Lately there have been many people calling for more gun control and also many people defending their right to bear arms. In the wake of the recent events its good that this debate is coming more to the surface. I have sat with the arguments that both sides present. I can understand the call for more gun control because our society is saturated with weapons and its all too easy for someone to buy a gun and do harm with it. Many tragic events over the past years would have been much less tragic if guns were not involved. I do not doubt this. I can also understand those that defend their right to own a gun and I’m not talking about right wing extremists here but reasonable people who own guns. They point out that they should have a right to defend themselves in a free country and that its dangerous when you have a repressive government that deploys militarized police across the country telling citizens they should not be armed. They have a point. Both sides have a point.

However I don’t agree with either viewpoint because in my view both positions miss the point. Rather they miss the real underlying cause of why we see violence all around us. We may well need more gun control and it might help but no matter how much gun control we have this violence is not going to stop. We may well deserve the right to own a gun to protect ourselves but no matter how many guns law abiding citizens own or how many armed guards we deploy this violence is not going to stop. Neither side of this debate is going to make a difference in really getting to the heart of the problem because its not about guns. More services for the mentally ill is not going to stop this violence either as wonderful as it would be to have those services.

You see the problem is we are very sick both individually and as a society. Our prevailing medical model tends to focus on symptoms and those symptoms are often addressed without considering the whole organism. This mentality is prevalent in reacting to a crisis like the one in Newtown as well. We see a crisis like this and it temporarily penetrates the veil that separates us from the rest of the world and we feel upset. So we react because we don’t like feeling upset. We feel unsafe thinking – my God this could happen to my children right here where I live  – and we don’t like feeling unsafe. Feeling compassion for those that a tragedy like this effects is a wonderful thing but how much of it is truly compassion and how much of it is fear, if we are really absolutely honest about it? We want to blame someone or something for making us feel this way so we blame the shooter or we blame the gun lobby or we blame guns or politicians. We project the cause externally and try to take some action to stamp it out so we can go back to feeling safe and ok again.

The reality though is that this is never going to work (it never has throughout all of our history) because the problem is not out there, its not external. Its within each and every one of us. We blame and we talk of change but do we take personal responsibility for the reality that we see around us? The violence begins within the minds of each and every one of us. Its the violence we do to ourselves all the time with guilt and shame and fear. Its the violence of living a life of disconnection from the heart, not the emotional heart but the heart of our true being. We don’t know who we are. We take ourselves to be a person with a body and so we try to protect that body and that fragile personality but ultimately we cannot. If you believe that all you are is this body and this identity that you have created for yourself you will never be safe and secure and you will never feel at peace. The world is not a safe place and life is not about safety, its about living. Usually we hide this underlying crisis pretty well but circumstances act constantly on us to bring it to the surface and sometimes it erupts quite intensely as we can see.

The only real solution to what is plaguing our society is an evolution in consciousness both personally and collectively. We may feel called to work for gun control or improve services for the mentally ill and thats great but it has to start within each of us. We have to have the courage to look within and see the violence within us, the violence we do to ourselves and those around us. We have to be willing to see the lies we have been telling ourselves about ourselves and the world we imagine we live in. We have to be willing to find out the truth, the truth of who and what we really are and the true nature of the reality we are a part of. Living as creatures under a delusion of separation is not working anymore, it was a necessary part of our evolution but its destroying us now which means the time to evolve is Now. Maybe thats really what 2012 symbolized. If we have the courage to take full responsibility for everything we experience and look deeply within we can effect real change and find the peace we so desperately desire. We will never find it out there without finding it within first. The more we try the more of a hell we will create around us. So my invitation to you around this is to look within and find out the truth if you have not already. What we seek is right here right now under our very noses!