Spirit In Action

“The whole human species is on trial now. These next few decades will determine whether or not our species is a locust species or a bumblebee species. We’ll either scour this planet to the bones and destroy our own civilization and most other species, or we will find a way to bring ourselves back into harmony with our mother, with the earth.” – Van Jones

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We live in a time when things are getting better and better and worse and worse faster and faster. There are two graphs, building steam and momentum – the upward graph of the forces of life, and the downward graph, representing the forces of death and extinction. These are the two dominant trends that humanity, and our innocent blue planet, are facing: what visionary Matthew Fox calls the forces of biophilia, and the forces of necrophilia. This time of raging wars, financial collapse, environmental devastation and fear mongering is also a time of tremendous possibility, when we all have the opportunity to step into our true selves and become part of the tidal wave of change that is sweeping the globe.

For the last few years I have been traveling the planet, shooting a feature documentary called “Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action.” The film is now complete, and is starting to come out into the world right now! It’s about the rising power of “spiritual activism”, contemporary stories of what Gandhi called “Soul Force,” what Martin Luther King called “Love In Action,” what we’re calling “Fierce light.” It is the power of action, combined with the depth of Love. I have been seeking out those visionaries and every day heroes who are working to transform themselves and this world of crisis, and I have discovered enormous cause for hope.

Spiritual Activism is not about religion, it is not about any form of dogma, it is activism that comes from the heart, not just the head, activism that is compassionate, positive, kind, fierce and transformative. And fun! Being spiritual, and being an activist, can be a lot of fun – in fact, it should be a lot of fun. Being a spiritual activist means taking our part in creating change, with a spirit of positivity, and a balance of interdependence and self determination. Nothing could be more inspiring and more rewarding than being the change we want to see in the world, within and without.

For me, true spirituality is a fresh, living truth. Ideology is frozen spirituality, whereas I see spirituality as the evolutionary impulse itself– it is evolving and adapting along with the ever changing context of our lives. It is still rooted in timeless truths, but truth as inner knowing, not external imposition. Spirituality also involves that which is beyond the immediate senses – the unseen. This includes emotions, feelings, energy, and the openness to possibilities beyond the material.

Spirituality involves taking a ‘depth’ perspective, being willing to look under the surface, and beyond the narrow confines of the strictly rational mind, to a consideration of as many dimensions as possible. An integrated approach, which includes your own perspective, the perspective of the other person, the community, the planet, and the universal, divine perspective – weave all that together, and you have a spiritual perspective, a perspective that recognizes the interconnectedness of all that is. This is a naturally heart expanding perspective, which is why we can say that G~d is love – when we see ourselves as part of everything, the natural response is one of love.

Leela Kumar, the Dalit human rights activist featured in Fierce Light, defines spirituality as community – recognizing that we are all part of a greater whole, a vast and interconnected system of interconnecting systems. There is a sense of awe that settles into your being when you consider this truth deeply. And out of this, emerges a sense of divine play – a joyous celebration of the miracle of creation.

I believe we are seeing a true Zeitgeist emerging, a new form of change making that begins in the human heart, and radiates outwards. I’ve seen it from New Zealand to Vietnam, from Africa to Washington, from Mexico to Sri Lanka to South Central Los Angeles. I saw it in the tremendous surge of grass roots support that brought Barack Obama into the Whitehouse, a “yes we can” spirit that captured that imagination of a nation tired of inauthenticity and spin. Tired of a politics of hate and division. The whole world celebrated Obama’s victory. The whole world is hungry for change.

Everywhere I travel, I have found people rising up with a series of shared values. Paul Hawkens, author of Blessed Unrest, calls it the largest undocumented mass movement in history – humanity’s immune response to a planet in crisis. He has set out to do the research, and has discovered that millions of individuals and organizations are answering the call to compassionate action, a call that is needed to transform planetary suicide into a time of rebirth and regeneration. It is what Alice Walker calls “The Human Sunrise,” the incredible power of human beings stepping into their authentic selves and stepping up to take responsibility for the change they want to see in the world.

What’s so wonderful about this movement is that it doesn’t have to require anything dramatic. Small changes are just as important. When billions of people make small changes, this results in enormous change. We don’t have to join anything to be part of this wave of transformation, we don’t have to sign up, pay dues, or get a funny name. We can if we so desire – there are many organizations that reflect these shared values – but if you’re not the joining type, if you’re someone like me, you still have an important part to play. This exciting transformation begins in our own hearts, when we dare to care. Each and every person has a role to play in this profound shift in consciousness, a shift from the small ‘me’ to the great ‘we.’ This is the evolution of activism, and the evolution of spirituality – a revolution of the heart.

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Self Help The World

 

World Social Forum pic by Velcrow RIpper

 

 

Another world is possible, this very moment, when we choose to live it.  It begins with your very next breath.   Awakening is not something that happens in the future, someday – it happens in this moment, moment to moment.  There is nothing standing in your way, in our way.  When we begin to live another world, today, we will soon discover that new world reflected all around us.   As more and more of us choose an uncompromising life, a life that is truly lived, a life beyond sleep walking, avoidance or the numbing anaesthesia of fear, the more attainable that world is for everyone else.   The field of possibility expands exponentially each time one of us chooses to step up to the plate and  shine.

The real “secret” is not that through  our focussed intention we can get ourselves a new car, a new tv, a new lawnmower, or a new blender. That’s old news, and not very interesting.  Fortunately, since we live in a time of financial uncertainty, there is no correlation between the amount of “stuff” we have and happiness. Studies have proven, this.   Often, in fact, the reverse is true – too much stuff or focus on stuff, causes stress and worry, unhappiness and fear.  What’s worse, a tiny percentage of humanity uses the vast majority of resources, suffering because of our greed.     This is also old news.  But it bears repeating – again, and again and again.   Because we forget, again and again and again.

The truth is, when part of humanity suffers, we all suffer.   If part of me is bleeding, then all of me is bleeding.  If my heart is stuttering, my body is faltering.  We are inextricably linked, part of one vast system of interconnecting systems.   Global events are local events. Climate change, stock market collapses, environmental illness, all strike us, our families, our friends – people we know.  People we are.  It’s not just happening to “them” anymore.  We can no longer avoid the consequences of our imbalanced lives.

 I’m not suggesting we all become ascetics.  I believe we should all have our needs, and our reasonable wants met.     Every person on this planet has a right to good food, clean water, a safe environment, health care and education, at a minimum.  Plus some cool stuff.   There’s enough to go around, if we change our priorities, especially those of us from the wealthier nations.

But first we need to get our priorities straight.  Let’s put that law of attraction to it’s proper use – generating more and more Love in this world.    The real secret is that when we become Love, the world showers that Love right back at us, and around us.   The real secret is that by transforming ourselves, we transform the world.  I call it “self help the world.”  It’s a tremendous win-win situation, a pathway to true, deep, and lasting happiness.

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