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Spiritual Activism

The Power of Meditation

During the 1970's one of my teachers noted the problem with the anti-war movement was that war against war was still war. I think of this as I read declarations by protest leaders today that we must oppose the war in Iraq by bringing our own society to a halt. Perhaps we must rather bring ourselves to a halt, to look inside to where the war lies within us, to begin to bring the 'pieces' into 'peace'.

In my first Response Message following September 11 I wrote: "A war is being fought between two groups which may be characterized as 'Exploiters' and 'Exploders' - persons whose soul alignment is too cold or too hot. The exploiters are those who lead privileged lives, and are indifferent to suffering in a world where one fifth of the human population live in relative comfort, while the rest struggle for survival, irreplaceable resources are drained, forests disappear and species go out of existence. The exploders are those so caught in rage and hatred that they have lost any sense of discrimination between the guilty and the innocent, and are willing to sacrifice everyone. Although this war presents itself around racial or class issues, the deeper underlying issue is the spiritual imbalance between the Feminine and Masculine principles, which constricts access to feminine perspective, compassion, nourishment and power, creating the appearance of scarcity in which groups of males compete for dominance, and male dominant religions compete for spiritual authority."

  1. Our immediate concern must be for those 'in the line of fire'. Peace is lost when communities and families are torn in pieces. The souls of those ripped suddenly from loved ones - soldiers, civilians and familiies of the dead - need our prayers to let them know they are still connected - to their loved ones and to the source of all life. Those of us who have become conversant with the practice of 'going to the Center' can act by calling through us the traumatized souls and bringing them into reconnection. In understanding that life is never lost, but only transformed, we can hold that belief inside ourself and invite into it the ones who fear and grieve, to whom change has come too suddenly. Similarly, those who are displaced from their homes, their land, their sources of income and their family members need to be drawn in and loved and held until they can hear the voices inside which direct them to where normal life can safely be resumed. If we truly believe that we must create a world 'without boundaries', we can call into ourselves the people of a distant land, and feel our oneness with them, an act which is not only compassionate, but is the expression of a spiritual will capable of effecting change.

  2. We must recognize that this 'war' is not something new, but was already occurring; it has simply come into focus and drawn our attention to it. The pain was already there. It is only revealing itself. The displaced populations, the death, the wounded pride, the ethnic and religious hatreds were already there. Either we will call them in and begin the healing. Or they will call us in and tear us apart along the fault lines of our own complasence, arrogance or greed.

  3. We must insist, in our statements and actions within and without, that the stated ideals and goals - of regime change into democracy, elimination of weapons of mass destruction, creating a comprehensive mideast peace - be remembered and carried through as the only possible justification for these events. We must hold our own leaders, and ourselves, accountable. And envision the return of international authority to replace Pax Americana. In that regard, we must examine our own lives for areas of excess or indulgence. New international economic arrangements will be required to rebalance the inequities which allow Americans to live our affluent lives based on a trade deficit which requires others to subsidize our SUV's.

For those of you who may not have a sense of how to engage the power of your 'spiritual activism', I suggest the following simple steps. Sit quietly and pay attention to your own breathing until you begin to feel a sense of quiet within. Draw your consciousness inside yourself and ask what aspects of yourself are not at peace, not integrated into the whole. Then remember that in the world are others whose pain is perhaps now greater than your own, and invite them into your heart and your center. From there ask that you and your guests be drawn to the center of spiritual life however you experience it: as Source, Great Mystery, God, The Mother. And there ask that all of you be comforted, be reconnected with all those you love, be empowered to face the tasks of day-to-day life, and to create the answers to the questions which have troubled you. Specifically ask that each of you be given what you need for your life, no more, no less. After taking all the time you need at the Center, ask that all who have assembled with you return to their lives in the outer world, without losing the connection that binds you to peace. And reenter the world.

Practice the meditation with friends and lovers. Call small circles together to reinforce the love and the power.

Put a candle in your window. But more importantly, put a candle in your heart.

In one of the background stories in the papers a few years back, a reporter asked a resident of Baghdad what he thought life wold be like after Saddam. The man was puzzled, even dumbfounded: "I don't know whatyou mean," he said. "I cannot imagine life without Saddam. He has always been here."

So worlds are lost by a failure of imagination. Or gained by its exercise. That is Spiritual Activism. To imagine what can be, until we have drawn it out of our dreams and into being.

Copyright 2007 - 2017 by John Sacelli. All Rights Reserved.