My life was once defined by violence.
My experience as an infantry sergeant in the Vietnam War has blessed me with the belief that It is not enough to feel compassion. I must be compassionate. It is not enough to feel love. I must perform loving acts. To break the chain of violence I must act peacefully.
When an act of extreme violence becomes front-page news I feels threatened. I know it could have happened to me. I feel fear, then anger. From that darkness I begin looking for someone to blame in addition to the perpetrator. That sows the seed of separation, lines of defense and justification for vengeance. That is how I moved away from peace and became a link in a chain of violence.
Use compassion to break the chain of violence
That’s the way it happened to me. I didn’t want anyone to know I had such feelings of rage. I hardly admitted it to myself. I was not peaceful. I buried compassion along with fear and anger. I finally understood that all those emotions were valid and I embraced them all. I could not choose how I felt but I could choose to act out of compassion not fear and anger. The tricky thing about compassion is that to be genuine it must be universal. Genuine compassion includes myself, the ones I love and yes the ones who have violently attacked me.
Even when confronted with cruelty and violence I still believe It is not enough to feel compassion I must be compassionate. It is not enough to feel love I must perform loving acts. To break the chain of violence I must act peacefully. What brings peace, an end to strife, is now and forever, our loving reverence for life