A sharing

By Jia Jia Toh

The last couple of months have been rather shocking, affecting each and every one of us all around the world in different ways. While everyone across the country continues to battle COVID-19, recently in America, there has been much dispute over police brutality, racial injustice and violence against people of colour.

On 25th May 2020, a police officer in Minnesota pinned a 46 year old African-American man, George Floyd, to the ground, and pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck, eventually suffocating him. This caused fury and anger across the entire globe as people took to social media to lash out their anger and protests lit up the streets of America and Australia. These events have caused many of us to feel emotions of anger and anguish, but “How do we fight this injustice while not hating the ones who perpetuate it?” How do we fight against injustice and support our well-being at the same time?

The first step is look within at the thoughts that arise in our mind. Our mind stores many seeds (thoughts) in our store-consciousness. Feelings of hate, anger, despair or warmth are found here, and these seeds may be triggered by things we hear, see and touch in our environment. For example, if someone cuts us in line at a supermarket, the seed of anger may be activated. If you live in a country where riots are aplenty and the police pose a threat, fear may continue to grow within you. Without knowing/being aware, these seeds may continue to silently accumulate within us every day.

The second step is to notice and become aware of these emotions. We must not deny them, but accept them and let them pass. By understanding that these thoughts are nothing more than temporary feelings that arise in the moment, we can begin to cultivate positive thoughts and abstain from negative thoughts such as hatred and violence. As Reverend Ming-An Chen once said, “If our mindset is wrong and mental state unsound, the resulting actions will definitely be wrong.”

Instead of resorting to physical and verbal violence, we should reflect on our speech and action, and cultivate compassion and an open heart when faced with any negativity because a heart filled with peace and kindness is always stronger than a heart filled with hatred and violence.