The 12 Keys of Spiritual Activism
The embrace of the path of Spiritual Activism enables individuals or groups to develop the noble qualities of compassion, wisdom and gratitude. It is in itself a Path of Transformation – a Spiritual Blueprint for living. We can shift our perspectives of reality through seeking service beyond self by practicing the Gifts of Service. The core dynamics behind the Spiritual Keys of Activism are creativity, adaptability, understanding and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
“Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.
Let us begin.”
~ Mother Theresa
“Where ever you are, be there totally.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
1. All Action MUST be based on Compassion
When championing a Cause, the mindset must be altruistic and the motivating emotion must be positive. Spiritual Activism is action for the benefit of something, not against something.
“When you have a pro-peace rally, I will be there.”
~ Mother Theresa’s response to a question about why she did not attend an anti-war rally.
2. Compassion flows from the understanding of the Connection between all living beings
We are all connected through our shared Humanity. When you learn to see that our differences are superficial and our similarities manifest, sympathy (or worse, pity) gives way to compassion. Our actions shift from one of “us helping them” to one of “for the good of All”. We become One.
“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.”
~ Thomas Merton
3. Compassion must be applied with Wisdom
There are more Causes that exist than an individual or group can possibly be involved with. It is important to choose your causes carefully. Learn to Act instead of React.
“That is true wisdom, to know how to alter one’s mind when occasion demands it.”
4. Apply synergy and teamwork to accomplish goals
Synergy is the process where two or more actions combine to produce an effect greater than the sum of its individual parts. Like ripples in a pond, spiritual actions combine and build on each other to magnify an effect beyond what each could do individually. Whenever possible, team up with others to acquire a multifaceted and more holistic approach.
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
5. Spiritual Activism is the pursuit of service for the good of all, not for the advancement or benefit of individuals or selected communities
“Common folk, not statesmen, nor generals nor great men of affairs, but just simple plain men and women, can do something to build a better, peaceful world. The future hope of peace lies with such personal service.”
~ Henry Cadbury
“Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world — that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me — is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
6. Pursue Integrity, Honesty and Dignity in the conduct of your Actions
Embrace Mindfulness in the application of your activities and be aware of how your actions may be perceived by others. Machiavelli’s “The ends justify the means” has no place in Spiritual Activism. If our methods are not noble, our results will not be either. Practice Spiritual Transparency, allowing negative energies to bypass your system without harming it.
“Integrity is doing the right thing even if no one is watching.”
7. Do not defame your detractors or those who doubt you
A confrontational approach leads to a defensive reaction. Approach others with Openness and Compassion in your heart. Build on the commonalities between you instead of focusing on the differences. As much as possible, detach yourself from the results of your actions. Aspire to always be a Peacemaker.
“Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
8. Raising another up raises you up as well
Helping another becomes a form of self-love as well as an expression of outward love. This becomes an upwardly spiraling cycle of increasing awareness, connection, compassion, involvement, capacity, and back to increasing awareness.
“Oh, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”
~Saint Francis Prayer
“Compassionate action involves working with ourselves as much as working with others.”
~ Pema Chodron
9. Learn to listen to your heart and not your mind
You mind may only see the problem. Your heart will always feel the solution. Learn to act with Faith and cultivate a loving perception when facing collective problems.
“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
10. Search out viable and sustainable solutions
Seek out solutions that maintain or restores the dignity of individual human and their communities. The goal of Spiritual Activism is to raise another up, not make them dependant.
“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”
“We have not inherited the world from our forefathers. We have borrowed it from our children.”
~ Kashmiri proverb
11. Do not judge yourself simply by the results of your actions
Maintain a sense of detachment as to overall results. Embrace mindfulness as you intentionally diminish a judging attitude while keeping watchfulness on the gates of your heart. The ultimate goal of Spiritual Activism is to unconditionally raise the understanding and support of Humanity, with no exceptions. This achievement is larger than any individual. While individual projects can be completed, the sum is so much greater than its parts. Learn to see yourself not on where you have reached, but on the Path you are traveling. There is real fulfillment in just being called to serve humanitarian and spiritual causes.
“Every man stamps his value on himself. Man is made great or small by his own will.”
~ JCF von Schiller
“ The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
12. Let Metta be the motivation for your Actions
If you cultivate Metta (the practice of loving-kindness) in your heart, you will succeed. The Intention that is the motivating force behind your actions is paramount. Start from a position of pure and altruistic Love.
“A positive future cannot emerge from the mind of anger of despair”
~ HH, the Dalai Lama
“Kindness in giving creates Love.”
~ Lao Tzu