On the same day that thousands of members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police mourned the murder of three of their colleagues in Moncton, New Brunswick, one man was shot on the street in an upscale urban part of Vancouver, on the other side of the country.
Meanwhile in the United States, a couple already fleeing from their murderous rampage in Las Vegas ended their lives – and killed yet another man carrying his own concealed weapon – in a shootout at a WalMart.
All on the same day. All on the same continent. In one country where guns are available virtually to everyone, and in another where guns are presumably restricted to the select few.
Day after day, week after week, more people are choosing guns to solve their disputes – whether it’s a dispute with individuals, the police, or society at large.
A friend told me that the day after the Vancouver shooting reporters were at the site asking the question: do you feel safe?
Do we? And for that matter should we?
What we need right now is more than new laws, new restrictions. Those only go so far. What people really need is to be trained in seeing beauty.
As the world becomes smaller, our sharing so often is not the beauty around us, but the horror. Our internet sites fill with people bent on one-upmanship, bullying and tearing each other apart. Our most popular video games and TV shows make entertainment out of murder, rape, and torture. Our political leaders continually seek new military methods to obliterate the other side, without fear of reprisal.
We are awash in the ugliness that is us.
But it’s an illusion.
I’m told that if that reporter had strolled only two minutes further he would have seen a man blowing gigantic bubbles into the sunlight. He would have seen dogs leaping, children playing, and seagulls diving for plenty that the ocean had to offer.
Our world desperate needs to be trained in seeing beauty. And this is precisely what we – as religious scientists – do. We train ourselves to see beauty, love, peace, and power. We train ourselves, despite the illusions that are presented to us. And as we deepen our appreciation of beauty, our world becomes more gentle, more meaningful.
Some would argue that won’t change anything. But I’m not here to argue. I’m here to listen – to listen to how each of us as individuals can move from where we are to where we would like to be in our consciousness. How we can move from living in a world where complaining fills our minds and our mouths.
I’d like to hear more about joy and peace, and less about anger and resentment. I’d like to witness more love, and less fear. Fear is what sets us against one another.
And I know that as people learn to see and acknowledge and live from that place of beauty in their world – they create more of it. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. But it takes training, it takes discipline, it takes commitment, and above all it takes faith.
Beauty, love, God – call it what you will – it has the ability to expand infinitely. It raises us up and provides us with the mental space to see conflict before it befalls us. It gives us the courage to heal, and the ability and security to share our compassion with the world. Best of all – there is no shortage of it. We don’t even have to create it – it is just the natural state of our being.
There is good news in the world. When the reporter asked the question: do you feel safe in this neighbourhood, the man answered: yes, yes I do.
That at least gives me some modicum of assurance we are on the right path.