Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
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Spiritual Activism

--by Michael Singer (Jan 29, 2018)



I'm an environmentalist and I'm very much into cars that get high mileage and don't pollute, and I see that somebody's driving a Hummer. It's a classic example, somebody's driving a Hummer, and I'm radicalized and I blow it up. Well, you have just caused more damage to the environment blowing up that Hummer than any pollution it will ever cause by its burning gas. Do you understand that? What you did is you reacted to your own anger, your own inability to handle a situation.

What do you mean? There are people who don't care about the environment. There are people who don't care about the gas mileage they get. There are people who don't care about a lot of different things that you care about, all right? When it came in, when that event came into you, it hit your stuff. And what came up was not clarity, was not a constructive reaction. What came up was anger, what came up was fear, what came up was hatred, right? What came up inside of you is hate and you expressed it, right?

That is not proper activism. Proper activism altogether, which is spiritual activism, is you first let go of your own reaction; you let go of the personal part of your being that is reacting because of the personal part of another person's being, because all that creates is war. So you let it go. Now, you are faced with clarity that I care about—I didn't stop caring about the environment. I just stopped reacting in a way that was destructive, in a way that was not constructive and was just a personal reaction that made me feel—why (don't) you blow up that Hummer? It made me feel better. Well, that's not what this is about, making you feel better. This is about purifying and helping the environment.

So you start letting go of this part of you, the same part we've talked about in the entire conversation. You let it go. Don't justify this righteous anger. There's no such thing. You let it go. Now you're clear. The one who's clear will see solutions. They may be small steps, but at least they're steps in the right direction. Maybe there's nothing you can do about the fact that something's happening on the other side of the world that is not right and not comfortable, right? But there is something you can do within your family. There is something you can do within your workplace to bring love and bring caring, and that spreads and maybe that's all you can do right now.

Excerpted from here.

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On Jan 27, 2018 david doane wrote:

 Michael Singer sure likes talking in extremes.  In relation to his essay, spiritual activism means staying centered, knowing that I can control (at least to some degree) no one but myself.  As AA says, you can drive only one car.  Our President offers me plenty of opportunities to let go of the personal part of me that reacts to the personal part of him.  I have gotten angry at him, called him names, gotten myself all agitated, and then am upset at myself for indulging in all that.  What helps me stay connected to myself and not fall into destructive reactive patterns is to remind myself that anger is not a necessary emotion, remind myself that I am independent of how the other is, remind myself that how he is I've been or can be, remind myself that there's something about that guy I just can't stand in me, and remind myself that my responsibility is to be the way I believe and not get hung up on how he is.  When I do all that, I sleep well.



On Jan 28, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 I love the phrase " Spiritual activism." It reminds me of the Bodhisattva way of living and relating to others. It is like returning from the mountain to the market. To me active spiritualism is putting into action our basic values into practice, taking a position against social injustice and relating to such conditions and situations  with assertive compassion. Practicing such active spiritualism requires clear seeing, empathic understanding and compassionate action.This is my path and I know it is not an easy path.
When we practice active spiritualism, we are going to encounter tough challenges presented by oppositional persons and  systems.Our task is how to relate to these conditions without falling into destructive reactive patterns. How to remain cool and connected with what we value and stand for without disconnecting with others and still maintaining connectedness with others.
I encounter such challenges with my close friends who hold a diametrically opposite position regarding climate change. My stance is to be truthful and genuine in expressing my position and at the same time to genuinely listen to my friends' position. I remain mindfully aware of the reactive thoughts and feelings arising in me and create a space within me to  listen empathically to what my friend is saying. My intention is not  to convert my friend into my position. When I act like this I feel good in myself for being myself and relating to the other non-judgmentally, non-reactively and non-destructively.
Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Dalai Lama have  recently demonstrated the power of Spiritual Activism. It is not easy but necessary and worthwhile to practice Active Spiritualism in our family, in our community, in our nation and the world at large.
May we practice and apply "Active Spiritualism" to create and sustain a just society for greater good!
Namaste.
Jagdish P Dave



On Jan 30, 2018 Pravin Shah wrote:

 For my simplistic mind, Spiritual Activism means always being in touch with your inner self and reacting to any nonconformity with love and respect. This reaction will be very positive and effective, without any bitterness or anger.



On Jan 30, 2018 Debra Roberts wrote:

 Thank you ... I appreciate this very much.



On Jan 30, 2018 Amy wrote:

 My mind is even simpler ... Spiritual activism is doing it the way Jesus would, mindfully, have us!  The way He did it!



On Feb 1, 2018 Venkatesh wrote:

 Make peace with the world around you. One should strive to do his share of good to the environment/society and not influenced by the wrong done by others. We are part of the society and our positive attitude towards the environment shall to some extent influence others and bring a major shift in how people care for their society.



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