Our deepest prayers and condolences go out to the families of Parkland, Florida. As we struggle with the grief and disbelief, we are reminded that violence can erupt anywhere, at any moment.
During this challenging time, let’s work on sharing healthy ways for people to manage their stress, frustration and anger at their core and commit to building human values back into our schools and communities. Together, let’s create a violence-free, stress-free America.
This troubling pattern of school violence has different causes at its core for the perpetrators. We must be aware that aggression is part of our nature and we all possess the potential for it. The challenge is to teach one another how to handle the aggressive tendency that comes within each of us.
We need to teach our kids how to handle their own negative emotions. We cannot avoid stress in life yet we need to teach our young how to manage the stress each of them encounter.
It is our responsibility to institute in each other respect for life and adopting non-violence as our means of conduct.
Young minds must be educated in non-aggression programs and learn how to handle the negative emotions of rage, grief, guilt and frustration.
We must also recognize the hurt and wounded in our society. If someone is behaving badly and is troubled, they are pained and require a healing touch, a sense that someone is listening to them and cares.
If we do this, we can impact their lives. We can help them go from darkness to light and make headway against the scourge of violence.
This is our role as fellow citizens and human beings.
Beyond this, it’s important to develop skills to control our emotions. Meditation can help. This inward journey can help us go deep within to summon the ability to meet our challenges and ultimately triumph. The power is within each of us.
It is time to work together toward creating a violence free society. This is the birthright of every child in our schools.
America has always stood as an example of pluralism and harmony, serving as a guiding light in the world. Currently, the beautiful fabric of America is being damaged by school violence. We can turn this around by joining together in the spirit of America and reapplying our universal values, binding our wounds.
We all pray for the victims’ families and may God give them the strength to pull through this dark time. Let’s resolve to make a violence free and stress free world.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a world-renowned spiritual and humanitarian leader whose programs have reached an estimated 370 million people in 155 countries. He is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values, which collaborate on humanitarian initiatives worldwide. Sri Sri’s work includes empowerment and trauma-relief programs for youth, armed-conflict resolution, U.S. veteran PTSD therapy, prisoner rehabilitation, addiction treatment and human-rights advocacy.