By Juliana Di Leonardo
Lately, it feels as though we are traveling back in time. People now have the right to carry concealed weapons and women are losing rights to their own bodies. Sometimes we may fantasize about a simpler world, one that resembles the past but certain things were left behind for a reason. In our world’s state of being, we should all be focused on actively alleviating suffering, not increasing the probability of creating more.
There is an imbalance in the world, a vibe that almost feels as if everyone is stuck in fight or flight mode. A permanent state of panic. When we are stressed or fearful, it very much impedes our judgment so instead of caring about the welfare of children, mental health, the right to our bodies or the planet, we choose violence.
In New York, we can now carry a concealed weapon in public and from my understanding, this is supposed to make people feel safer, but how? People today are more stressed than ever. Struggling to pay bills and put gas in their cars so why allow a society that is emotionally drained or spent to easily carry a gun? I can only imagine people resorting to shooting others more because they cannot self-regulate their own emotions, hence the mass shootings happening around the country and the world. It seems we have entered a time that is more willing to talk about the struggles of mental health but is also unable to address the newly accepted norm of living in fear.
Our future generations need us more than ever to get our act together. We should not be able to easily carry weapons of mass violence, making it effortless to kill a child or their parent/guardian. We need to ensure their safety by providing a safe environment, a childhood that includes a loving family, financial stability, a full belly, and a safe school. Life is so precious that we need to provide the things that will make young people and future adults thrive. This also means keeping the laws in place that protect women’s rights, especially ones regarding their bodies.
A person who can bear children has the responsibility to keep their children safe whether that means caring for them or making the choice to not bring them into this world. Both may be a kindness. We should not be forced to set a child up for failure by forcing them to be born with a medical condition that will condemn them to a short life filled with pain or suffering, force their mother to carry a child wrought of rape and violence or to throw that child into a home or society that does not meet their basic needs because this is how we perpetuate the violent and tumultuous society that is today.
The answer to violence is not more violence. The answer to violence is active kindness or ahimsa. We think back to “better times” but the only time we have is now. For this week’s Anuvrat, or small vow, I encourage you to combat the fear and violence emanating in our world by using the Jain doctrine of anekanavada, or many-sidedness, to evaluate differing perspectives through the lens of ahimsa and have hard conversations with yourself and those with perspectives different from your own about both gun control and abortion.