J2P Turning to Peaceful Activism

 

The plan when you last heard from me was to write a J2P post exploring the current thrall of the media and healing and that’s still coming but I’ve been sidetracking into explorations of the many movements going on these days.  I’m paying a lot of attention to the trend in many groups and among democrats, to define themselves by what they’re against and to speak constantly in terms of battles, fights, resistance, etc.

Some of these groups even talk about nonviolence while throwing out these violent words and I always wonder if they know ANYTHING about the traditions from which the notion of nonviolence came.  Americans, in particular, seem to believe nonviolence refers only to actions.  But in Hinduism and Buddhism, nonviolence refers to every level, including speech and thoughts.

When I receive notifications from “peace” groups and groups working for change that are filled with battle language and nasty slurs against the opposition, I feel my muscles tighten and my energy dim.  Their words of violence are painful to me and I’m convinced, whether everyone feels it as acutely as I do or not, such words hurt everyone who hears them.

I’m not saying we need to be in denial about what’s happening, nor am I saying we can’t get angry.  But the anger is only useful if we then mindfully turn it to compassion and doing something constructive.  Something that furthers progress on what we’re FOR.

There are some brilliant ideas starting to float around out there for ways to address what’s happening without violence.  I would like to see a combo of my two favorites, which are:  (1) setting up a fundraiser wherever the alt-right/neonazis are planning to march and taking donations based on either the number who show up or the distance they march and giving the money to a group that works against neo nazis or to the NAACP or SPLC or ACLU, etc. and (2) send tons of people dressed as clowns and armed with white flour and white flowers to throw every time the nazis yell “white power”.

Why not do both???  Or think outside the box some more and think of something even more brilliant???  (BTW scroll on down from the two videos for some links to great info on nonviolent activism.

And some resources on sacred activism:

 

Start the Revolution Without Me?

 

This is one of those posts I’ve debated about for a while — which blog?  which blog?  I’ve been doing some occasional political pieces on the Scribblings blog, but ultimately I decided this one has messages that suit both.  So I’m posting on both– not even a reblog just the same post in two places…

Lately I’ve been slowly realizing how everything I’ve done since college has been adding up to something forming in the now; a purpose and direction born long before this spiritual journey began as a conscious process.

I got to Northwestern University in 1970 and by the end of my freshman year I was radicalized.  A lot of revolution talk floated in the air around the anti-war movement and I felt both excited and unnerved by it. Puzzled by the enthusiasm being expressed by “peaceniks” for a process usually containing violence and horror — however great the outcome might be. (Though really, historically speaking, I’d have to say an awful lot of revolutions made things worse instead of better….)

It fascinated me, so I began to study.  Technically I majored in history and had an English minor, but I put together my own course of study.  An instructor with a forthcoming book on the “Power Elite” (the people of money who, behind the scenes, ran/run much of what happened/happens) ignited more fascination and I started taking classes on 20th century history, political systems, economic systems, political philosophy, political sociology, etc.  I wanted to know what the plan should/would be for a replacement if we wanted to tear the current structure down.  I wanted to find out if there was a path to change without violence.  I never lost sight of the deep questions about whether those who were shouting about revolution really understood the ramifications.  They also shouted about peace and the contradiction troubled me.

I tried to continue this work as a graduate student in sociology, but fellowship money wound up side-tracking me into the Center for Urban Affairs.  I learned more stuff that influences me still, not the least of which was a massive review of literature on crime statistics and the startling revelation that the probabilities of being a victim of most of the major felonies (robbery, burglary, assault, murder, rape, etc.) had not changed since at least the 1940’s.  (see previous post for more info)

I’ve continued to periodically check for updated studies and it has remained true to this day–and I now know the unchanged probabilities actually extend far back beyond the 1940’s.  It’s remained a central point for me, the realization that fear and perception of what’s real can be manipulated by how the facts are presented and what the media and people in power choose to bring to our attention.  And in these days, when positive news is available in a few seconds of internet searching, it’s also about what we choose to focus upon.

My law career was spent mainly on cases fighting nuclear power plants one way or another and I learned a lot about the real story there and how the utility companies, in collusion with the government, have tried to create a benign view of the nuclear industry that’s out of alignment with the facts.

I used to count all of those earlier studies and jobs out of my thoughts about how various elements of “my path” have added up to where I am now and what I am meant to do.  But as these wild times have ignited me to renewed interest in these big questions about politics and economics, I’m seeing how the Universe has guided me to gather what I need for my whole adult life, not just from the point when I began to explore myself as a spiritual being.  I still don’t see exactly where it leads, though that book I decided to write months ago on peaceful activism remains in the forefront of my thoughts.

Going back to the undergraduate studies, Oskar Lange‘s book, On the Economic Theory of Socialism, moved me, convinced me and provided the basic framework for what I would like to see that has guided my political thinking ever since.  While I love Social Democratic philosophy and especially how it has played out in Denmark, I remain aware that the U.S. has reached a point where powerful money forces have entrenched themselves so deeply in the political fabric that it may well require a revolution to make a change.

Through all the years I’ve watched the left leaning side of the Democratic party (and those who, like me, are somewhere left of the party but vote for it out of expediency), I’ve been amused and bemused by the unending chatter about changing this deeply rooted political principle or that deeply entrenched lobby group.  They speak of it as though just electing a few of the right people and/or passing the right laws will be all it takes to turn everything around.

My personal feeling has long been that it will take something far more earth shattering than electing “the right” people to revamp our system into a Social Democracy.   In an ironic sense I have a feeling the election of #45 may be the catalyst that does it, but that’s another rambling for another day…

My perspective now includes years of spiritual seeking, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, chanting, etc. and my beliefs have shifted to encompass a more spiritual and less political view.  I believe in peace.  I believe in compassion.  I believe in lovingkindness.  And I’m still striving to find a way to change the world without a revolution–or at least by fomenting a peaceful and compassionate one.

I’m unhappy about the anger and vitriol on display from both sides while at the same time understanding we probably need this time of erupting anger to clear a lot of buried stuff.  I’m unenthusiastic about “resistance” being the main banner of the movement for social democracy.

I am very clear it is more powerful to be “for” something than it is to be against something and I believe it is time for a platform of social change in which we are FOR equality, FOR universal health care, FOR equal rights for all humans of every race, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, FOR a basic decent quality of life for all humans–maybe FOR a new Social Democratic party?…  Time to stop speaking of our striving in battle terms and instead to be positive about what we’re doing to create what we believe in.

I am also clear that much of humanity discounts the role many of us have been playing as we have cleared old issues, struggled to become more loving, more kind, more compassionate…  Much of humanity doesn’t believe in peaceful means.  I understand that most people don’t get the web of all life or comprehend we are energy beings first and foremost; energy beings who are interconnected and whose thoughts and feelings as well as actions impact all of life.

I believe the biggest revolution may be the one that can and must happen in our hearts.  Which is not to say peaceful activism doesn’t also have a role.  But more than anything I believe now is the moment to clear any vestiges of fear and anger IN YOU, raise your energy vibration toward love, toward compassion, toward higher consciousness.  You can’t make anybody else change their thoughts or learn to meditate or choose peace.  Only you can do it. Only I can do it.  Peace begins with me.  Peace begins with you.

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J2P Monday: Compassion, resistance and supporting each other

It’s been a long time since I put up a #Journey2Peace Monday post and I’ve been feeling it’s time for one lately.  Nearly seven months into the so-called Presidency of #45, I’m still struggling sometimes to find peace.  But I’m finding and holding a space of peace more and more.

Along with it I carry a sense of optimism and a growing feeling that a better world is arising from what seems like chaos now.  I’ll be doing some more blogs with ho’oponopono/healing suggestions soon.  In the meantime I have a couple of ideas and I’m looking for input.

A while back I got one of the strongest messages from spirit I’ve had in a long time. A message that my purpose right now is not so much teaching what I know to people who are newer to the path, but to hold a space and help those who share my views on compassionate activism and lovingkindness, etc.  I know a lot of like-minded people–both through this blog and among many long-time friends–who are struggling as well but truly desire to live a life of compassion and lovingkindness.

After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided to float two ideas.  One is to create a weekly or monthly blog post on topics that support living a life of peace and compassion and/or that point to positive things happening in the world.  This post would also open the floor for commentary from anyone seeking support in the journey to peace and from anyone with words of wisdom to share; it could also be a day when any of you can write a post on the topic and link.

I also have an idea floating around about starting a private Facebook group/page wherein we can all speak safely about whatever our doubts, worries, fears and tensions are and also share our optimism, practices that help, etc.  I was getting ready to do something like it for a small group of healers here in the Bluegrass to which I belong but I’ve been feeling it should expand to include this blogging community.

Barbara Franken, of Me, My Magnificent Self, has started an open Facebook group called New Earth Community that’s about support in this time of change:  a “sacred, quiet and safe space in which to birth the new YOU and new life you wish to experience on New Earth.”  My idea definitely overlaps, but I more specifically am aiming for a safe space in which we can support one another in holding our spiritual ideals of compassion and lovingkindness in the face of political turmoil.  So you can join both and get lots of support on many endeavors!!!

There are a bunch of folks who have been liking and commenting on my posts for a long time and whose blogs I’ve been reading and commenting upon as well — and many of you follow one another.  You know who you are.  Once I get the page together, anyone from this blogging group who asks will get an invitation to the private group (those of you with whom I’m already connected on Facebook will receive an invitation there– probably whether you ask or not 🙂 ).  Anyone who’s newer around here can ask to join after you’ve done some commenting and by leaving your blog’s URL.

Right now, what I’m interested in is commentary from this community about

  1. the regular supportive post idea
  2. the Facebook group idea
  3. what you could use or would like to see in terms of support in these times

Thanks in advance everybody!

PS.  Since I’m not in love with figuring out how to do stuff like the FB page, I might be slow.   Foot dragging… Procrastinating…

Yoga for the Homeless

Since I’ve been practicing yoga for 30+ years and teaching off and on for something like 25, it seemed only fitting that my first participation in the We Are the World Blogfest should share a positive and uplifting piece about yoga.  I love the idea of offering yoga to homeless people.  Knowing the power of yoga practice to balance your energy and move you into a stronger more centered space, I imagine these programs (this isn’t the only one out there) are having an important impact.

The five co-hosts for this month’s event are:

  1. Belinda Witzenhausen
  2. Lynn Hallbrooks
  3. Simon Falk
  4. Sylvia McGrath
  5. Damyanti Biswas

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Gratitude, blessings and change afoot

of light and shadow

of light and shadow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m seeing reason for hope in the turmoil since the U.S. election.  And I’m seeing many ways in which it is facilitating healing in my life.

I started a chanting practice within a day or two after the election to replace the fear with love and compassion.  Although I’ve loved and used the lovingkindness chant for something like 20 years, I generally just say it to myself a few times a day and occasionally do a week of practice when something comes up that warrants it.

Three months in now, I’m finding a daily dose of metta combined with the heart-opening Gayatra Mantra and Om Shanti Shanti chants is pushing buttons, shifting energy, bringing things to the surface and leading me into some healing work I don’t know that I’d have done without the impetus of current events.

And I started being led to teachings and materials that address issues about self love I have not resolved.  I’ve been amused to note as well, many of the materials bring me back to the New Age type teachings with which I began this journey 30+ years ago.

First I signed up for a Vow to Love, a series of meditations on bringing love into self and the world by fellow blogger Karen Chrappa and have been very slowly working my way through them.  Then I got a head’s up about a new Louise Hay book, Life Loves You.

life-loves-you

After failing to get a free version to show up I found the e-book for $1.99 and started reading and doing the mirror work.  I’ve known a bit about her mirror work for 30 years but hadn’t ever done any.  Mirror work has been tapping me on the shoulder for about a year now and this felt like the moment to dive in.

abundance-factor

I also found a link to “The Abundance Factor” movie which, for a couple more days is free to watch here (not embedding as I assume it will disappear when the free bit is up), which I found to be a much better version of the Secret.  I particularly like that it very carefully and repeatedly acknowledges abundance as more than just material things.

A few other messages here and there have chimed in.  Together these little journeys have pointed up the unresolved issues about self-love and self-worth still dwelling in me.  It’s not that I haven’t worked on self love issues or improved over the years but I can see now there’s a core place of shame and fear I’ve never touched in spite of massive digging around in my psyche and multiple insights, practices and breakthroughs.

There are a lot of posts and essays floating around discussing the “shadow” represented by the Republican Administration.  I agree this rise of conservative and sometimes nasty values represents shadow stuff that needs to be cleared,  but I also feel liberals and progressives have a lot of uncleared shadow stuff that’s just as much represented in this rise of hatefulness as any shadows within the government.  And that includes me.

Liberals have long had a tendency to see the world in terms of battles and struggles and regularly use words of violence to describe their activities.  I first started being disturbed by the dark underbelly of activism in the 80’s.  I did a lot of work with public interest groups and noted with growing unease how readily my colleagues stepped up for faceless people in far away places and yet how snotty they could be with people in the same room.

An example that has always stuck with me was a boyfriend who worked zealously on abolishing the death penalty with absolute conviction that it is never right to kill someone.  When a CIA operative was killed in the Middle East, this same crusader against death grinned with delight and announced the guy deserved it.  “How,” I asked, “do you reconcile a belief it’s not okay to kill anyone with a belief that it was a good thing to kill that guy?”  He was LIVID.  We didn’t date too long after that 🙂

I find that sort of hypocrisy — the sort liberals like to point out in conservatives — disturbing.  I found the anger behind much of what they did troubling.  As I moved more and more onto a spiritual path I participated less and less in activism but grew more and more to believe the world needs peaceful activism, an activism conceived and carried out by loving hearts.

The only heart I can truly influence is mine.  So I’m grateful these uneasy times have led me to practices and explorations that are revealing shadow material and allowing me to acknowledge and release it.  The more of us who clear these shadows, the more the world will move toward peace.  My number one commitment is to release any remaining shadows in me.  I want to Be Peace not just talk about it.

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Hope Gone Viral Challenge

Kentucky River by Hall's 0

I’m kind of late I think with this challenge.  When Ra posted about it (now I can’t find her post or I’d give you a link…) I noted it seemed a good idea but then didn’t get to it and then felt hesitant about my post idea since part of the challenge implies the post should be about someone else who’s done something positive.  But it also invites us to post about what excites us in 2017.

I’m very excited right now because something about the election and its unexpected (and for me unwelcome) results has sparked me.  I wrote a series of five posts about how to turn activism in a positive direction:

“Where energy flows” explores how the positive or negative direction of our attention impacts the world and outcomes.  “Be For” looks into activism in favor of what you want instead of against what you don’t.  “Doing” explores three general ways of “doing something” positive in the realm of activism.  “Collective Consciousness” is a discussion of the power of a group united in beliefs and action.  “The Silent Revolution” looks at the possible strength of the group Paul Ray has dubbed the Cultural Creatives.

I’m so excited and energized by the idea of creating a positive activism movement that I’ve decided to turn those posts into a handbook which will expand on those ideas and add some more nuances.  So that’s my hopeful plan for 2017!

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Creating Reality in the World 4: Collective Consciousness

Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation

meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back when I was reading lots of books in the Seth material, one of the areas I felt struck by covered collective consciousness.  The energy of thoughts, when people collectively hold the same ones, grows exponentially.

Many teachers since have told me the same thing and I have experienced the powerful energy of people gathered together in a common energy.  Perhaps the most amazing moment was when about 1500 of us participated in a meditation involving coming into heart, filling the room and each other with love and then sending love out around the world.

When a large group focuses its attention on a shared vision, the energy going toward that vision gets that exponential increase.  This is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the power of people around the world meditating, chanting, praying, and/or holding a vision or energy space for the same goal or outcome.

This is also why I believe a campaign FOR what you want to see, participated in by tens of thousands or millions can create the reality you hope to see.  If you spread the word about a clean earth or a different electoral college outcome and help that idea go viral, the energy and attention being sent toward the outcome you seek will help to make it so.

Collective action like the people coming together at Standing Rock has a big impact.  And I particularly love the messages about nonviolence and understanding that have been made by the leaders of this movement/protest.  I passed this article, “Standing Rock: A Change of Heart” along on FB and hope to see it going everywhere. The call is for not dehumanizing anyone no matter which side they’re on and I believe that’s one of the most important messages of our time.

Gandhi is said to have made the Hindu gesture of forgiveness as he fell from an assassin’s bullets.  The Dalai Lama forgives the Chinese for what they’ve done to Tibet.  Martin Luther King preached nonviolence no matter what happened around him.  Taking in and living their message of maintaining love and compassion no matter what the circumstance seems to have been one of the hardest lessons ever for the world to learn.

At this moment in time the world needs us to stand together in love and compassion and refusal to be seduced into violence more than ever.  And in the next post in this series, I’ll explore the group that’s been building and sailing under the radar for years.  We could change the world.

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