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My participation in gun violence

by Michael Ketterhagen


“I want to stop crucifying your blessed flesh [Lord Jesus], this blessed humanity, this holy mother earth.” --Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ


In my journey toward wholeness, my journey toward total awareness of my union with the Source of All Life, I have been contemplating two very important concepts. One is the quantum physics principle and Yoga Tradition belief that “the microcosm is the macrocosm.” That means what is going on in the larger world is going on in me and vice versa. The other concept, which is also believed in the quantum physics and yoga world is that “I create my own happiness and physical reality.”


Recently, I have been confronted and deeply moved by two other realities during the Memorial Holiday in the United States: the killing of 19 children and two adults in the Uvaldi, Texas, elementary school and the PBS memorializing of all the men and women who have fought in the U.S. wars over the past 250 years, especially the past 80 years.


I am becoming more and more aware of my past and current participation in all this violence. I am also aware of all the things that I have done to change my life into a more non-violent one—in thought, word and deed.


I have had to confront not only my fear of death because of my cancer diagnosis, but also my desire to live forever, physically. I have needed to stop hating myself for not following my conscience and doing the right thing. I have needed to stop hating others who in my opinion were doing the wrong thing. I needed to stop blaming them for all the destruction of the planet, the greed for power and wealth, the selfish use of money and resources, the constant drive for pleasures as though they were the source of true happiness.


I have had to confront myself with my subtle animosity, cruelty, self-righteousness and judgment towards others. I realized that I harbored all those attitudes toward others who were wealthy or miserable or doing wrong or acting differently than myself. I have had to also confront my non-action, my desire to turn off all the pain of the world and just be happy in my own little family and yoga bubble.


I have realized that I needed to not only think and speak non-violently, but also act non-violently and limit myself to participate in as few harming activities as possible, like burning fossil fuels; buying foods that use chemical herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides; using medicines that harm my body; etc. But I also realized that I must let people know when I think there are rules and regulations, policies and procedures that discount or harm the dignity of humans, all humans, even those unlovable humans.


I must think, speak and work at building a healthier society. I must work harder at building the Kingdom of God/the Presence of God in my heart and on the earth.

I realized, too, that I have been doing that most of my life. I have been working at countering the violent culture of our world by choosing organic food, by planting my own garden, by driving hybrid autos, by putting solar panels on our rooftop, and by healing my body, mind and soul through homeopathy, naturopathy, Healing Touch, acupuncture, T’ai chi, yoga, massage, Reiki, as well as conventional medicine in acute situations.


That’s why I founded the Fond du Lac Center for Spirituality and Healing and why I am part of a food cooperative called the Farm2Table Co-op. These have become for me part of the Kingdom of God/The Presence of Wholeness and the future of life on Earth and in people’s hearts.


Now, all I have to do is help my legislators think in terms of non-violence as well. As Peter Maurin, co-founder with Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement, says, “How can we help people do good.”


I pray to the divinity in you!

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