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?
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.
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!
Jagdish P Dave
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.