Allow our universal internal Spirit to blow on our personal sails propelling our lives in whatever direction Spirit knows best. I would like to hear your stories along with my experiences. Please let me know you are on this site and… share with all!
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Activism - Two Types
ACTIVISM – TwoTypes
By John Potts
Arriving Home at the
Source (Dharma Name)
Quite a bit of changes have been instituted around the world due to
citizens becoming involved in Activism to bring their desires for change home
to the target government or institution.There are two general types of activism which I would like to explain in
this essay.This information was
recently put together to lead a mindfulness meditation group into an
informative meditation toward changing violence and suffering around the world,
including the earth itself, into peace and health.Thus, you will see sample meditation
First, there are at least two general types of activism:
methods of FRONT-LINE activism:
3.Putting one’s body in
front of bulldozers
4.Living high in a tree
to protect the cutting of a forest, etc, etc…
These represent only the most
immediate and direct expressions of action for social change.
1.an activity of consciousness or spirit, such as:
4.ecstatic dance or other types of rituals,
5.intended to support collective healing and social change,
6.grows from the idea that there are many effective ways –
some newly emerging, many as old as humanity – to positively influence social
change other than overt political action.
It is possible to identify a spectrum of social action that proceeds
from the more obvious or overt forms down a graded scale of increasing
subtlety. At the subtlest level, even certain activities of consciousness or
spirit can be recognized as forms of social action.
A global meditation and prayer event, in which hundreds of thousands of
people around the planet unite in silence and prayers for world peace, is a
prime example of subtle activism.
On March 15, 2002, over 600,000 Sri Lankans traveled from all corners of
the country to the sacred city of Anuradhapura to participate in the world’s
largest ever peace meditation. After a few brief spoken prayers by members of
the clergy of various Sri Lankan religions, the event organizer Dr. Ariyaratne
guided the massive crowd into a simple mindful breathing meditation.Over half a million people settled into deep
stillness and silence for an entire hour. The meditation was clearly a
political statement, yet there were no placards or speeches – simply - silence.
Dr. Ariyaratne, who since 1958 had
worked on refugee and rehabilitation projects with both sides of Sri Lanka’s
bitter civil war, introduced the peace meditations in the late 1990’s in order
to “change the psycho-sphere.” The American peace activist Joanna Macy, present
at the March 15 meditation, called it
“the biggest silence I ever heard…. I
thought: This is the sound of bombs and landmines not exploding, of rockets not
launched, of machine guns laid aside. This is possible.”
During the Battle of Britain, Londoners of various faiths united daily
for a minute of silence after the chiming of Big Ben at 9pm – a practice
intended to strengthen the moral resolve of the city’s inhabitants during the
ordeal of war.
In recent years, the expansion of the global interfaith movement and the
emergence of the Internet have given rise to numerous globally synchronized
meditation and prayer vigils that link individuals and communities around the
world for shared silence and prayers for peace. For example, in early 2003
during the buildup to the Iraq war, the Global Interfaith Prayer Vigil brought
together over 100,000 monks, nuns and other committed practitioners of a wide
variety of faiths for a fifteen-week vigil to pray for a peaceful solution.
Sample 20-minute Group Meditation
Leader: You may, as always, use your own method of meditation, but if
you would like to listen to my words to guide you periodically, during your
breathing cycle – breathing in/breathing out – I will name aloud a location or
social situation which is in need of collective healing or social change… you
might want to try to visualize the situation I name and imagine the situation
improving, or think projecting the words “Peace and Healing” towardthe place or situation, or otherwise emanate
feelings of peace and compassion toward the location which I name.The choice is yours. Feel free to add your
own silently. Just don’t keep visualizing the tragic situation remaining
After a while, I will name several charities
that work with our donations in needy areas around the world… perhaps you will
want to send thoughts of generous donations to the charity and wisdom to use
the funds where needed… and add the charities which you help support.
After 20 minutes, we will come out of the meditation & I will add a
few more thoughts to consider and then go around the room and introduce
ourselves and comment on what this topic means to you as you desire.
(Spoken at periodic intervals by the leader)
Apartheid & ethnic cleansing in
Egyptian political and religious
Al Qaeda and Taliban becoming
U.S. poverty and crime areas
Unity amongst Congressional members
in the U.S. congress
Pres Obama’s wisdom
Hostility between Japan, China and
China’s hostility toward Tibet and
the families of those Buddhists who were celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday
recently killed by Chinese soldiers in Tibet
Actions needed to be taken to
reverse climate change
Sahel, Nigeria, W. Africa drought,
Military personnel in harms way
Save the Children
Doctors w/o Borders
If appropriate: Various local church
outreach programs such as The Lighthouse, UN Global Justice Committee, UU
Social Justice Light a Candle projects, Neighborhood Leadership Academy,
overseas church partnership projects, etc.
(Bring the group out of meditation
in accordance with local practice.)
Further Thoughts on Activism
Subtle activism is primarily intended for collective
healing and social transformation. Meditating for one’s own liberation would
not be considered subtle activism, but meditating for peace on Earth would be.
Praying for the health of one’s personal friend is not subtle activism, but
praying for a community struck by natural disaster is. It is important and
wonderful to send healing to ourselves, our friends, and our families, but the
goal of subtle activism is to encourage us to extend our healing focus beyond
our local family to our greater community.
Forms of Subtle Activism
Many kinds of actions can exert subtle positive influence on the social
realm and thus might be considered forms of subtle activism. For example,
certain kinds of intellectual contributions, and various forms of inspirational
art and music are types of action that support positive social change through
less overt or direct means than conventional approaches to activism
(demonstrations, marches, lobbying, etc).
Two kinds of Subtle Activism which I am involved in are
and social needs on Facebook, needs which are made public by charities, trying
to get my FB friends to look out of their own situation into the needs of
America and the world.
2.By signing petitions and encouraging my FB friends to sign
the petitions for collective and social justice.
3.I also help support
Amnesty International with funds and also preparing and mailing letters to
leaders of countries on behalf of activists and other victims who have been
taken prisoner for their positive work and are being otherwise abused.
4. Meditation focused on collective needs.
especially interested in the spiritual dimension of subtle activism, hence our
“those forms of spiritual practice intended to support
collective healing and social change.”
“Spiritual practice” means prayer,
meditation, ritual, or any other kind of spiritual or consciousness practice,
from any tradition. It includes ecstatic dance, devotional chanting, and other
kinds of expressive practices. We understand that the word “spiritual” means
different things for different people. I consider a practice to be “spiritual”
if it is oriented toward wholeness and healing and motivated by universal
values such as love, compassion, and universal justice. It is not necessary
that the approach be explicitly spiritual. For example, we would consider a
practice that inspires awe and reverence for the Earth to be spiritual, even if
the word spiritual is not mentioned.
Subtle activism also includes
certain kinds of relational practices intended to help heal aspects of our
collective shadow, especially when these take place in a sacred context.
Individual Inner Subtle Activism
In individual inner work, most approaches include
some form of the following two dimensions:
1) Making contact with our deeper essence through meditation, prayer or
other spiritual practice; and
2) Transforming our limiting beliefs and behavior patterns by working
through critical issues from our personal history.
Similarly, an important dimension of spiritual practices oriented toward
collective healing and social transformation is a process of:
Bringing up to consciousness ancient wounds and limiting
patterns of thought inherited from our collective history (e.g., racism,
Leading examples of this kind of subtle activism include
1.Women and men come together in sacred space to heal gender
2.People uncover their innate connections with each other and
the web of life, and
3.Working with groups that acknowledge and engage the
political and psychological dimensions of issues that arise between members of
I believe that there is enormous
untapped power in these kinds of practices to support collective healing and
I consider myself to be a Social Activist.I invite you to join me in these
endeavors.Showing talent, initiative,
concern, devotion, becoming a pest… (as I am on Facebook) or just plain work are
I suggest that you make the
following your own meditation/prayer focus to help compassion to radiate forth:
A Quote From
The Digha Nikay
“I put away all hindrances,
I let my mind full of love pervade one quarter of the world,
and so too the second quarter,
and so the third, and so the fourth.
And thus the whole wide world,
around and everywhere,
I altogether continue to pervade with love filled thought,
free from hatred and ill will.”
I Pray with love and
compassion for all to live in peace and health.
I Give generously to heal the
plight of the needy.
I Go into our
world to bring love and compassion…We
are all one!
Some of these ideas have been compiled from the following