I come from a family of gun enthusiasts. My younger brother is a firearms instructor in Iraq. My older brother, who lives in Atlanta, keeps a handgun tucked in his waistband. Even my 66-year-old mother is taking up arms, having just earned her permit to carry a concealed weapon in Michigan. Recently she held up her paper target for me to see: two bullseyes! Her exuberance seemed to expect matching enthusiasm from me.
I couldn't do it. I'm the pacifist, the tree-hugger, the overly sensitive type, all labels I've historically rejected. My position on the issue of gun control has been one of avoidance, or at best, a forced indifference. I've become comfortable straddling the politically correct fence between my right-wing roots and lefty urban friends.
But that fence is adding too many links -- 10 more this week -- and every link has a name. It's forced me to admit that I have my own piece, one I suppose I've been concealing. Those who are directly affected by gun violence, by the flesh-and-blood, life-taking, bottomless-grief-and-loss of it, may find my view too mystical. My own brothers have little patience for my "impractical," other-worldly ideas.
But what may seem "whoo-whoo" is actually science: Everything is energy. Everything that surrounds us in the world of form is a result of, a projection of, our collective thoughts. That means that no word or action is random. All things carry an energetic charge and, with that, a deeper meaning.
A shift from violence to peace starts with the smallest things, and with the understanding that there are no small things.
My brothers would likely say that a gun hidden in a waistband makes no difference to those who don't know it's there. I disagree. I argue that two opposing thoughts cannot be held in mind equally without one holding a stronger vibration than the other. So where does your energy go? Toward the idea that you must walk through life ready to defend yourself? That those you meet serve as threats, rather than opportunities? When you carry a firearm on your body, how does that energy stand between you and your relationships? Certainly we all carry our own unique ways of hurting others. We all create a sense of security by stockpiling evidence that life is "us vs. them." But I think a belief in separation is the true enemy, fear the true captor.
Can we move out of the fox hole and down the rabbit hole to consider guns in a new way? I accept that the gun-lovers among us have valid beliefs, and that these beliefs may be an accurate reflection of the caliber of our culture.
The truth is, I'm not 100 percent anti-gun. Nor am I anti-military. As a Healing Touch energy medicine practitioner, I have volunteered to give free healing sessions to veterans as part of the Welcome Home Celebration at Soldier Field. It's gratifying to support men and women suffering from PTSD. But that doesn't stop me from imagining a time when the word "soldier" or "gun" has fallen from our vocabulary.
Since all change begins with a thought, I propose a new type of target. In this target, we are each our own bull's eye. What is required of us is a steady hand and an ability to shoot from the hip, to ask:
- Is there a time in my day, and I mean every day, set aside for disarmament?
- Do I make time to meditate on, pray for, or visualize peace?
- Do I consciously disarm those I meet, with a smile, a kind word, a blessing?
- If I'm going to allow fear to make me reach for a weapon, how am I defeating the fear itself? I can't shoot at it. I can only outshine it.
- How strong is my light?