Dear Peace-Loving Friend,
In an overwhelmingly vulnerable and tired moment the other night, I was thinking about throwing in the towel and unwinding myself out of Spiritual Playdate. I was exhausted and it felt like there was no air left under my wings. Then the rage-filled events of Wednesday happened and it snapped my world back into focus. As all the distraction and the day-to day-worries in my life started to fade into the background, the big picture became clear to me again. We humans do not understand (and maybe have never understood) how to manage our feelings and behavior. We hear things and we believe them, we read something and react, we have opinions and we act on them. And we go from zero to outrage in 5 seconds. We don’t examine, think critically, or discuss rationally. And instead of moving to the grounded center where peace resides, we have been pushed further to the edges by our frustration, anger and fear.
Wednesday’s violence brought to mind the countless fear-based massacres and murders we have witnessed worldwide in the last many years: school executions, slaughters in houses of worship, race-based atrocities, ethnic cleansing, and more. We know what all of these things have in common — they are committed by mentally-unwell individuals who believe that they are victims themselves. They have all somehow been indoctrinated with thoughts that someone is hurting them or taken advantage of them, and they imagine that through violence or abuse of power that they can get peace from this pain. But the opposite is true. Violence begets violence; and it diminishes not only our collective peace, but our personal peace, as well.
My own frustration came again as the demands for justice came rolling in — a reaction with merit, but without deep understanding. We often believe that if justice is served, everything will be okay. But justice is only an outcome. Justice comes after the horrible event and cannot bring back life or heal trauma. Justice is a treatment for the virus of violence, but we need a vaccination to build immunity against this destructive virus. Peace Education is that vaccination.
Let’s be clear that these many brutal souls were not born violent. They have likely grown into this role from an early age, without a foundation to resist these dark paths. Isn’t it obvious that the likes of Boko Haram, Isis, the Taliban, the KKK, and every murderous gang in the US are made up of souls that were broken and lost along the way? These people were looking for something to hope for: community, opportunity, power and (believe it or not) love. We cannot just blame parents, school, or communities.
It is time for an entire paradigm shift in our approach to shaping young hearts and minds by creating a new model of holistic education. It is time to educate the Whole Child! We really do have the power to educate so that every child can develop Academic Skills, Social Skills, Emotional Skills, Physical Skills, Spiritual Skills and Creative Skills. This will not only lead to confidence and strength of character for our children, it will surely lead to more mental wellness, as they better understand themselves and their connections to their human family.
I feel so strongly that this is the answer to ending this insane cycle of violence that we humans perpetuate. Peace Education for every child on earth is my strongest hope for humankind!
~ Edwina Cowell, Spiritual Playdate – 01/08/21