Could The Newtown Shooting Have Been Prevented?

Thoughts of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut come to mind every time I see a young child. The event happened on a Friday, and I cried every time I saw a child throughout the weekend. I felt sluggish, duped, hopeless, extraordinarily sad, angry, unmotivated, and at times as though I just did not want to do a thing. I could care less. Mail started to pile up, because I was choosing to do what I wanted to do, I did not want to reward a world capable of this by doing anything it seemed to demand of me. A world capable of creating such monstrous events— no thank you!

I realized that my own thoughts were delivering my experience of anger and hopelessness; knowing that helped a great deal.
PicturePhoto by Bill Canfield

There has been no natural disaster, no war, no other slaughter that has affected me like this one. Maybe partially because it happened so close to my home, but mostly because I know it had to do with the human thought process so I know it could have been prevented if more people understood how it works.


There is talk of the need for security guards in every school now; for armed principals, for bullet proof glass doors and windows, for lock-downs and closer restrictions on who can purchase guns and of course getting assault weapons out of the hands of ordinary citizens whose minds can crack at any moment. All external fixes for an internal occurrence. No one is talking about the thinking that goes on behind the scenes of any action; good, bad, or horrific. No action can take place without a motivating thought. Whatever thoughts are on a person’s mind creates the state of mind in which they live in. States of mind are created by the quality of thinking within the individual.

I can not fathom the state of mind the shooter would have to be in to bring about such a horrific outcome. It would have been awful enough if he had chosen a nursing home with people at the end of their life, but to target a first grade class; it’s unthinkable. If Alfred Hitchcock or Steven Spielberg had even come up with that idea for a movie, they would have squelched it because it would be too awful for their audiences. Too horrible even for a movie, but yet it can happen in real life.

Of course there is renewed consideration of gun control laws; but even beyond that we must work at getting everyone to know, at an early age, that horrible thoughts will come to their mind from time to time, and they alone will choose whether to act on them or not. Horrible thoughts don’t kill or harm, but actions do. Every person has the ability to choose wisely, but first they have to know it is possible for them to choose wisely.

Anne Curry, of NBC news, used her ability to create something very touching in response to the loss of innocent young lives:

It was through the same ability to think, that Adam Lanza created an atrocity. We have the freewill to choose how we use our ability to think and it’s built into every one of us to choose wisely as long as we know that is the case.

We have the resources and the people, available, to teach others about their thinking  — that they have the power to choose wisely in every moment of life. They have the power to discern. It’s so simple and obvious when you hear it. We have the ability to recognize the feeling that tells us when we are off course. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that. There has never been a better explanation that is so simple to see and understand, than the three principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness. If only the shooter had known, this horrific outcome could have been avoided.

If the adults who knew Adam had listened to what he was really saying, they would have recognized the signs, and not have passed off his statements as “prepubescent ideas.” Talk about “blowing things up,” does not come from a high state of mind. It would have been so simple to spot if the adults had been taught to listen to the person speaking, and for the feeling beyond their words, and not just their own ideas and assumptions.

We enjoy the benefits of living in a free-will society, and of course we should, but no one learns the responsibility that goes along with the gift of freedom. We live in a culture filled with anger, hatred and violence but we don’t have to accept it as fact or as anything we want to spend our precious time on. Yet how many really know they have this choice? How many know that we can choose to feel bad and keep our minds going in the most unpleasant direction, or we can switch gears and turn in the other direction? We’re blessed with flexible minds. How many know that?

To think that this mass murder of children, at the beginning of their lives, could have been avoided, had they known how the three principles work within everyone. It’s so simple and easy to share and show others. Maybe now people will start paying attention to what comes first, what comes before the ability to have or use guns, before the creation of bullet-proof windows and the idea to hire security guards. It is the ability to create all of that, as well as symphonies, slaughters, and everything else under the sun. When will the world look in the direction toward which it all begins – the power to create within our own individual minds where we can pick and choose what creations which to pay attention.

Someday, another potentially disturbing event will be prevented because the potential perpetrator will have come to understand the relationship between his ability to think and his feelings and know not to take his negative thoughts and feelings seriously and thus, not to act on them. S/he’ll know to let it go or talk to someone about the horrible thoughts that s/he is having trouble letting go. The mother of a child who is suffering from his/her thinking would know how powerful thought is and would know that best way to protect her child is to do whatever it takes to monitor his/her thoughts and utilize whatever assistance she can obtain. She would know the danger in trying to handle it alone.

The best prevention is spreading the understanding that is available for everyone, about how their own thinking creates their life experiences, in every moment.

This is an excellent blog from my friend and colleague, Jack Pransky, Ph.D. on the School Shooting:

http://healthrealize.com/one-more-tragedy-of-the-newtown-tragedy/

Please RSVP – if you would like to be part of a support group to talk about how this has affected you. I’m offering this opportunity at no cost because I know it can be very helpful to talk it out and to foster each other’s mental health and resilience.

Could The Newtown Shooting Have Been Prevented?

Thoughts of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut come to mind every time I see a young child. The event happened on a Friday, and I cried every time I saw a child throughout the weekend. I felt sluggish, duped, hopeless, extraordinarily sad, angry, unmotivated, and at times as though I just did not want to do a thing. I could care less. Mail started to pile up, because I was choosing to do what I wanted to do, I did not want to reward a world capable of this by doing anything it seemed to demand of me. A world capable of creating such monstrous events— no thank you!

I realized that my own thoughts were delivering my experience of anger and hopelessness; knowing that helped a great deal.

Newtown, CT massacre - how to regain our own mental health

Photo by Bill Canfield

There has been no natural disaster, no war, no other slaughter that has affected me like this one. Maybe partially because it happened so close to my home, but mostly because I know it had to do with the human thought process so I know it could have been prevented if more people understood how it works.

There is talk of the need for security guards in every school now; for armed principals, for bullet proof glass doors and windows, for lock-downs and closer restrictions on who can purchase guns and of course getting assault weapons out of the hands of ordinary citizens whose minds can crack at any moment. All external fixes for an internal occurrence. No one is talking about the thinking that goes on behind the scenes of any action; good, bad, or horrific. No action can take place without a motivating thought. Whatever thoughts are on a person’s mind creates the state of mind in which they live in. States of mind are created by the quality of thinking within the individual.

I can not fathom the state of mind the shooter would have to be in to bring about such a horrific outcome. It would have been awful enough if he had chosen a nursing home with people at the end of their life, but to target a first grade class; it’s unthinkable. If Alfred Hitchcock or Steven Spielberg had even come up with that idea for a movie, they would have squelched it because it would be too awful for their audiences. Too horrible even for a movie, but yet it can happen in real life.

Of course there is renewed consideration of gun control laws; but even beyond that we must work at getting everyone to know, at an early age, that horrible thoughts will come to their mind from time to time, and they alone will choose whether to act on them or not. Horrible thoughts don’t kill or harm, but actions do. Every person has the ability to choose wisely, but first they have to know it is possible for them to choose wisely.

Anne Curry, of NBC news, used her ability to create something very touching in response to the loss of innocent young lives:

It was through the same ability to think, that Adam Lanza created an atrocity. We have the freewill to choose how we use our ability to think and it’s built into every one of us to choose wisely as long as we know that is the case.

We have the resources and the people, available, to teach others about their thinking  – that they have the power to choose wisely in every moment of life. They have the power to discern. It’s so simple and obvious when you hear it. We have the ability to recognize the feeling that tells us when we are off course. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that. There has never been a better explanation that is so simple to see and understand, than the three principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness. If only the shooter had known, this horrific outcome could have been avoided.

If the adults who knew Adam had listened to what he was really saying, they would have recognized the signs, and not have passed off his statements as “prepubescent ideas.” Talk about “blowing things up,” does not come from a high state of mind. It would have been so simple to spot if the adults had been taught to listen to the person speaking, and for the feeling beyond their words, and not just their own ideas and assumptions.

We enjoy the benefits of living in a free-will society, and of course we should, but no one learns the responsibility that goes along with the gift of freedom. We live in a culture filled with anger, hatred and violence but we don’t have to accept it as fact or as anything we want to spend our precious time on. Yet how many really know they have this choice? How many know that we can choose to feel bad and keep our minds going in the most unpleasant direction, or we can switch gears and turn in the other direction? We’re blessed with flexible minds. How many know that?

To think that this mass murder of children, at the beginning of their lives, could have been avoided, had they known how the three principles work within everyone. It’s so simple and easy to share and show others. Maybe now people will start paying attention to what comes first, what comes before the ability to have or use guns, before the creation of bullet-proof windows and the idea to hire security guards. It is the ability to create all of that, as well as symphonies, slaughters, and everything else under the sun. When will the world look in the direction toward which it all begins – the power to create within our own individual minds where we can pick and choose what creations which to pay attention.

Someday, another potentially disturbing event will be prevented because the potential perpetrator will have come to understand the relationship between his ability to think and his feelings and know not to take his negative thoughts and feelings seriously and thus, not to act on them. S/he’ll know to let it go or talk to someone about the horrible thoughts that s/he is having trouble letting go. The mother of a child who is suffering from his/her thinking would know how powerful thought is and would know that best way to protect her child is to do whatever it takes to monitor his/her thoughts and utilize whatever assistance she can obtain. She would know the danger in trying to handle it alone.

The best prevention is spreading the understanding that is available for everyone, about how their own thinking creates their life experiences, in every moment.

 

This is an excellent blog from my friend and colleague, Jack Pransky, Ph.D. on the School Shooting:

http://healthrealize.com/one-more-tragedy-of-the-newtown-tragedy/

Please RSVP – if you would like to be part of a support group to talk about how this has affected you. I’m offering this opportunity at no cost because I know it can be very helpful to talk it out and to foster each other’s mental health and resilience.

Share/Bookmark

One More Tragedy of the Newtown Tragedy

Well, the world didn’t end today as some predicted, displaying once again the incredible power of thought. Clearly, we can’t speak to whether thought actually makes things happen “out there” (in this case it didn’t); but we can certainly speak to the fact that for people who believed their own thinking about it, the fact of the world ending was absolutely real to them. My guess is they’re having different thoughts in this hour that have become their new reality.

But that’s not what I wanted to address–it’s just that the world not ending is giving me an opportunity to address it. Watching all the heartbreaking activity around the families burying their own children and burying those adult educator heroes, I kept thinking of how senseless and unnecessary this entire tragic event was. I addressed why it was senseless and unnecessary in the last piece I wrote. But beyond all that there’s an extra tragedy going on behind the scenes. Watching the government go into action around guns and mental illness, I am struck by the almost guaranteed probability that Three Principles understanding will not even be at the table. What could be exceptionally helpful to the field of mental health will very likely not even be invited to participate, no matter how many letters are written requesting it. Why? There is no place for a new paradigm at the table. As if the old paradigm has really worked to prevent these kinds of events from happening. The perpetrator, Adam, was in fact being treated by the prevailing system, the prevailing paradigm, was he not? He was already on medication, was he not? Obviously something was missing. Obviously something didn’t work all the way. What if he were helped beforehand to call his “reality” into question? We’ll never know if that would have made the difference–in his case. But it sure wouldn’t have hurt. And, for others who are right now out there contemplating the same kinds of things, it might just make some difference. If it only made a difference in one of these people not carrying out what their “reality” is compelling them to do, would it not be worth it?

But until we have scientifically accepted double-blind studies that compare Three Principles therapy (and prevention) with other therapies (and prevention) and we can show we make at least as much of a difference, why would anyone pay attention? Because we have so many anecdotes of how many lives have changed? It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. But one would have thought by this time all the anecdotes would have at least piqued the curiosity of the powers-that-be (whoever they are), as in “Hmm, maybe something promising is going on here that we need to formally study.” It takes a lot of money to do a scientific study like that. But when volumes of psychological journals and entire university systems and textbooks are geared to the old paradigm, no one really wants to hear, “Oh maybe we’ve been approaching psychology in not the best way. Wait a minute, we’ve been doing things backwards?” That’s not something a lot of people want to hear, especially when they have a vested interest in keeping the system exactly as it is.

But it’s only  a matter of time before they catch on. I’m guessing only about 70 more years. Unfortunately, in the meantime, an awful lot of lives will have been lost in the process. But I actually am hopeful. What other way is there to be?

Humans are not Warlike

Had he and I but met

By some old ancient inn,

We should have set us down to wet

Right many a nipperkin!

Thomas Hardy from: The Man he Killed

No-one in their right mind would go to war! Everyone knows that. It is a simple and beautiful fact. Most people would fight to protect their family, friends and loved ones, or even fight for a cause or a country, but this is different from being warlike and wanting to kill others. Yet, because we see war in the news all the time we start to innocently believe that the maxim that humans are warlike must be true.

To actually want to kill another person we have to either be mad (in other words, deeply lost in our personal thinking), and that is why most murderers are incarcerated, to keep them from further killings and to protect the rest of society. Or we could be temporarily extremely angry, or alternatively there has to be a perceived enemy. In other words we have been led to believe, through our conditioning that the people we must kill are bad or evil in some way, and thus deserve to die, in order for us to protect what is good and right in our world. Without the enemy there is no war, just other human beings that are different from us in some way.

So we are told that humanity is warlike, it always has been, and probably always will be, and that it is just ‘human nature’, and therefore unstoppable. Yet, there is so much evidence that points in the opposite direction.

Ask yourself this simple questions: How many times in your life have your really felt like killing someone? I would hazard a guess not often! One interesting question to ponder is: How do most civilians respond in a war zone? Initially fear sets in, this is perfectly natural because we all want to live and keep our loved ones safe. Yet soon most people go out of their way to do all that they can to help save lives, not take them. Pulling people out from under rubble, working tirelessly, giving all they can, even in the presence of danger to themselves.

In the face of adversity we pull together and give of ourselves, because I would argue, this is natural to us; this is how we are hardwired; to do good and to help others. This is not the warlike humans we hear so much about! Neither are these people the exception to the rule, they are you and I, they are most people. Of course there are exceptions because we can all become lost from time to time but these not as common as we were perhaps led to believe.

If we look back in history, there are many examples of where our true human nature came to the surface, despite the circumstances people found themselves in. During the First World War, while British troops felt certain that the war would be swift and that they would be home by Christmas of 1914, the truth was the war was just beginning. On Christmas Eve on the front line, a number of soldiers decided that there was no way they were going to kill anyone on Christmas day, a day that was supposed to be peace for all mankind. So they decided to send a signal to the German lines and told them, tomorrow we will not fight, tomorrow we are going to play football, would any of you like to join us? The answer was ‘Yes’. So on Christmas day 1914 a number of British and German soldiers got up on to no-mans land and played football together. This is a perfect example of human nature; that we all of us desire to live out our lives in peace and enjoy it all while we can, and that we don’t really want to kill anyone.

The British troops that were involved were taken off the front line the very next day. The military establishment well knew that people who had experienced that level of humanity would not wish to resume killing the very people they had seen as just like them; human beings doing the best they could and caught up in a fight that was not necessarily theirs.

My grandfather was invalided out of the Second World War, after getting double pneumonia during the military and civilian led evacuation of Dunkirk. A prime example of people rallying in the aid of saving life; the British Government asked anyone with a boat big enough to cross the English Chanel to get involved in the rescue mission.

It is not news to anyone that the effects of war often traumatise both military men and women that return from active battle service; many suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My grandmother told me the story of my own grandfather leaving for war in 1939, she said he jumped over the garden gate and shouted back: “Don’t worry love, I will be back soon.”  When he did finally return home, she said he was a broken man. I remember well how he would never talk about his time in the war, and remained a quiet man all his days.

I also remember seeing news footage during one of the Middle Eastern conflicts where a number of allied troops admitted on national television that they had no desire to kill anyone! This must tell us something of our natural capacity for goodness, when we are given the chance to be honest I think most people would admit to this simple truth.

I believe that all humans have the same desire for a good life. That no-one in their nature really wants to fight and kill anyone. That in our essence we are naturally compassionate; peaceful, resourceful, creative, and productive and have no natural desires to hurt, harm or kill anyone at all. Only perhaps in life threatening or other extreme circumstances might we be driven to lose our humanity, temporarily and hurt or kill another, and even then most of us would be left with some sense of the enormity of a wrong doing, an act that takes away the greatest gift we are given in this world of beauty: Life itself.

Enjoy it while it lasts and have the best life ever.

Big Sky


Those beautiful unopened gifts

http://www.cashpointksblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/pile-of-gifts-300x200.jpg

No matter how many pretty wrapped boxes we open, no matter how delighted we may be with this or that, no matter how thrilled we are to get something we were hoping for, the experience is fleeting and briefly satisfying. A universe of material things could never fill one soul.

The gifts that do fill our souls and lift our hearts are the gifts we carry with us always, the gifts we often forget we have, and often forget to open. They cannot be boxed and wrapped. They are ethereal and uncontained, and yet whenever we open them, they are all we need. Peace. Love. Joy. Gratitude.

These gifts are innate to us. They are never exhausted, worn or outdated. They are perfect whenever we rediscover them. Finding them is as natural as looking within. “Losing” them is just a matter of looking away. We merely lose sight of them. Look within again, and there they are. They are our human nature. Look into a baby’s eyes, look at a baby’s smile look at a baby’s easy interaction with everything and everyone around. That is the uncontaminated expression of the pure, deep feelings that are our birthright.

Why, then, is there so little peace, so little love, so little joy, so little gratitude in the global condition that spreads itself before us every day? As much as we long for peace on earth and good will to mankind, why are they so elusive?

To me, it’s because the prevailing consciousness in the world is mostly turned away from the infinite and impersonal spiritual gifts humanity naturally shares, and towards the finite and personal gifts people think they need to seek: goods, territory, power, control, influence. Because contentment and ease cannot be generated externally, no matter how hard we try or how much we get, the level of frustration increases, the level of dissatisfaction increases, the blame and hatred and resentments that drive the quest for external rewards increase. The only outcome for living in the constant feeling of “not enough yet” is pain, pain, and more pain. The relentless pursuit of unattainable happiness from things outside of ourselves is eroding the spirit of humanity. Yet, the beautiful gifts we have within are still close at hand. The hope for change is as simple as turning away from the hunt and quieting down, embracing the deeper feelings that bubble to the surface as soon as we let all that frantic personal thinking pass and leave it alone.

When life is all about me, my experience of life spirals down into a small dark cone of insecurity. What about me? What’s in it for me? What do I need? How do I get more? Who’s getting ahead of me? What will make me feel better? When those kinds of questions come to mind, I am thankful that I know now that they don’t mean anything. They are best ignored. They are not information about life, but about the quality of life; they are information about my increasing state of self-focus and insecurity.

When I am all about life, my experience of life expands into an ever widening circle of ease. What about others? How will this affect people? What do we all need? How can we work together? How do we open up new possibilities? How can I share good feelings? When those types of questions come to mind, I am thankful that I know now they do not mean I am losing ground. They are uplifting. They, also, are not information about life, but about the quality of life; they are information about my peace with being a part of the whole of humanity, the whole of life, an increasing state of gratitude and security.

When a critical mass of people find peace within, we will live in a peaceful world. With an understanding that the origin of our individual realities is the energetic expression of the pure force of mind manifested through our thoughts and brought to life by our conscious awareness, we wake up to the power to create each moment of our life experience. If what we are creating is not helpful, does not make sense, is sucking us into insecurity, we can stop, allow all those thoughts to pass and fade into nothing. A quiet mind will create entirely new thoughts.

If what others around us are creating is hurtful or hateful, we can allow those thoughts to pass us by without response, knowing that, unattended, they will diminish, knowing that others, too, can quiet down and get a fresh start.

It seems too simple. Not taking insecure thinking to heart is the opening that admits the illumination of peace, love, joy, gratitude. As simple as it is, though, it depends on each person experiencing that moment of truth, that moment of seeing that thoughts are illusions that come and go, of seeing how readily things change when certain thoughts pass and others come to mind.

Change comes one person at a time, but when it comes, it comes in an instant, in a flash of insight that shows us we are so much more powerful, so much better, so much happier,  than we think we are.