If you pay attention, you’ll notice that your thoughts will also drift away from those things and you don’t hurt in those moments. Even in the middle of unspeakable pain, thoughts part like the clouds and the sun peaks out for a second. Your peace of mind shines through for a minute or two before the clouds roll back through.
Those moments of peace are okay. They are part of the design.
Your pain doesn’t change what happened. It doesn’t take away the pain of the parents. It doesn’t prevent this from happening again.
It just means that one more person is in pain. You.
Feel what you feel when you feel it. But also remember—you will always feel your thinking and your thinking isn’t cemented in place. It is fluid, always floating in and out like the clouds.
It’s not honorable or helpful to endlessly watch the news coverage, stare at pictures of grieving parents, or incessantly recite the names of deceased children. It’s fine if you want to do that, but it’s not noble or helpful to do so.
Personally, I find that having those images accessible in my mind only causes me to hurt much more. It doesn’t take the pain away from anyone else. It doesn’t prevent future tragedy. It only spreads and prolongs the hurt.
When I feel the temptation to put myself in those parents’ shoes and go deeply into what they must be feeling, I attempt to pull back from those thoughts, send them a small prayer for peace, and spread a bit of love to the people around me instead.
We are all born happy and at peace. We restore that peaceful default by focusing on all the ways we see love and peace, not by focusing on where and when and how it sometimes goes horribly wrong.
I’m not talking about denying anything. I’m only saying that choosing to use pain as an excuse to spread more love makes a lot more sense than choosing to sit in the pain.
I know it’s idealistic and it might feel like ‘not enough’, but we really do change the world by starting with ourselves and the people around us. The world doesn’t change via laws or legislation or debates. It changes when you make absolute sure that your kids understand their true nature.
Make sure they know that no matter how bad things feel, they are only feeling their thoughts and that thoughts change in an instant.
Teach them that their true nature is infinite love and peace of mind and that the clouds will part if they allow them to. It’s never, ever as bad as their thinking would have them believe.
And if you don’t have children of your own, please share this with someone else’s kids. They are going to need to hear it more than once, with many different words and in many different voices.
Let’s just keep saying it.