The shootings at Virginia Tech have left me wondering about how this could happen. I have spent 30 years as a Mental Health professional and have worked with many people who had serious mental health issues. Much of what I have seen is a product of the environment in which these ill individuals grew up. Let me make it clear here, I am not looking for blame here but instead see this as an opportunity for growth and deeper understanding.
At a society level there are factors to speculate about: during the time of war is killing minimized and rationalized; are violent video games having an ill affect on the human psyche; are we too busy to pay attention to those in trouble; should schools look at educating the whole person which means not only the minds but also the emotional and physical well being of the students; and other questions?
On a community level have you and I gotten too busy to pay attention to those around us who need care and compassion. Are there people in our families, at work, in our towns who we sense are isolated, afraid and in need of help. Do our communities have the resources to reach out and make a difference. Can we together do something in the form of compassionate action that would help?
How about on a personal level? Have you and I lost our own peace of mind through our hurry and worry lives? Have we been too busy to pay attention to our own emotional needs? There are many questions to ask. The best thing to do from this tragedy is to ask questions; to become more aware and conscious of ourselves and others; and to remember the importance of our hearts as a difference maker in the world.
This is a time for reflection and to do so will make us, our community, and our society healthier and better able to prevent or reduce future needless suffering and loss of life. Each of us can make a difference and our difference making is needed now maybe more then ever.
“Each of us in our own way can try to spread compassion into people’s hearts. Western civilizations these days place great importance on filling the human 'brain' with knowledge, but no one seems to care about filling the human 'heart' with compassion.” Dalai Lama
In seperateness lies the world's great misery, in compassion lies the world's true strength.” The Buddha
"Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." Albert Einstein