The national conversation about Sunday’s shooting in Orlando has been intense, pro-active, diverse, heated, and ubiquitous. In other words, whether you agree with what’s being said or not, it has been a shining example of democracy.
We are entitled to have differing opinions, take sides, debate our point of view and ultimately—hopefully—move things forward. This may come in the form of resolution, or in small steps that lead toward greater unity.
So while we grieve the loss of life in Orlando and embrace the families who are mourning their loved ones, we also have a tremendous opportunity.
The shooting represents a hologram of The Other: gay, lesbian, transgender, Muslim, Islam, terrorism, ISIS, mental illness, assault weapons, repressed sexuality.
It’s hard to imagine an event that would involve more “trigger” points or labels. The possibility that the shooter’s closeted homosexuality could put ISIS in a difficult position shines a light on how contorted and complicated our fear and separation become.
As always, we can trace world events back to our dual mind: the fear-based ego, and the love-based higher Self or soul. It’s a constant opposition in which there’s an opportunity to judge The Other, or to choose healing.
Democracy gives us a dual approach as well. Will we use the shooting at the Pulse as a chance to further our democracy or let it hinder us?
So what can each of us can do within the democracy of our own minds to address the source of the emotions we may be feeling right now?
Those emotions—anger, blame, sadness, hurt, guilt…whatever they may be—are coming into full view where we can see them for what they are.
A Course in Miracles says that anger is nothing more than an attempt to make someone else feel guilty. In fact, our egos want to blame all their fear-based emotions on someone or something that has caused our hurt. In this case, it could be any of the labels mentioned above.
In the end, though, those fear-based emotions come from our own ego minds, not from anything external. They’re a way for the ego to express itself, to try to get a hold on our thinking and keep a tight grip on our fears.
But the truth is that, as we’ve done collectively and individually countless times before, we will use this crisis to make some new decisions. To reevaluate. To listen.
If we are quiet, we can hear the truth within our own minds. We can hear the other side.
We can hear the viewpoint of the person who thinks assault weapons should be protected under the Second Amendment, or the person who fears that ISIS will kill us all, or the lesbian who wonders if she will be targeted next.
Or even the troubled young man who tries to rid himself of fear by inflicting pain on others.
As we listen, we bring our higher Self to the Other, along with the loving support of Spirit. In that company, fear-based emotions are quickly calmed.
That’s why we have many opportunities before us. May we embrace them and make wise use of them.
May the shootings in Orlando bring us together in new and unexpected ways.
May we call upon the limitless help of Spirit to guide us and the steadfast presence of love to heal us.
And may we remember that, beyond the fear-based labels and duality, democracy ultimately means that we are all part of the same Whole.