SPIRITUALITY AND ACTIVISM
These are traumatic times for people whose humanity is still intact.
It seems corruption, violence and greed have seized the highest halls of power in our nation. Conservative media pulses with hateful calls to protect white, male, Christian, heterosexual, nationalistic privilege. Liberal voices too often sulk from the outside and speak of “resistance” without seeming to be able to offer a positive alternative.
Another way to interpret theses times is that old dominions of power have become visible to an awakening people but we have yet to chart a new course that will set us ALL free.
Xenophobia, Sexism and violence have been foundational elements of western culture for eons. It is not a bad thing that we are realizing these truths, but like a formerly drunken man wakening from his stupor, the first thing we may feel is the pain from the devastation we have caused as a result of our former numbness. Hope comes later.
This June, I will be doing a workshop at Zephyr Cove Retreat Center at Lake Tahoe on spirituality and activism. In fact, I am using every opportunity to share conversations about ways we can nurture peaceful happy inner lives while we engage fully in the struggle for a better world. I have been fortunate to work with lifelong activists who found ways to strike a balance of inner peace and outer activism.
When I use the word “spirituality” I don’t necessarily mean “religion” or even “theism.” I am trying to find a vocabulary for the that deep, intimate, undefinable depth in us all.
I am including the blurb for the Zephyr workshop not because I think you can get to Nevada, but as a way of encouraging conversation about how you and I can tread this difficult path ourselves.
“In this toxic political environment how can we balance inner peace and outer activism? We will look for direction from some of the great lifelong activists from history: We will learn from Dr. King how to stay focused on what we want and not become fixated on what we hate. We will learn from Thich Nhat Hahn how to look at our spiritual practice as breathing in, and see our activism as natural as breathing out. We will learn from Dorothy Day how to throw our pebble in the pond and trust the ripples to spread. We will learn from Mr. Rogers to remember the strength that comes from looking for the helpers. And finally, we will learn from Emma Goldman the importance of having joy even as we struggle for a better world.”