The events that took place January 6th in our nation’s capital have left many of us even further shaken after an already difficult 10 months of pandemic related stress and racial turmoil. These events were fueled by fear and anger, two emotions that, while natural, can be very dangerous when left unchecked or, in an even worse case scenarios, exploited. The problem is not the emotions themselves, of course, but the behaviors that we choose in reaction to them. Unfortunately, bad actions on one part are likely to spark fear and anger on the part of others who, in turn, engage in unhelpful behaviors in the face of their own emotions and so on, and so forth, until everyone is hurting. So what do we do?
Sadly, there is no simple solution. The problems laid before us have existing throughout much of our history and have been looming larger with each passing year. To really see change will require intervention at every level of society but, as with most things, we can start with ourselves. Today’s mindfulness exercise, known in the mindfulness community as “Loving-Kindness” is meant to help with that. So let’s begin.