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.
Seed questions for reflection: What does spiritual activism mean to you? Can you share a personal story of a time you let go of the personal part of your being that was reacting to the personal part of another person's being? What helps you stay connected to what you care about without falling into destructive reactive patterns?
7 Previous Reflections:
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