.
Love.
Linda & Gary

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