In times of tragedy and loss, some people express frustration at the people who say they will offer prayers and positive thoughts, claiming that prayer and thoughts don’t “do” anything.
I hear you. I know it can feel like sending positive energy or love is useless — but take a moment to consider my words.
It can feel very satisfying to see tangible results of something we do: to see our bank accounts fill up due to some good investment decisions; see the gratitude in someone’s eyes as they open a special, significant gift we’ve given; to watch the pounds drop off when you’ve worked hard to change your physical lifestyle; even to see your adversary speechless when you’ve bested him in debate.
But when it is something out of our hands, something like the Sandy Hook shooting, or 9/11, or even an assault on your own brain (like a sudden brain bleed), often we feel helpless. Powerless to undo what has happened, at least in a tangible way. It’s not like we can give innocent lives back.
So people turn to blame. Who can we hold accountable for this? The shooter, his mom, the lawmakers. The terrorists. Other people whose opinions differ from your own on the subject.
Rather than exacerbating the situation, I invite you to take a step back. Observe your feelings. Anger, frustration, sadness, grief, even avoidance, all these feelings are perfectly natural in the wake of something traumatic like this.
But rather than stir up war between people who simply differ from each other, let’s put our (s)words away and practice goodwill.
Consider this video on collective meditation by physicist John Hagelin, if you are left-brained and skeptical of “hippies” like me 🙂
As I, and many of my spiritual peers and leaders have been saying a lot lately, outer peace comes from inner peace.
It all sounds hokey at the surface, sure, when we’re impatient for results. But I’ll paraphrase a principle that T. Harv Eker teaches:
What you think and feel leads to actions, and what you do leads to results.
In other words, it all begins inside and morphs into tangible outcomes. Everything that exists in our world today, whether beautiful or hideous, is the manifestation of our human family’s consciousness.
It’s a scary thought, to have to take responsibility in our part of the tragedies we face, isn’t it? But it also sets us free, because any step towards love is one in the right direction.
When I was in the hospital after my stroke, I had a daily visitor, a pastor’s wife, who came to keep me company and teach me her version of spirituality, in the form of religion. Although I do not follow her religion, I am forever grateful for this beautiful gift she gave me, of compassion, love, and spirit. She gave me hope in a time where I felt powerless, after almost everything I’d come to know about myself was threatened and/or lost. During my time at the hospital, there was no one to blame. It wasn’t due to diet or lifestyle — just an inevitable disaster as a result of the nature of my brain development. What a valuable and touching gift it was to have her lift my spirits and feel her support.
And like any trauma, the experience that took away so much also transformed me significantly: It brought out the love in my family members and many other people, including me. Prior to my hospitalization, I was an entirely different person. Focus not on the losses, but on the gains.
So please, if you find yourself upset the next time someone says they will send you their prayers, know that it is among the only things they can do to influence whatever it is that is a symptom of human unrest and turmoil. There is power in prayer, and this is regardless of whether you believe or don’t believe in God, because in the end, love is always needed, no matter what form it comes in.
Admittedly, it can be a challenge for me, too, as I have been conditioned to respond to negativity with anger, but I am pausing to make myself breathe deeply and be kind and loving to myself and to others.
Another video by Spirit Junkie Gabrielle Bernstein, who explains moving on in positivity and supporting our own feelings . . .
What are your thoughts or feelings on this? How do you deal in tough times of powerlessness? Leave a comment below.
To our healing,