How to Overcome Tragedy

Written by Raymond Salas

After the April 16th shooting in 2007 at Virginia Tech that killed 32 students and faculty, many people from all over the world have searched for answers.

Some have asked themselves:

How do I respond to a tragedy like this?

How can something like this happen?

What do I do now?

How can I help?

These are questions that I have also considered for myself, not only in this experience, but also in other tragedies such as the Maui fires, the Sept. 11th World Trade Center attacks, the Asian Tsunami, and the multiple school shootings over the years.

The key for me in each of these instances was to consciously decide how to respond, instead of just reacting along with others or to whatever I was feeling in the moment.

How to Overcome Tragedy

It hasn’t been easy, but here are some things that have helped me:

  • Release the past.
Whenever a tragedy or problem happens, the first thing that I try to remember to do is to release the past and be fully present in the moment. If not, there can a tendency to “drag” similar instances and circumstances from the past into the present, which only feels worse.

Instead, I try to follow this recommendation from A Course In Miracles:

“When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself:

‘I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.’

By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you (i.e. your Higher Self) will speak to you. It will take Its rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to It.”

This prayer has helped me to look at the present moment, even if it feels sad and tragic, with “fresh eyes” and a new perspective.

  • Use the power of forgiveness.
My intention is to be 100% responsible for all aspects of my life.

So, what does this mean exactly?

For me, this means that whenever I become aware of something, anything at all, at that moment, it becomes a part of my life and I am now responsible for it.

But, how does this apply to a tragedy?

As I discussed in The Secret Hawaiian System for Solving All of Your Problems, without taking any blame, I consciously choose to neutralize the energy causing any problem by forgiving whatever is going on inside of me that is manifesting as the problem or tragedy that I am perceiving.

To do this, I simply say to the Divinity within me:

“I am sorry for whatever’s going on here with________. Please forgive me.”

For me, this is a powerful prayer for healing any part of me that has “contributed” to the problem or tragedy (or my perception of it) in any way, even subconsciously or unconsciously. I find that this prayer and intention releases the negative energy from all situations, wherever and whenever it is used.

“Through forgiveness the thinking of the world is reversed.” 
- A Course In Miracles

  • Respond with love.
After releasing the past and forgiving it in this way, I then ask “What would love do now (here in this situation)?”

There are only two ways of responding to any situation: with love or fear. One feels good. The other doesn’t.

Therefore, problems, and even tragedies, can now be seen as opportunities and “calls for love.” From this perspective, if something or someone is not expressing love, then to me, they are only “calling” out for love, regardless of how it may appear. Therefore, if they are calling out for love, the most powerful way to respond is with love.

And, there is no limit to the ways that we can each express and give love to a tragedy or any other problem that we may be perceiving. Prayers, donations of time or money, and even candle light vigils are just some the many ways that people express love in tragic situations. However, there is no right or wrong way. All anyone needs to do is listen to their own heart and follow whatever its guidance is “saying.”

For example, after the Virginia Tech shooting, many professional athletes and teams honored the students and faculty involved by wearing Virginia Tech logos on their hats and uniforms as a symbol of love and support.

The Key to Overcoming Tragedy

However difficult it may be, I have found that the key to overcoming tragedy (or any other problem) is by not resisting it because as Carl Jung once said, “What you resist persists.”

The Law of Attraction teaches that whatever we focus on expands, whether or not it is desired and wanted. Therefore, the opportunity is always to focus on what we do want in any situation, even in the tragic ones.

“If you immediately take your thought from what is bringing forth a negative feeling, or from focusing upon the problem, and you give your full attention to the solution, then you do not feel negative. It is only when you focus on the problem, that you feel negative. When you focus on the solution, you feel better.”  
- Abraham-Hicks

My thoughts, prayers, and love go out to all of those impacted by all of these and all other tragedies, their family, friends, and all who love them.

May peace and love bless you always in all ways.