Will I find peace by resisting my violence?
Contributed by Isabel Hernandez Negrin from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
To begin with, how can I resist, reject or fight against my violence? What do I mean by this?
I can think of a couple of ways. First: Denying, simply, the idea that I am a violent person. I can even support the initiatives of non-violent actions, but not being conscious that I carry out violent actions, simply because I do not as such classify my anger, contempt, humiliations, criticisms, offenses, lack of considerations, etc.
This is not a violence where it comes to blows and, perhaps, even the voices are not raised, but, if we are being honest, in the background lies the impulse to harm and/or defend ourselves from the others and that is violence. It is the most hidden form of violence, the ignorance. This ignorance can lead to thoughts like “I control you because I love you”, “I compel you for your own good”, “I am angry, so that you learn”, “I’m going to give you (a blow), so that you get straightened out”…
The exercise of violence gets mixed with good intentions like in the saying “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, but that does not mean it ceases to be violence. By leaving this attitude we can justify almost any atrocity because we justify it with something that seems like a good thing.
Second: When we know that we have those violent impulses and we do a moral judgment about them, negative, of course.
In other words, we judge ourselves wrongly for having those impulses that we acknowledge. There is no ignorance here, but there is still the internal violence. I get angry with someone, then I judge myself badly, I feel guilty for doing it, I hate myself for not being able to control myself, etc.
In this entire circuit there is violence, external and internal, and the intention of wanting to nullify it by means of suppressing it (not showing it). There are some variants relating to this case: when I know and acknowledge my violent impulses and decide to do something to find peace. I might think about doing yoga, relaxation courses, workshops for attention or self-knowledge, but I don’t know how to connect with my emotions and beliefs with the needed simplicity and directness, so much as to observe them kindly, without suppression or moral judgments.
In that case, we attribute the ability to produce the expected change, to the activity itself that we do. Some kind of magic wand to find peace.
I think for many of you it will be clear that when we are ignorant or we are mistaken about the direction of our effort, peace does not really come through. But it is essential to keep practicing like the children do, like a goal in itself, not pursuing the goal of peace.
Pursuing it as a goal, chains us again to the violence. It’s like the game of the goose, if you land on the wrong box, you return to the start box, but, relax, in life every new turn always gives us the possibility to learn and grow, refining the intention and the right attitude.
And, as always, that choice is in our hands.
We will be at peace when we are able acknowledge the violence in us, observe it without the moral judgment or the desire to change it and choose a new and different attitude.