The tragic and unnecessary death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 has enraged people all around the world.
George Floyd died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a police officer kneeling on his neck. The police offices knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes, with almost 3 of those minutes happening after he was unresponsive.
The incident was recorded on video. I’ve seen it. You can hear him saying “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” while the officer does nothing. To make it even worse, the other three officers stand by doing nothing but allowing it to happen.
It’s hard to watch, especially if you’re in touch with your heart. From all the footage and witness accounts it’s clear Mr Floyd was not resisting and yet his neck was being crushed by this policeman’s knee, while three other policemen stood there watching.
If you haven’t seen it please take a few minutes to search “George Floyd” and witness it for yourself… Please keep in mind that it will make you uncomfortable, but it needs to be seen!
As I was watching it, I could feel a deep pain in my heart.
We can feel pain because someone does something to us, physically or emotionally, and we can also feel pain because we witness pain being inflicted on someone else. This is empathy. It comes from being sensitive.
Being sensitive and empathic is a beautiful gift that allows us to feel deeply and realize how connected we are to each other. It also means we deeply feel the conflict, violence and cruelty in the world.
If you’ve seen the footage it might have even made you angry…. And that’s ok. That’s a natural response to witnessing such a crime against your fellow human.
You might wonder to yourself how can a person do such a thing!
This is a great question!
I’m sharing this with you because there is a powerful lesson here that we all need to understand!
There are many lessons we can learn from this event, and I’m sure many people around the world will be sharing what lesson resonates most strongly for them. My purpose with this post is to share what stand out the most for me.
Division and disconnection
Condemning this police officer is one thing, but if all this leads to is fueling our own rage fuelled actions, we’re destined to continue the cycle of separation, division, disconnection and conflict.
If we want to move towards unity, connection, freedom and love, then we need to understand why something like this is possible… on a base human level.
Someone doing something like this is only possible because they’re fuelled by emotion, high on power and at the most fundamental level, disconnected from their heart.
Being disconnected from our heart also means being disconnected from our fellow humans. We essentially feel separate to others, which puts us into a state of “you vs me”.
When someone is so fuelled by emotion and disconnected from their heart, they can do anything, with complete disregard for anyone else and human life… and they’ll not even think twice about their actions.
There’s a complete lack of empathy.
This police officer’s actions (and the three accompanying officers) have been condemned, and there have been riots breaking out as a result. The people rioting are now fuelled by their own anger, and many are likely also not thinking twice about their actions.
Can you see the vicious cycle?
So, what’s the lesson here?
Time for some deep honest reflection
Now, I want you to recall a time when you lost it. A time when you were angry or frustrated. A time when you were fuelled by emotion and let it out on someone else. The reason why you were emotional does not matter.
This is not about justifying your behaviour! It’s about acknowledging it!
For this lesson to actually be learned you do need to honestly reflect! So, please reflect on a time when you took your emotions out on someone, no matter how big or small.
I want you to recall what you did or said to that person.
In hindsight, you might see that you were over-reacting and fuelled by your emotions, but take a moment to feel how in that moment, you were completely taken by your emotional reactions.
You weren’t thinking twice about what you said or did. You just acted (reacted would be more accurate).
And where was your heart in that moment?
Did you feel connected or disconnected?
It might make you feel a little (or a lot) uncomfortable to remember that you did something like this because you regret doing it. That’s ok. The fact that it makes you uncomfortable to recall your actions means you have a conscience.
Please remember, this is not about judging your behaviour, again, it’s about acknowledging it.
Acknowledging the truth of our emotions.
The truth of what happened in side us in those moments.
Why is this important?
It’s so easy for us to look at horrific actions done by other people and condemn them for it, but we don’t realize that at a fundamental level we do something very similar.
What this policeman did led to the death of a man, but the lesson here for us that I’d like to highlight is that when we’re fuelled by intense emotional reactions, we become disconnected from our heart and from our fellow humans, and are capable of doing horrible things.
No matter how big or small, how extreme or subtle, if it’s physical violence or if it’s uncontrollably unloading on someone verbally (even for just a moment), it’s the same principle.
To be clear I’m not saying emotions are right or wrong, emotions are just energy expressing themselves in different forms. We learn a lot from our emotions. What’s important is our relationship to our emotions, and our ability to be present and find stillness inside ourselves.
Like a lighthouse amidst the crashing waves of stormy seas, the lighthouse maintains stillness.
When I created the Peacekeeper Project, I based it on four principles. The third one being:
3. If we can’t maintain peace inside our self, we can’t expect someone else to.
You can see all four here: Peacekeeper Project Core Principles
When we feel ourselves about to condemn or judge someone’s actions, we need to honestly reflect and see where we do something similar… and then see what we need to heal within ourselves.
When events like this happen there’s an incredible opportunity for both our personal and collective evolution. An opportunity to awaken to our heart and our deep connection to each other.
Truth and Heart
It’s so easy to put down someone else’s actions, it’s much harder to look deeply at ourselves and take responsibility for our actions or reactions.
The actions of the police office who put his knee into George Floyd’s neck, and the three officers that stood by complacently letting it happen are extreme examples of something we are all capable of.
If we want a more peaceful and connected world, where we all feel accepted, included and equal, we need a deep shift in consciousness. We need to take responsibility for our mind, our actions and choose to grow and evolve together.
It’s really a matter of heart!
Creating a more peaceful and connected world will come when more people awaken to their heart and choose to act from there... But we’ll never awaken to our heart as long as we turn a blind eye to our own inner conflicts.
As the expressions goes; “The truth shall set you free.”
If we never overcome our own traumas, fears and inner conflicts, we’re destined to continue repeating this cycle of conflict and violence. To overcome and heal our inner conflicts we need to allow ourselves to feel and acknowledge the truth of our emotions and what’s happening inside us.
I feel that George Floyd’s death stands as a wake up call for all of us.
A call to awaken to our heart and shift our consciousness from one of division and disconnection to one of unity and connection. From a sense of “you vs me” to a sense of “us”.
This is the only way we will heal and evolve together as humanity.
When you watch the video of George Floyd’s life being taken by this police officer (with three other officers just allowing it to happen), please allow yourself to feel and be present to all that you feel in response to it. Feel the pain, anger, disbelief, frustration, grief, or whatever comes up for you. They are all valid.
Feel them consciously.
These are the landscapes of your mind that you need to navigate to open your heart and move towards truth.
It’s in understanding our own mind that we come to understand each other. Through understanding we come to compassion and connection.
“Our own self-realization is the greatest service we can render the world.” – Ramana Maharshi