Stillness—silence—allows us to listen when our broken hearts are shrouded in the deafening darkness of grief.
I write today to acknowledge a wave of collective grief. My grief is compounded by the trinity of anguish that has unfolded over the past three years: a global pandemic, racially motivated extrajudicial murders at the hands of American law enforcement, and a tyrannical war in Ukraine. All have me in a rageful fit for peace and justice I—we can no longer accept this reality and so we must change what we can no longer accept.
We are 145 days into the year and this country has already been victim to 213 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Reports indicate, this year alone, 27 school shootings have been suffered in this country. Schools, churches, synagogues, neighborhood streets, and grocery stores—sites of safety and community—have become America’s (un)civil war zones.
Over 10 days ago, we suffered a racially motivated attack in Buffalo, New York at a supermarket. At the time, this was the deadliest mass shooting of the year. Black human beings—mothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles—murdered in the ordinariness of daily life while grocery shopping.
Yesterday, another act of mass gun violence was inflicted upon an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. At the latest report, 21 human beings are dead: 19 children and two adults not including the perpetrator. I cannot imagine the overwhelming grief of parents who entrusted their children to the safety of an elementary school in the morning but spent their night waiting for their children to be identified as victims.
Like our dear sister Angela Davis, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
This country repeatedly gives lip service to the sanctity of life while worshiping at the altar of destruction, whose only result is the terror of death and the agony of murder. Is there no sanctuary for us to dwell in safety without fear or the threat of violence?
We need a healing. All of us are in need of healing, in need of peace, and in need of a societal transmutation of values that allows us to understand our humanity as interconnected. But first, perhaps, we must sit with our anger, grapple with our grief, and invite the generative information offered by both to advise our collective calls for justice.
At CMind, we are committed to contemplative justice. This framework for practice obliges us in this moment to mobilize into action. I believe relief, if there is any to be found, for our collective broken heartedness requires us to utilize everything: our hands, feet, hearts, intellects, anger, and the ballot box coupled with blunt accountability to move us toward an embrace of the sanity of non-violence.
What will you do? What must we do, together?
Collectively, may we hold peace, justice, and healing as intentions during the enactment of our respective practices.
May we move from thoughts and prayers to decisive action and resolute policy change.
May the transitioned souls know peace.
May we heal and be healed.
May all beings be liberated through the unwavering knowledge of who they truly are.
David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (CMind)
25 May 2022