All events and experiences that we perceive in ourselves and in the world are appearances within consciousness—our true Self—which is empty of any ability to suffer on its own, regardless of what appears within it.
Nothing that appears within consciousness can harm or affect consciousness, as consciousness alone is absolute.
It is beyond birth and death, it is timeless—and we are each, that. This is our true Self nature. We each share this one Universal Self, which is the very same suchness that animates every being in its apparent existence.
Everything that we feel and experience within our bodies certainly appears to be real, but it is not absolute—they are merely temporary illusions within our eternal and all-pervading true nature of consciousness.
To understand this is to realize that what happens in the world and to our apparent selves is not the final truth. It’s just another dream within the infinite dance of consciousness (our Self).
While all people die, their essence—their Self—forever lives on. Their Self is our Self. There is only one.
This realization exposes all appearances as impermanent manifestations—which includes all apparent things, animals, plants, minerals and people. So no matter how real or tangible an appearance might seem to us, it remains a momentary movement of perception within our presence of consciousness—no matter if it’s a leaf falling from a tree, an airplane flying through the sky, a woman dancing in the rain, or even our family and friends that we hold so dear.
Outside of our intimate presence of awareness however, no appearance has any independent existence of its own, for they are each made in consciousness, by consciousness, of consciousness—which is our Self.
And so it is then seen that all apparent people, places things share the same Self. There is nothing other than the Self. At all times, we only experience our Self.
With that being said, it is important to remember that no appearance (or, perception) is as it appears. This is why it’s often said in the teachings of non-duality that all things are an illusion.
However… this doesn’t make what sometimes happens to us any less horrible.
We feel things, and those feelings are very real—regardless of what caused them.
When it comes to the violence, hatred and aggression that we perceive in the world, or any other deed that is being done for that matter, it must be realized that the person or thing who is seemingly the apparent perpetrator, is not actually at any fault whatsoever.
This doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t be held accountable however; accountability must take place to protect others from any such repeated harm.
But in truth, there is no one to blame or take credit for anything at all.
The mistake we make is believing that we are the “owner” of our actions. This is the ego. We personalize the things we appear to do. We self-identify with them. “I” did this. “He” did that.
But this too is an illusion. In truth, all things are a product of all things—including every action that appears to happen, by all things and by everyone. All things are subject to karma, or rather, the law of cause and effect.
What this means, is that a gunman who carries out an act of terrorism had no real choice in the matter—at least, not in the way we traditionally understand choice. One might say it was his fate to do what he did, but that would be implying that there was a divine hand who was guiding things—and I don’t mean to imply that at all.
What I mean, is that the path he was placed on had no other possible destination or outcome.
What happened was due entirely to the random accident of his birth—the year and era he was born into, his family, environment, culture, religion, biology, current politics, his present circumstances, and most of all—his inability to be free of egoic impulses.
The seeds of his actions were sown countless years ago.
He was a product of his environment and a victim of his ego—which is what is responsible for all violence, aggression, inhumanity, corruption and conflict in the world.
At any given moment, whatever is, is exactly how all things are meant to be—for each and every one of us, in that precise moment. All things are pre-determined by every moment that has preceded the present one.
Things cannot be other than what they are because of the inevitability of karma’s continual unfolding.
We are each a drop of water flowing in a river, unable to alter the course that we’ve already been set upon—in which we had no control or choice.
We don’t choose our thoughts—they simply appear to us, pre-formed and ready to go. They are spontaneous manifestations of mind that are a product of their conditioning, their environment, their biology, and their circumstance. And so, each and every thought we perceive is also a karmic reaction.
Humanity's history of aggression and intolerance will forever repeat itself. Peace cannot exist without violence. Love cannot exist without hate. This is the non-duality of the entirety of the cosmos.
No energy or force is independent from its apparent opposite—they are one in the same, they are inter-dependent and co-exist. Just like the two sides of a coin, they require each other. There can be no up, without down. There can be no left, without right. There can be no good, without bad.
This is the natural way of things.
And this is why it’s of no surprise when a tree loses its leaves in Autumn. Without this recurring cycle of death, there could be no Spring.
Hatred happens. It sucks, but it Is. Love happens. It’s beautiful, and it too, Is.
While this realization might not lessen any of our grief or sadness (which is something that only time can heal), it does help us to understand things, and in so doing it removes our confusion— which itself is a tremendous source of our existential pain and suffering.
Mankind has always been this way—we kill because of the ego’s desire for control, dominance, power, wealth, fame, and in trying to further its own sense of a limited and separate self-identity, which it feels a need to defend and assert upon all others.
Ultimately however, we all want the same thing—to be safe, to be loved, and to be happy.
Unfortunately, it is the ego who keeps this from being self-realized. The deeper one falls into the dark chasms of ego, the more ignorant, desperate and selfish their actions become—which only further separate them from that which they seek.
Humans are dualistic by nature—we are ignorant of the truth of our non-duality, our unity, and our harmony. And this is why the greatest thing we can do for both humanity and the world is to wake up from the egoic dream altogether.
We must abandon the belief in our own self-created delusions that we project onto the world, which unknowingly creates new negative karmic repercussions to be set into motion.
If we react to the violent events of the world, then we ourselves become subject to the ego’s suffocating vice-like grip—which is the very source of all conflict.
The best thing we can do is to just leave the world alone and abide in our hearts—not our minds.
If you venture down the path of trying to grapple with the why’s, then there will be no end to the concepts and stories the ego creates. The madness will only continue. The pain will only be perpetuated.
Abide in the heart—which is the aware conscious presence of your Self, the only Self there is.