Rhonda Fabian is the editor of Kosmos Journal.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to the notion that we depend even on those whose views are very different from ours in order for collective awakening to happen? Can you share a personal story of a time you were able to transform a feeling of anger at injustice into a compassionate nonviolent resistance rooted in satyagraha? What helps you focus on your conscious choices instead of judging others?
What we call opposites like light and darkness, are different expressions of one whole. I think the Buddha's teaching is not that light and darkness depend on each other for their existence, but that our awareness of light and darkness depends on their existence and their contrast. I think what Thich Nhat Hanh is saying, and I hope he is saying, is it is for us to choose and perform right action, both inwardly and outwardly, because it is right, and not to oppose anything, not to impose our view, not to try to change the other, and not to accomplish any goal or agenda. Views that are different than mine can expand my view and contribute to collective awakening. There have been times that I have felt anger at what I saw as injustice, and my willingness to be open helped me see positive and truth in what the other was doing which transformed my anger into compassion. What helps me fous on my conscious choices is my knowing that the only thing I can control is my conscious choices, and knowing that my judgmentalness and trying to control outcome get in the way of my right conscious choices.[Hide Full Comment]
The Buddha's teaching on light and darkness is simple: they depend on each other for their existance. For collective awakening against injustices that affect us all, we need to learn how to transform our feelings of anger, outrage, despair, fear into compassionate and non-violent action if we want this kind of resistance to be effctive. This kind of resistance requires satyagraha or soul force, the fire of determination in our hearts and a willingness to see that we depend on each other even on those whose views are very different form our own.
Mahatma Ghandhi's civil disobedience or resistance movement against the unjust British rule of India was based on satyagraha. His satyagraha freedom movement was also based on building up inner resistnace to anger, hatred, fear and despair. Both kinds of resistance come down to our own conscious choices. I learned this great lesson from Gandhiji as a role model and from others folloing his path. Satyagraha as I understand is a soul force, a strong detremination for taking a courageous and non-violent stand against injustice. It is not like making a deal. I encounter such happenings in our country on a regular basis. I practice satyagraha as enunciated by Mahatma Gandhi.
When non-compassionate and judgemental thoughts and feelings of resentment and anger arise my mind and heart, I process them mindfully until the heavy clouds of judgemental thoughts and feelings and tense bodily sensations go away from my mind and body. I call it mindfulness cleansing process. With daily practice of this cleansing process the time on holdong on to the inward walls gets shorter and shorter. It is indeed conscious choice making.