Saturday, July 20, 2013

Activism - Two Types


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 instructions herein.

   First, there are at least two general types of activism:

I.Traditional methods of FRONT-LINE activism:

1.      Marches

2.      Demonstrations

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. 

II.Subtle Activism:

1.     an activity of consciousness or spirit, such as:

2.     prayer,

3.     meditation,

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” toward  the 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 un-improved.

 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 Burma

Egyptian political and religious unrest


Al Qaeda and Taliban becoming peaceful

U.S. poverty and crime areas

Unity amongst Congressional members in the U.S. congress

Pres Obama’s wisdom

Hostility between Japan, China and N. Korea

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, hunger, malnourished

Military personnel in harms way 


Save the Children

Mercy Corps

Doctors w/o Borders

Amnesty Intl

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

1.      Re-posting collective 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.  

We are especially interested in the spiritual dimension of subtle activism, hence our definition:  

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, sexism).

   Leading examples of this kind of subtle activism include

1.     Women and men come together in sacred space to heal gender injustice

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 the group.

I believe that there is enormous untapped power in these kinds of practices to support collective healing and social change.

   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 encouraged. 

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,



beyond measure,

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 web site:

Many thanks to!
(The above presentation was given by John Potts at the Mindfulness Meditation Group of Annapolis - Unitarian Universalist Church)
Go In Peace and Compassion
John Potts
Arriving Home at the Source
 (Dharma Name)

Monday, July 15, 2013




Baba-Kundi Ma`at-Shambhala

Fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are rendered, sound or good reasoning.

As usual, I was communing with myself this morning; and as it is with many people today, it had to do with the verdict of the Trayvon Martin Murder Case. This is what transpired within my psyche. Are you surprised and shocked at this, is this any different than what has always been, and did you expect anything different? The answer to all of that is a loud resounding NO!
I know that a lot of people are talking about justice, and rightfully so. Nonetheless, we must face reality. Since the invasion of the settlers, there has never been any true justice in this country. This sacred land, and all land is sacred, was taken from a people that laid no claim of ownership to it, because the indigenous people of this land understood that everything belonged to Great Spirit, and Great Spirit was in everyone and everything. What was thought to have been taken from the native people of Turtle Island belonged to no one to be taken from. The signature of the people and powers that be today, and the people and powers that be when this land was raided and terrorized by the so-called fathers of this land remains the same today. We cannot expect to receive justice from a people who are greedy and heartless, a people that believe that killing for sport or any other reason outside of the taking of a life for necessary nourishment is right. They have even turned the taking of the life of an animal for nourishment into a barbaric travesty.
Knowing how they have been, and remain to be should not surprise us or anger us any more, that is of course unless you were born yesterday. It should not surprise or anger us any more because we know their MO; we know their "Modus Operandi" their “Mode of Operation”. Here is the major reason why we must not allow that which others do upset us and make us angry; when we get upset and angry we are allowing ourselves to be thrown out of balance, and when we are out of balance we always do the wrong thing and act out of character, and everything that we do no matter for what reason we have a price to pay for it. So please answer me this old question that I have added a little something to, “Does two wrongs make a right, even though it may make us feel a little better at the time?” We do exactly what they want us to do when we get all upset, we lay down our power and are susceptible to their next attack that is designed specifically to control and/or destroy us. We must stop being tricked into giving our power away.
Recently one way we African Americans were tricked into giving our power away, was placing our hope and faith in a man simply because he looks like us, and you know who I am speaking of, Obama. Beloved, only you and I can save us, not Obama, not the so-called Justice System, or any one or anything else. Our only salvation is learning to go within and tap into the Divine Force that resides within our very own spirits; the major scheme way back when was to disenfranchise us from our true power, which is the Spiritual Power that resides within our very own spirit. Causing us to believe in a power and savior outside of ourselves was the master scheme of all schemes, and that alone is what controls us today.
I heard some insinuate that the outcome of the trial was God’s will and justice was served. Let me tell you something else that I am sure many will get upset over. Religion is a major part of the master scheme to disempower and control the majority of the human race, which includes people of all races. If you study the bible it talks about slaves submitting to their masters, it also talks about human sacrifices, of which some will say eating the flesh of Christ and drinking the blood of Christ was strictly symbolic, if that is the case why would a God of Love use such a symbolic gesture? Back to some of the ridiculousness written in the bible; it states that God is a jealous God, a vengeful God, and a God that is to be feared; please tell me this, how could an omniscient omnipotent God be those things? Last but not least, we are taught by the so-called inerrant word of God the bible that we are to have the fear of God in our hearts. How is it possible to fear and love someone at the same time? The bible did say a few things that I believe in and agree wholeheartedly with, the major one being that God Is Love. That is it in a nutshell, and that being the absolute truth, it dispels all of that nonsense that I just shared with you that is supposed to be the word of God to us. Oh, one other thing that I must mention here that was designed to rob us of our power; God was depicted as a male, a man, yet in the bible it clearly says; “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” There are some contradictions in that statement, however I want to point out the following. In the image of God was created both male and female, that means that both woman and man where created with equality.
My beloved sisters and brothers, all of this speaks directly to the reason why we must stop looking outside of our selves for that which we need. Something else that I believe that the bible teaches and it is the following; we are the church (the physical structure that Spirit dwells in), and God (Mama-Baba Goddess-God) dwells in the church (you and me). We must regain the power that resides in this truth, and it is possible within our lifetime. Now I am not saying that everyone will do this, because everyone will not do it in our lifetime. The spiritual evolution required to accomplish such takes many lifetimes, and yes I am saying that we live more then one lifetime. I am not going to get into it here, but the bible even talks about that; one of the things that little to no attention is given and taught about.
Just as Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” We must find the way to do this, the power to do so resides within each of us. We must stop looking to the church, the so-called Department of Justice, the police, our teachers, and anyone and anything else that we are looking to outside of ourselves for assistance. I know that being in the state that we now find ourselves, makes it hard to believe that the answers we seek are within us. Nevertheless, that is the absolute truth; and we must align ourselves with that truth. If we do not do this, we will continue to wander in the wilderness of deception and confusion, and continue to experience greater levels of discord directly in our lives and all around us. We must make our way back to the place of practicing and being the Powerful Spiritual Beings who are on a delightful sojourn through a dense physical plane for the purpose of learning new things and becoming greater creators of our reality. We must shed the dis-ease of forgetfulness and start to enter into the realm of Total Spiritual Re-Call. Until we open up fully and recall who we truly are, the agony will continue to accelerate and weaken us even more. We must and will eventually get back to the truth. The only question is this; how much more pain must we experience before we wake up completely?
The original practice of the indigenous people of Alkebulan (Africa), Turtle Island (America), and all of the indigenous people of the world was as follows; Great Spirit is in everyone and everything, there was no separation between Great Spirit and any form of creation; the whole of creation is All One because the whole of creation is all a part of Great Spirit. All manner of wickedness and suffering entered into the human experience when man created and placed an angry god over mankind and creation, that was the beginning of the religious deception. The indigenous people of Turtle Island (the Americas) were said to be devil worshipers by the Europeans; that was certainly not the case at all. The European settlers were worshiping the god of their ancestors, the god that their ancestors created; so in essence they were worshiping a man made idol, which is the same as worshiping the devil. Today idol worship is so popular in many arenas. Actually, the most well known promotion and teaching of idol worship is the number one show on Tell-a-vision in America, and it is named American Idol, a show that promotes focus on and praise of someone outside of us. Have you noticed that the idols, role models, athletes, and stars that are put out front for us to see, follow, and worship are pretty messed up people, with little to no morals at all? The majority of those who were and still are on the true path of personal empowerment, were either made out to be crazy or they were killed; that is the evidence of the fear of those who are orchestrating all of the fear and control we are gripped with today, and their fear of us eventually accepting the truth, and derailing their hell bound train. However, let me tell you this; no matter what is done to us, if we decide to accept the truth, and do all that we can to embody that truth, actually be the change that we want to see in the world, we will defeat the wickedness that has a grip on the world we are currently living in.
So, lets make a pledge to change the world, and it can be done in a very simple way; work on changing one person; ourselves. If each of us changes ourselves to line up with Divine Reality, we will empower ourselves to the point that nothing and no one can stop us from totally being the Eternal All Powerful Spiritual Beings that we have always been and are today. If we change ourselves, which will transform our surrounding worlds; when our worlds overlap we will take back more of the whole wide world. 

Each One Reach One!
Each One Teach One!
Each One Love One! 

Baba-Kundi Ma`at-Shambhala