December 16, 2013

Yogis With Guns: Thoughts on Arapahoe, Colorado. ~ Erik Vienneau

Another school shooting in Colorado.

It’s heartbreaking. Most of us ask the same questions. Why? Why would a kid shoot his fellow class mates? Why does he have that much hatred? Why didn’t someone catch it before it was too late? What can we do to prevent this in the future?

We propose… better gun control.

Of course. Better psychological care in our schools. Yes. Outlaw guns altogether? Something to consider.

Having been through this a few times with the Columbine shootings, Sandy Hook, the Colorado theater shootings and now most recently at Arapahoe High School among many others, I’m tired of looking outside of myself for the answers. I’m tired of saying “something was just wrong with that kid,” or “someone needs to do something about this.”

Is it possible that I’m responsible for these shootings?

Is it possible that my lack of mindfulness and my self-centered life is to blame? Is it true that I’m so busy consuming and trying to take care of number one and my family that I’m failing to show up for my community? Isn’t it true that I mostly think about myself?

It’s true that I’m often so wrapped up in my work and “getting somewhere” that I barely even notice my own children.

How much time do I spend truly listening and caring for others? How often do I even notice fellow human beings in my day to day life? Why am I so damn busy and unable to slow down to truly care and be of assistance? Is it possible that we are taking the easy way; asking our politicians to make another law or blaming the gun makers or even our schools?

I take responsibility for co-creating a culture that creates kids who shoot each other.

I am the problem. I’ll take the blame. We should all take responsibility. It is ‘we’ who create this shared culture. It’s not the politicians, the gun makers and the NRA. There are no enemies outside of our own creation.

Now, I’m directing this to the yoga/mindfulness community so you may think, I’m “preaching to the choir.” Well maybe I am but, it’s a big choir.

20 million Americans say they are Yogis according to the latest Yoga in America Study. Another 20 million identify themselves as meditators according to a 2007 USA Today study. That’s 40 million Americans—more than 15 percent of us claiming to have an introspective yogic practice.

So sure, sign that petition to ban guns. Go to the rally to show your love for those affected by this latest tragedy. Shed tears. Write letters. Make meaningful heartfelt Facebook posts to the parents of the children.

But, it’s time to do more than those external signs of love and caring. It’s time to look within. It’s time to see that you are not broken. It’s time to see that you are whole. It’s time to know deeply that there’s nothing worth missing out on your kid’s life for. You don’t need a bigger house or a nicer car or a higher status in your career.

You need to slow down and show up.

We have a foundation to make real change, and we’ve come a long way. It’s time to make great beings commonplace. It’s time for you to wake up and realize that you are a great being. It’s time to realize deeply that you are the change you are looking for outside yourself.

If you’d just slow down and look within you’d see that you are Mother Teresa. You are Martin Luther King. You are Nelson Mandela. You are The Dalia Lama.

You are whole, perfect, peaceful and full of pure potential. You are the one to go into our schools and sit with our children. You are the one to make the change. You are the one to love yourself so much that it pours out into our collective culture.

We are the hope, change and enlightened culture we’ve been looking outside ourselves for.

So hit that mat. Sit on that cushion. Look within for the answers to why and how. If you do this you’ll be pleased with what you find and we will see an end to this violence in our lifetimes. Our 15 percent will grow to 30 percent. We’ll hit the tipping point where the whole culture becomes enlightened, free of suffering and sorrow.

It’s up to you. One at a time. We can do this. We are doing this.

Let’s do this!


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      Assistant Editor: Brenna Fischer / Editor: Catherine Monkman

      Photo Credit: Gideon Tsang/Flickr


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Erik Vienneau