KEYS TO SPIRITUAL ACTIVISM
© Andrew Rasmussen 2008
- Let Peace Begin In Me: There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. The more often we practice returning to the peaceful place inside us, the more we feel at home there and naturally gravitate to live from that place. Cultivating peace in body and mind is much like working out at a gym to build muscle. In the course of our evolution, we may plateau at a certain level of peace. If we really want to create more peace in the world, we can practice going deeper into the peace within our own consciousness, and build our capacity to gently and easily return there when we find ourselves elsewhere.
- Trust the process: When we engage in life as Spiritual Activists, success is not measured by how well our actions bear fruit. Success is measured by the authenticity , courage, compassion and Loving we bring forward as we fulfill our purpose. Although injustice and exploitation occur on a human level, perfect justice is always present on a spiritual level. If we interpret human injustices to mean “the world is not fair” , we are second guessing the Universe and the bigger divine plan which is at work.
- Identify Your Heroes: Figures like Jesus Christ, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Tich Nat Hanh, and others have demonstrated lifetimes committed to peace and healing. They can help us acknowledge the parts of us that come alive and resonate with this greater level of commitment to personal and planetary healing.
- Community of Caring: engage with a group or individuals who feed our sense of hope, who demonstrate heartfelt commitment to goodwill. Trust that people do care, even if they act cynical. Acknowledge demonstrations of caring and nurture the joy of service that is already present in ourselves and in others. Many are overwhelmed and may not have the capacity to deal with pain and suffering in the moment. When we accept this it helps us have compassion and not judge because we realize how much they are suffering.
- Focus on your area of responsibility: By identifying and accepting things that are beyond our control, we can save a great deal of energy for the things that are within our power and responsibility to change. Practicing discernment in this way is a powerful skill. In the spirit of the Serenity Prayer, set your intention to change the things you can change in order to leverage your energy by focusing within your sphere of responsibility and influence. Experiencing the results of effective action build self esteem and self confidence. Setting the bar of achievement too high often leads to disappointment and burnout.
- Create a Centering Practice: Practice clearing your thoughts and coming to a place of peace, contentment and freedom inside. By staying connected to our purpose, by keeping our hearts open and minds clear, we are far more capable to play our part in creating a better world.
- Discover and Live our Authentic Purpose: Having an intimate, living relationship with our purpose is a renewable source of energy from which we can draw over a lifetime of service.
- Low Attachment, High Involvement: Even when we do our best sometimes the results will not be as we intended. Sometimes the results will have consequences that may feel very painful. Do not punish yourself by judging yourself and others as not “good enough”. We are always doing our best given our situation, based on the information we have, and we can never change the past. Holding onto an attachment of what “should” have happened will cause more suffering for us and stress our relationship with reality. Accept what is, acknowledge your efforts for doing our best, harvest the learning opportunities from the process, and re-set your intention to be in service. Pay attention to your heart and let it guide you to your passion to alleviate the suffering in the world. The fact that it takes much longer than we would like to see results is not under our control.
- Forgiveness: Holding on to a wound and resenting the one that wounded us is like holding a hot stone in your hand, ready to throw it at the other person. Whether we throw the stone or not, we end up getting burned. You deserve to be free from this self inflicted punishment. Be compassionate for yourself and the person that hurt you. Drop the stone and stop hurting yourself. Judging someone as unworthy of compassion and loving, is a subtle form of violence. When we hold self-righteous positions, and de-humanize the other, we are really increasing the level of violence on the planet. Everyone is capable of doing awful, hurtful things given different circumstances. Stop focusing so much on controlling what others are doing. Focus on your area of responsibility and end your contribution to suffering and violence, however small.
- Be the change we wish to see: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We have the wisdom, creativity, humility, honesty and loving we want to see operating in the world.
- Have Courage to Stay in the Loving, and to have your heart broken and healed, over and over, as many times as necessary in order to learn to love ourselves and love life no matter what. The more we love, the more painful the experience of loss. No matter how great the loss, it is another lesson that what we lost was not the source of our loving. We experienced loving because we already have the love within us. It is not conditional to any external circumstances even though it may seem so. Loving is a quality of our relationship to life and it is a choice we can make in every moment. The heart’s nature is to heal itself, let go and be free of conditions for loving. When we look back on our life, we see that we always get back up and get over stuff. Through these experiences we find resources within ourselves.
- Trust: Trust that all people want to be peaceful, happy and free. All people want to love and be love. People really do care. Assume that people really do care because when we see people in this way, it is a blessing and gives people the benefit of the doubt. Acknowledge that other people do care. If we only see that other people don’t care, try looking differently.
- Focus on What is Already Healthy and Nurturing; acknowledging the positive; focus on the positive: Energy goes where attention flows. What you focus on expands.
- Find a Mentor: if you find someone you admire, ask them to take you under their wing. Don’t be attached to whether they say “Yes” or “No”. There are always enough mentors available in the world to provide you with the training you need. Being a mentor and having a mentor are both deeply fulfilling.
- Cultivate supportive friendships: Find friends that encourage you to live your purpose and hold you accountable to your heartfelt commitments.
- Be Aware of the Oneness: On a mental level it is easy to remember our essential Oneness, that the Universe is a whole system, planet earth is a whole system, As individuals our bodies are holonic. We are parts of this whole system and we are all One. The division creeps in when we are afraid, feel threatened, experience lack, or go into victim consciousness. Oneness becomes an embodied knowing when we cultivate the ability to bring ourselves back when we notice we are going into separation and dis-integration. Back to the place of awareness of our essential Oneness.
- Own your Shadow Projections : Notice when you are judging or pointing the finger and dis-identifying with other people. This is an opportunity to move into compassion. Politicians and religions have routinely used shadow projections to manipulate and control our thoughts and behaviors. The opportunity here is to recognize that the real war is the Spiritual War that exist within our own consciousness. That is the battlefield of the Spiritual Warrior. This war is won when we accept and have compassion for all aspects of ourselves and all beings. We are all worthy of loving no matter who we are or what we have done and no matter how much suffering we have caused.
- Be Aware of What is Alive in Me: Our bodies feelings and sensations provide valuable feedback and guidance to us by rewarding us with pleasurable feelings of joy, fulfillment and happiness when we step into the authenticity of who we are. Each one of us had a unique set of skills to bring to the earth that the community of life and each one of us has a unique curriculum of learning and healing. By focusing on what is alive In us, we are aware of what we are here for and we nurture this special part of us. We give it the freedom to be and do its purpose.
- Gratitude: When we focus on our conditions for happiness that are not met, we will never be happy. If we were to write down all the conditions for happiness and peace that are already met, it would go on for pages and pages. Taking responsibility for the way we are relating to life in our consciousness and having an attitude of gratitude is a choice we can make in every moment.
- Have a Sense of Humor: Surround yourself around people that have a sense of humor. Notice when your energy is getting heavy. Lighten up ! Heaviness will not help. Humor is helps us not take ourselves so seriously , and diffuses the heaviness of our opponents also. It helps us be humble, aware of our limitations, and It allows us to have fun right now. Humor helps us accept what is and see the irony in the situation. Also, laughter is very healing and good medicine.
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