riots in the streets – what to do?

In the wake of the recent riots and agitation in England there has been A LOT of whipping up of rhetoric, finger pointing and dramatisation. Rather than engage in a regurgitation of all that, I’d like to address some important questions that come to mind.

How do we respond to such events?

Resist adding to the hype and drama. There is enough of that going on already. We certainly don’t need to add to the stress and excitation by getting all worked up and rigidly attached to a certain point of view.

If we allow our language and attention to slip into the mass vortex of sensationalisation we are allowing our valuable consciousness flow to feed that which we do not want to grow.

Instead we want to attend to that which we want to grow stronger in our lives. Qualities such as balance, understanding, tolerance, compassion, creativity and love.

How can we make sense of what is going on?

Firstly, there are no surprises. This situation has not simply erupted out of nowhere. The signs have been building for a very long time – it has been bubbling away for years. The big social experiment determining what happens when we get millions of stressed (ie angry, sad, fearful, bored, manic and unhappy) people together is simply delivering rather predictable findings.

Just like steam in a pressure cooker, stress comes out in one of two ways:

disease or bad behaviour (or both!)

Our society is an organism, and like any living organism that is out of balance with the natural, intelligent flow of life, a time comes when correction and re-alignment is needed. If the imbalance is allowed to build up past a point of natural limit then the correction will be all the more rough. The unsustainability of the imbalances in our societal organism are simply coming up against that limit.

However, just as is so often the case with individuals, the symptoms are being mistaken for the cause. And so the band-aids come out and the futility of a blind state of denial about the underlying causes allows the wound to fester. As a result, the underlying cause is not being addressed and so the dominant voice becomes one of “zero tolerance”. Zero tolerance is simply another way of saying zero understanding of cause vs effect. It all points to a lack of consciousness.

As the ignoring continues, the frenzy of stress gets whipped up and the anger, fear, sadness and despair become more intense. The symptoms become an outlet for others to address their frustration, the strain builds up and nature begins to scream. More imbalance, more stress, more drama and further unrest develops.

Ultimately correction will come. Nature will not be able to sustain the strain for too long. There is a direct relationship between the time devoted to ignoring and the intensity of the correction.

What can we do to ease the situation?

You can only take responsibility for what you bring to the world. You cannot take responsibility for the contribution of others. So the key question for every individual must be:

At the end of the day are you (on balance) a giver of anger, negation, agitation, blame and violence?


At the end of the day are you (on balance) a giver of creativity, kindness, understanding and love?

Every thought and every action that we have adds to our daily score. So are you adding to the stress column or the love column?

A negating thought about your neighbour adds to the stress column.
Letting someone else get on the train first adds to the love column.

Gossiping about someone adds to the stress column.
Giving your partner a hand to do the dishes adds to the love column.

Dropping some rubbish in the street adds to the stress column.
Recycling your newspaper adds to the love column.

The most powerful way to boost your personal love column is to reduce your personal stress and expand your awareness.

So we sit comfortably in a chair, close our eyes, innocently and easily bring the mantra to our mind (a faint idea of that sound is enough) and we take it as it comes, trusting that nature knows best how to organise…

7 responses to “riots in the streets – what to do?

  1. Jillian, Thank you for your thoughts on this current situation. It helps me to move from a position of perceived helplessness to a more positive and motivating position of making a difference by adding love to a needy world.

  2. Another wonderful post, thank you so much Jillian. Really like that idea of a stress v love column, definitely something to keep track of every day….


  3. So helpful that you are writing about how our meditation practice and way of being can positively impact what happens in the world on a bigger scale. It is a frequent question in my mind about whether to give attention to the many crisis in the world as presented in the news and in general how to have a positive impact on that grander scale.

  4. How lovely to have your blog, Jillian! You have helped me to realize that though meditation may seem to be a lonely, even selfish endeavor, it can have a happy, peaceful, uplifting effect on those with whom we come in contact.

    Thank you,


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