Coping with Global Tragedies

by Nirmala Raniga

In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris and other areas across the globe, many people are struggling with feelings of grief, uncertainty, and fear. Hearing the news of such atrocities, we may wonder if there is any place we can truly be safe and also feel powerless to stop such unfathomable acts of violence. Such feelings are valid, but we want to ensure they do not become overwhelming. Thankfully, there are things we can do to help us cope with these events and set the world in a better and new direction.
Terrorist acts are carried out specifically to strike fear in our hearts and create a wave of anxiety and panic that has us looking over our shoulders and around every corner. The acts themselves are compounded by the media’s round-the-clock news coverage, which compels us to relive events as though they were happening anew. While it is good to be vigilant and concerned for our safety, when we are unduly troubled by the potential for danger, we need to reconnect with our own realities. One thing we can do is simply take a break from watching, reading, and listening to the news. This will help soften the harsh images we are unwittingly inviting into our minds. Instead, we can spend time in Nature, which helps reaffirm that there is beauty and goodness in the world—always and in every moment. Reconnecting with Nature’s life-giving bounty, witnessing how it creates and nurtures everyone and everything in its realm, is a balm for the soul.
Regardless of what life has in store for us, it is always meant to be lived to its fullest. There are family and friends who crave and enjoy our time and activities that need our attention. If global events are preventing us from being completely engaged in the present, then counseling could be very beneficial. Talking through fears with individuals who are specially trained to help us understand such difficult times can enable us to regain our footing and move on with our lives.
During times like these, we may feel the only way to end violence is through violence, but that is not the answer. As humans, we are all interconnected through pure consciousness. Consequently, when there is violence in one heart, it can create a ripple effect that can have devastating consequences. In order to counteract such turbulence, we must go inside and calm our own restless hearts. We can do this simply and effortless through meditation. By taking time to go into stillness each day, we connect with the True Self, the infinite sea of pure consciousness. In this way, we rediscover the peace within, and then share it with everyone around us.
In the words of the great yogic sage, Patanjali, “When a person is established in nonviolence, those in his vicinity cease to feel hostility.” As we take positive steps to find stability and invite peace and equanimity into our lives, we heal ourselves and, in so doing, help heal our world.