Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Responses to my post on “Environment, spirit and me” last week left me feeling I wanted to write another post, addressing activism in general. At first I thought it really didn’t belong on J2P Monday, but then as I worked on it, I felt it really does. Gonna be longer than my usual pithy posts… sorry.
After years of activism on many fronts, my view of activism and what changes the world is radically different. Which I guess means I’m still a radical, but this time I’m even farther off the main track than in my hippie days (which may not have ever ended 🙂 ).
There are some basic beliefs I now hold that are at the core of my view. For many people these are way out. I get that. And I’m not trying to make you believe what I believe. Just explaining. If it makes you want to jump on the bandwagon, cool. If it seems wacky to you, that’s cool too–if you feel called upon to comment on the wackiness, keep it nice.
First, I believe that everything is energy, including thoughts. When thoughts are sufficiently focused and strongly held, they have the power to create reality, to manifest what you believe in.
Second, I believe that all energy exists in oneness. We are all one. The only part of the energy you can control is your own. Whether you choose to be war or peace is up to you. The choice you make does impact the whole, however. If the majority of energy in the web is focused on battles, problems, struggles, discord, evil, wrongs, etc. then the world reflects those things by producing more and more.
My corollary belief is that if enough people in the world are completely at peace, including in their thoughts and words as well as their actions, then the world will move into peace and harmony.
In the history of the world, by and large, the framework of much of life has been about people finding problems, deciding how to fix the problems and fighting about whether there really is a problem, about whose job it is to fix it, about what solution is the right solution, etc. There’s an “us” and a “them” and a right and a wrong, Anyone who doesn’t see it your way is evil, bad, wrong. All these problems are discussed in terms of battles, struggles, wars, with accompanying vitriol against all who don’t agree.
As long as everyone believes the world is full of problems, full of evildoers who don’t admit the problems or who want the wrong solutions, the world will be full of problems, evildoers, etc. We create what we believe in. We create what we put our attention on.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King and the Dalai Lama, among many, tried for years to tell us. Nonviolence is the answer. I think a lot of people assume that nonviolence means “don’t throw rocks or shoot guns at people.” But violence in eastern philosophies is about more than physical violence. They teach us to be nonviolent in our thoughts and nonviolent in our words as well as in our actions. Violence in thoughts and words can be just as destructive to the world as physical violence.
It often surprises me that in spite of the successes of these leaders–and I think one day we’ll see the good effect of the Dalai Lama’s stance of compassion toward China– most people don’t believe that nonviolence works. Sometimes it feels like few remember HOW Gandhi got the Brits out of India.
For myself, when I think in terms of being in battle over environmental issues or peace or poverty, when I think of the world as troubled, when I see problems everywhere, I know I am being violent instead of nonviolent. Those are violent thoughts. When I speak of problems and issues and the fight to win this or that, I am being violent in my speech.
Meditation and affirmation and creating visions are tools I find very effective for creating change. They help to refocus your thoughts and beliefs to a more peaceful place. They help to bring peace into your own heart so that peace is what you carry forward into the world. Collective vision creates a powerful energy for creating a new reality.
When it comes to the list of my so-called accomplishments in environmental issues I don’t see it the way I did then. I understand that one way to look at it is that nine nuclear power plants weren’t built and that’s good.
But I look back and wonder, what if we had created a vision of our state having the best, safest, most healthy delivery of energy that the Universe could provide? What if we sat together and meditated on the vision and then stayed open to receive an answer from the Universe?
You see, I believe that process could lead to realizing we already have technologies that could alleviate the need for nuclear power, oil and all the vanishing resources we currently believe we must have (and we do, why they’re not implemented, another story…). I believe such a vision could open a space for the Universe — or All That Is or God or Higher Consciousness–to show us an abundant, sustainable renewable energy source that’s as yet undiscovered.
Which is better, from that view? Stopping nine nuclear plants or changing the entire paradigm of energy in our world? When we frame things in terms of problems and solutions conceived by brains instead of opportunities and paths illuminated by higher consciousness and heart, we get tunnel vision and fail to see many potential other answers. So, while I see why, from an environmentalist point of view, it was good to stop the plants, I now believe we could have done something much more effective and lasting.
I know many people think I’m nuts for believing this. I think it’s pretty nutty to imagine that a framework that has never succeeded in the history of the world will ever lead to a new paradigm of peace. I think it’s time to step outside of the old box and open to a new way of being. Hopefully not in a box…
I don’t see how a world of battles and struggles and wars on this and that ever gets us out of battles and wars. I don’t see how we can ever find peace if we constantly point fingers at other people and declare them wrong. I see that a vision of what could be can change the world. I hold a vision of a world in which so many people have let go of anger and fear and instead filled with compassion and love that the world has become a place of peace and safety and harmony.
But this is what I have come to for myself after many years of activism followed by many years of meditation and contemplation and yoga, etc. That’s my truth and the path my heart must follow. I can’t tell you what to do or that your path will lead you to the same place. Your path is for you to discover.