Inner Social Responsibility

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Viewing the world as a large pieced-together collection of fragments, some of which are labeled as friend and others as foe, begins internally. We map out our internal territories with the same positive or negative designations as we do external territories, and wars go on there as they do in the world. Internally, we are divided against ourselves; the emotions want one thing, the intellect another, the impulses of the body yet another, and a conflict takes place which is no different in quality, although it is in scale, from that of the world wars. If we are not related to ourselves in wholeness, is it any surprise that we cannot perceive the wholeness of the world? If we believe ourselves each to be a patched-together, unmatched assortment of desirable and undesirable features, motives at odds with each other, undigested beliefs and prejudices, fears, and insecurities, will we not project all this on the world?

Because the source of human conflict, social injustice, and exploitation is in the human psyche, we must begin there to transform society. We investigate the mind, the human psyche, not as an end in itself, as a self-centered activity, but as an act of compassion for the whole human race. We must move deep to the source of decay in society so that the new structures and social systems we design will have a sufficiently healthy root system that they will have an opportunity to flourish. The structures of society need to be transformed, but the hidden motivations and assumptions on which the structures rest need to be transformed as well. The individual and collective values and motives that give sanction to the injustice and exploitation of modern society must become the focus of change as much as the socioeconomic and political structures. We no longer will be able to allow the motivations and values that underlie personal and collective behavior to remain hidden and unexamined. It serves no lasting purpose for us to change the surface structures and behaviors while the deep foundations remain decadent and unsound.

Those of us who have dedicated our lives to social action have considered our personal morality and ethics, our motives and habits, to be private territory. We not only want our personal motivations and habits cut off from public view, but from our own recognition as well. But in truth, the inner life is not a private or personal thing; it's very much a social issue. The mind is a result of collective human effort. There is not your mind and my mind; it's a human mind. It's a collective human mind, organized and standardized through centuries. The values, the norms, the criteria are patterns of behavior organized by collective groups. There is nothing personal or private about them. We may close the doors to our rooms and feel that nobody knows our thoughts, but what we do in so-called privacy affects the life around us. If we spend our days victimized by negative energies and negative thoughts, if we yield to depression, melancholia, and bitterness, these energies pollute the atmosphere. Where then is privacy? We need to learn, as a social responsibility, to look at the mind as something that has been created collectively and to recognize that our individual expressions are expressions of the human mind.

--Vimala Thakar

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    On Aug 29, 2021 David Durovy wrote:
    This is very much a profound concept, one that has cosmic implications. I see the concept of separation as a fundamental piece of this puzzle, as in "I am separate" from the whole through my belief in my "private" inner life. Yet I strive daily to erase the "separation" out there. Hmmmmm....

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    On Aug 24, 2021 Abijith N G wrote:
    Well said!
    We are all a single entiety, complexly unitentiety, I felt the connection through your words :))

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    On Aug 21, 2021 Annie McIntosh wrote:
    This article makes me think of Non Violent Communication....developed by Marshall Rosenberg. It's more than a communication model but an avenue for learning to be curious about your needs and the needs of others. Our feelings lead us to a part of us that has an important need or becoming aware of another persons, another country's need. And then ways of getting needs met becomes an exploration. The strategies to meed needs varies. I am thinking the process can be bogged down anywhere from acting out feelings to not really understanding the true need, to using a strategy that couldn't possibly meet the need.....or something we see so much is fighting with others about the best way to meet the need!

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    On Aug 20, 2021 Usha wrote:
    Beautiful article. Like the drops of water, the grain of sand, the atom of air- represent the whole, so the human mind!

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    On Aug 19, 2021 Purna Mukesh wrote:
    What a wonderful piece by Vimla ji!! Helped me reflect on my own thoughts, actions & behavior.

    As a practice, I meditate and that helps me immensely.

    During the "Ganpati" festival in India, we celebrate by inviting family and friends to a prayer. & then a shared meal. Though people join in different states of mind, as we begin the prayer, the energy of the collective is palpable and energizing.!

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    On Aug 19, 2021 Carol Gastright wrote:
    The University of Kentucky has possibly the most loyal and enthusiastic men's basketball fans. When these fans are in Rupp Arena cheering their beloved Wildcats, there is a discernable physical effect present. Just ask any fan.

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    On Jun 12, 2006 Nipun wrote:
    A research project in Princeton a few years ago tried to find a correlation between collective consciousness and seemingly 'random events.' By running seemingly seperate 'coin flip' experiments, they noticed that during major events, such as the death of princess Diana and 9/11, the patterns of the coin flips were highly statistically improbable. Part of the conflicts out in the world seem to be from different groups who essentially all want the same thing, but for themselves alone. "what if I changed behaviour .." is too hypothetical, we have to change that behaviour and then see the effect on the world. If we say now "I will end all greed", we will likely associate some actions in time that will have to take place. We will still think "In order to do that, this will have to happen first, then that will have to happen next." After a while, we might forget what we were doing in the first place. Vinoba Bhave & Ghandi seemed to have come up wi... [View Full Comment]
    • A research project in Princeton a few years ago tried to find a correlation between collective consciousness and seemingly 'random events.' By running seemingly seperate 'coin flip' experiments, they noticed that during major events, such as the death of princess Diana and 9/11, the patterns of the coin flips were highly statistically improbable.
    • Part of the conflicts out in the world seem to be from different groups who essentially all want the same thing, but for themselves alone.
    • "what if I changed behaviour .." is too hypothetical, we have to change that behaviour and then see the effect on the world.
    • If we say now "I will end all greed", we will likely associate some actions in time that will have to take place. We will still think "In order to do that, this will have to happen first, then that will have to happen next." After a while, we might forget what we were doing in the first place. Vinoba Bhave & Ghandi seemed to have come up with a solution.
    • Just by going deeper into spirituality, by your own presence you affect your sorroundings and the people you meet.
    • A cardioligist in Stanford did a study of 100 heart patients. For 50 of them there were other people who were praying for them, and for the other 50 no one was praying for in the context of the study. The results showed that the 50 who were being prayed for healed significantly faster and more completely.
    • Someone asked Les Kaye, a Zen monk what the purpose of life is, without hestitation, his answer was "Relationship"
    • "you cannot observe yourself by being alone, but you can observe yourself better by seeing others" J Krishnamurti
    • when there's an internal conflict, we really aren't connected to the source, and then we can't feel connected to other people etc.
    • the impact, when we feel in touch with this inner source, we are then empowered to influence others in a positive way. like wednesday evenings. why? the hour of silence brings us closer to our own sources, and so we are in a framework of greater openness.
    • study with harvard students: people would rather be richer relative to others than richer objectively
    • godel escher and bach: games that show that we think non-rationally in relation with others ... like the prisoner's dilemma
    • mark peters' blog entry: not having enough resources for all poor people etc, conflict between giving and considering the limitations of that giving. perhaps the important thing is to give from a place of clarity and sincerity and allowing the ripples to go as they would.
    • ayurvedic doctor in pune who had a real talent, and who experimented with various things. one example: gave castor oil to everyone and everyone felt better, but another doctor couldn't replicate this. principle: the medicine is just the carrier, but the intention of service is most important
    • on relation between microcosm and macrocosm: story of astronaut who saw earth from outer space, and realized that there were no lines in between countries. similarly, so much of how we affect others has to do with the connection we have with them.
    • example: nipun and guri. just by them taking their journey, because of our shared journey, affects my journey ...
    • thought on privacy: keeping a lot of things in, and not sharing due to fear etc, and this thought helps us recognize that the motivations, intentions etc. are there in everybody, though manifest in specific ways in our lives.
    • micro vs. macro: whatever circumstances i happen to be in, definitely has an impact on others, and vice versa.
    • at some point in my life i asked myself what can i do to make the world a better place ... and this thought tells us that all the parts affect the whole ... and we are the sum total of all the influences in our life, and in that sense, we react to things in a semi-conditioned way ... and as we become aware of that, in changing our own conditions, we can change the collective conditioning.
    • everything starts with and intent, and some action follows. subtlest level of consciousness is the most powerful level of consciousness.
    • experiments done in 70's on effect of mass meditation, and how it affected society beneficially. creating greater order within has an effect on greater consciousness.
    • woke up today and told myself that i was going to be happy, and that today, i would smile at two strangers today. so if you have a genuine desire to have an aura of positivity, then you tend to get that back.
    • sometimes your joy is the reason for your smile, sometimes your smile is the reason for your joy.
    • brian green's string theory: at the core of everything, everything is a vibration. so if you look at will, thought, action
    • abstract or concrete
    • it's a vibration that comes into harmony with something else.
    • in my experience, collective energy has helped me a lot; in particular, having the space on wednesdays, was the first example of feeling interconnected
    • transformation occurred for me when i realized that deep down inside, i'm a person who cares. so the challenge has been to make that from moments to a way of life.
    • alternative energy fair in berkeley, reading brochure and it says to kill slugs, and feeling anger. at the end of that feeling of anger, i realized that i don't hold myself to the same standards that i expect from other people. so perhaps the cause of my anger was my not having lived up to my own standards.
    • getting to the point where you are seamlessly living with integrity in the micro and the macro
    • society is a pattern, but is it really anything more than a myth? if we give life to this abstraction, it goes on.
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