Turning inward, doing nothing, is no solution

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, urged victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina on Sunday to turn their tragedies into something that makes them stronger.

Your sadness, your anger will not solve the problem,” the 70-year old monk told a crowd of about 10,000. “More sadness, more frustration only brings more suffering for yourself.”

His counsel is almost directly contradicted by modern psychology. He is not allowing survivors of catastrophes to feel the pain, to go through the quite normal – and needed – process of anger and grieving. Without going through the process, there can be no real healing.

Worse, this really is almost blame the victim. If you are upset, there must be something wrong with you. Look inward. Do not enter the political arena, there could be anger and tumult there. But by this refusal, one cedes the ground to oppressors without a struggle.

“Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.” — Saul Alinsky