It is hard to know what to do when a tragedy like Orlando happens. Even if you do not know anyone who was affected, we are all touched by it. You may feel a mix of empathy, anger, outrage, and hopelessness. You may wonder where we can be safe, what will be next, what can I do, what will it take before things change?
As we begin the process of mourning as a country, as individuals, I would like to offer a suggestion for a small thing we can each do. I think one of the best ways we can honor those who have died is to contribute to creating peace.
I once heard the Dalai Lama speak about peace on the national mall, in front of the Capitol Building. He said that peace in the world begins with your own peace of mind. When we are at peace with ourselves, we spread that peace to those around us.
When our actions and words are aligned with this place of inner peace, others will respond in kind. And then they spread that peace to others around them. Creating change in the world begins with changing yourself.
How do you find inner peace? It is a continuous process of cultivating mindfulness and self-compassion. Yoga and meditation are tools that can help, especially restorative yoga.
Try this simple meditation:
- Close your eyes and take several deep breaths
- With your eyes still closed, look down and imagine that you can turn your eyes inward
- Turn your internal gaze to your heart. Sense your heartbeat, feel it in your chest
- Then, listen. What does your heart need? Does it have a message for you?
- When you’re ready, return your gaze forward and take several deep breaths.
- Open your eyes.
Whatever approach you take to finding inner peace, the key is really in prioritizing your own mental and spiritual health. It may seem frivolous or unproductive to spend time doing “nothing,” but to put it into perspective – the world depends on it.