Originally Posted by dsdrane
Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy, has a new memoir -- The Meaning of Matthew.
Jay and I were talking tonight about how we still hate the two men who crucified him on that fence in Wyoming.
This is a non-violent-espousing site.
The emotional reaction only makes sense. It would be weird not to feel something strong around those who did such a monstrous thing. It might even suggest a callousness towards torment and violence, or a jaded acquiescence that because that's the way the world is, it is somehow supposed to be and it cannot be changed.
As for the non-violence. . . non-violence in the present context is a somewhat less than ideal translation of non-harming (this site cites Gandhi, who would have been versed in the fundamental tenant of ahimsa.) It usually means not-hurting and not-killing. Sometimes by the nature of a situation, to avoid more serious harm either to self or others, one must fight back. It requires crystal clear judgment to discern if there is such a situation, which is a dangerously fine line and one best avoided unless it is completely impossible to do so.
Regarding the violent murder that started this conversation:
We ask ourselves what good can be accomplished, and what harm can be avoided in our own actions. Not what emotions should we feel. We just feel whatever we do feel and that's that. Feeling hate towards those who commit extraordinary atrocities does not do harm unless it is acted upon (one could argue about thought-vibrations affecting the universal energy field, but I think in cases like this one, the strong negative feeling is an inverse expression of our desire for good and love to manifest, and a reaction to their stark absence. As long as such feelings are not allowed to be stored inside oneself long term, they are probably not doing much harm if discharged healthily and not acted upon.) Feelings by themselves do not act. We act upon them, or not.
We might ask what desire is hiding disguised behind the hate. Maybe it is to change the society. Maybe it is to become someone who is softer and more quick to express love and affection. Maybe it is to drop run of the mill concerns and drink in deeply the joy we can experience just being alive, for we may not be tomorrow. Whatever it is, if we use our emotion as the compass pointing us towards what we really desire, rather than reacting to it, or judging ourselves for having it, maybe we can find an opportunity there. Maybe we have an opportunity to enrich someone else's life. The smallest things can make a difference.
The most important thing is to ask what we DO want, and take any step, no matter how small, in that direction. The important matter is not who those men were who committed an atrocity or how you feel about them, but what is important is who you are and what quality you bring into fruition around you. The non-harming principle is as much about who we are and who we want to become as it is about the other person. Or more.