Traditionally, the investigating of psychological weaknesses in relation to social action has been taboo, not acceptable. As long as a social activist provided service to others, it was considered irrelevant whether he or she suffered from greed, jealousy, anger or fear. "It's my personal business, not yours," has been the attitude.
In truth, the inner life or the psychological life is not a private or a 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. There is nothing that could be a source of pride or embarrassment.
Privacy in personal life is not possible. This statement may seem shocking, but please do realize that thought is very subtle matter that emanates from each of us. The moment a thought is born, whether it is expressed or not, it emanates in the form of a wave, and floats in space. 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, negative thoughts, if we yield to depression, melancholia, 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. Our thoughts, feelings and emotions are all a playback of the memory contained in us. What we each call "my response" is really a response of the collective.
Vimala Thakar was an Indian spiritual teacher who was deeply influenced by the teachings of Gandhi and Krishnamurti. Her life embodied the essence of enlightened consciousness and social responsibility, combining two seemingly divergent streams into one whole life.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to the notion that your inner or psychological life is a social issue? Can you share a personal experience of a time you experienced the deep interconnection between your psychological and your social life? How can we develop awareness of how interconnected our minds truly are?