The Buddhist teachings say that at the moment of death, our experience will be deeply affected by our state of mind.
At the moment that the outer breath ceases, if we are calm, cultivating thoughts of love, kindness and compassion, then there is nothing to fear.
On the other hand, if our minds are filled with anger, violence, hatred, and grasping, our experience will be nothing short of a hell realm.
Untethered from our bodies, unable to find any place to rest, we will be caught up in a tidal wave of disturbing thoughts and emotions. We will tumble helplessly through the bardo of death until we are reborn in another similar state of confusion.
Whether you believe this or not, it can’t be argued that the victims and the shooter at yesterday’s tragedy at Fort Hood, died in such a state of profound unease.
Imagine all they must have been feeling. Fear. Confusion. Desperation. Their thoughts must have turned to their loves ones and families and all their hopes and dreams that would never be realized.
What if you were one of them?
In the days to come, there will be the inevitable media blitz. The lives of the shooter, Ivan Lopez, and the victims will be carefully dissected as we try to understand why things like this continue to happen in our world.
No matter who or what is to blame, those who died deserve all the thoughts and prayers of love and compassion that we can muster.
So I encourage you to hold all those involved in your hearts today. Bring them to mind as many times as you can. Send them light and love.
If you have a daily spiritual practice, dedicate it to all of them. Then generate the wish that peace and non-violence flourish from today forward.
If we can do this, today and every time a tragedy like this occurs, not only will be empowered to face these events with courageous hearts, I truly believe we can change the world.