The diligent inner work that transforms us in gentler human beings is a powerful form of activism for justice and peace.
When we become more mindful, we reduce our sense of self and experience oneness, a feeling of unity and connection with all sentient beings that propels us to engage in the work of alleviating other people’s suffering, and that of preserving the planet and all life in it. We become less selfish and more devoted to the welfare of others, not thinking as much as we did before about ‘me,’ but thinking much more in terms of ‘we.’
As we go about doing this inner work — that, by the way, has no end — we feel drawn to stand side by side with the poor, the weak, the exploited, and the oppressed. This alignment is natural and inescapable. Once we reach a deeper understanding of life, and of the ‘inter-beingness’ of all, we find ourselves naturally engaged in the work of promoting social justice, defending the powerless, and speaking truth to power. And we choose to do all this through nonviolent means because nonviolence germinates spontaneously in the hearts of the mindful.
Once we go through this deep personal transformation, our increased peace, kindness, patience and generosity will not only touch other people’s lives, but will also be noticed, and this will attract more people to engage in the work that transforms from the inside out, brings about an expanded consciousness, and affects the entire world in a positive way. And once a large number of human beings on this planet undergo this transformative work, reach this broader understanding of life, and embrace this gentler way of being, we will reach a tipping point that will bring about a stupendous shift in the world, with the emergence of a new culture of solidarity and cooperation, unity and peace.
The truth is that every little thing we do to become more peaceful adds to the culture of peace that one day shall prevail on Earth. Working on our own selves to cultivate mindfulness, and inspiring and helping others to do the same, is one of the most powerful forms of activism.
Our inner work and personal transformation is not, by any means, a selfish endeavor. When we take care of ourselves, we are taking care of others. When we take care of ourselves, we are taking care of the world. When we grow in peace, then we have peace to give. Cultivating inner peace may be seen as a selfish act, but in reality, it isn’t. We don’t do this for ourselves alone. Our dedicated inner work benefits the entire creation. Believe it, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
I am concentrating my work on changing myself and one person at a time, on producing “bringers of peace,” on training people to be that “peaceful presence,” that type of person whose sole presence can bring harmony to discord, peace to disturbance. I am concentrating my work in becoming more peaceful myself and in helping people do the same, and in helping them go to that place inside themselves where we can realize that we are all in this together and that when we help others, we are, in fact, helping ourselves.
The practice of mindfulness meditation and mindful living creates activists who through their wisdom, equanimity, and selflessness, are capable of bringing about long-lasting change for the betterment of the world, without doing anyone any harm.
The practice of mindfulness meditation and mindful living transforms our worldview from one of isolation, selfishness, and competition to one of connection, compassion, and cooperation.
By working on our own selves we become sensitive to all the suffering in the world, and begin to understand the real causes of all this suffering.
Mindfulness is a path that leads to a new conscience and the envisioning of new possibilities for ourselves and for life in this planet. As we continue practicing, we expand our ability to see the enormous abundance that surrounds us. We realize that there is more than enough for everyone to live thriving and dignified lives, and that what is needed in order for this to take place is a change in mindset that will lead to new ways of organizing ourselves to live on this planet, ways through which everyone can prosper, develop, and give their best contributions to the world.
The realization that this is a place of inexhaustible abundance tames our fears, brings us contentment, a sense of gratefulness, and the realization that we can organize ourselves to live together in ways that can make the lives of everyone immensely better.
We realize that practicing and teaching mindfulness is a powerful way of bringing about a gentler world, by changing, from the inside out, the one thing that really needs to change.
Why is mindfulness so important? How can it benefit the world? Ourselves? In this video, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Kristin Neff, and Jack Kornfield address these questions. How has mindfulness impacted your worldview?
Posted by Sounds True on Wednesday, February 15, 2017
“As I reflect on it now, from the very beginning there was for me one primary and compelling reason for attempting to bring mindfulness into the mainstream of society. That was to relieve suffering and catalyze greater compassion and wisdom in our lives and culture.”
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, Some Reflections on the Origins of MBSR
Diligent inner work allows us to see the Divine in every person, and experience a sense of splendor that makes us treat one another with great reverence.
“Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed . . . I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.”
~ Thomas Merton
Love spreads spontaneously. Love brings about love. In any environment, the mere presence of a loving person expands the number of individuals who respond with love.
“Love and coercion can never go together. Love has to spring spontaneously from within. It is in no way amenable to any form of inner or outer force and it cannot be forced upon anybody, yet it can be awakened in one through love itself.”
~ Meher Baba
“Here’s an ancient truth about being human: we cannot give gifts to others that we are unable to give to ourselves! That’s why “inner work” done well is never selfish. Ultimately, it will benefit other people.”
~ Parker j. Palmer
And while we are doing the work necessary to become more mindful, and grow the contingent of mindful people in our world, we still need to remain vigilant and denounce oppression and exploitation. No matter how difficult and dangerous it may be, we cannot remain silent. We cannot be mere bystanders. We cannot look the other way. As Eli Weisel said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
~ Martin Niemöller, German Pastor (1892–1984)
In the middle of a giant storm, in a boat full of fearful and agitated people, one sane, calm, and steady-minded individual can navigate the vessel through the colossal waves of the sea, and endure the challenge of the howling winds, the torrential rain, and the impenetrable fog, to find a way out and take the boat to a safe harbor, saving not only her life, but everyone’s lives. Practice mindfulness. The world desperately needs more steady-minded individuals.
Check this article by Sharon Salzberg: Fierce Compassion
Check the work of the Engaged Mindfulness Institute.
“It all starts in our own hearts. Changing our hearts is where it all starts” ~ Elizabeth Velez
Know that you are loved!
Stay in touch.
Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/PeacefulWays/events/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/peacefulways
Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store
– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”
– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”
– “Silent Peace Walk”
Piero Falci loves to observe, reflect, write, and teach. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who not only strives to live a life that matters, but who also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is a promoter of peace who works to advance the idea that Heaven is here, if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful living, and organizes Silent Peace Walks.