Occupy the Heart!
No doubt it is news to no one that planet Earth is in a period of escalating interlocking crises. We need a response that addresses all the hidden as well as the obvious dimensions of these crises — before they spin out of control into irretrievable chaos. (For the moment, let us leave aside the geophysical crises, including climate change, increasing seismic activity, and the ozone holes, as well as pollution, radiation poisoning, mass extinctions of species, increasing solar flare activity, and the like. They cannot be dealt with effectively so long as the current political system endures.) The system is in process of collapsing of its own weight, its own internal contradictions. At the same time, spontaneous social movements are arising on a global scale that are confronting the system and increasing the level of stress to the breaking point. Our concern is to assure the optimal outcome of this titanic face-off.
The crisis we face at the sociopolitical level is one of legitimacy of authority. The OWS movement (Occupy Wall Street) and the Indignado movement in Spain and other anti-austerity movements all over Europe, following on the so-called Arab Spring, not to mention student movements and general protest movements in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are simultaneously rising to a crescendo.
Given the logic of the collective ego in its current form of postmodern fragmentation, and the exhaustion of the value system of the dying civilization in which this is all taking place, there is a high probability of these movements degenerating into violence at a level of intensity that could tear apart the social fabric irreparably. It is possible to avoid the worst-case scenarios of intensifying cycles of uncontainable street protests, police over-reactions, counter-reactions of mob destructiveness, eventual martial law, disappearances of activists, concentration camps, uncontrollable private acts of vengeance, looting, and complete social breakdown. But to avoid such a fate, which for governments is the automatic reflex, will require on the part of civic leaders a very refined level of mass diplomacy.
We must all be prepared for what is to come. To contribute to the possibility of healing the widening rifts in our societies, it is important for a critical mass of individuals to occupy not the government and financial centers, but to occupy the Heart. If enough of us will hold the center of love, the inner center of true compassionate consciousness of our unity as manifestations of the One Source, we can pass through these times of tribulation with sacred integrity and offer a healing balm rather than merely watching (or participating in) the explosion of other sorts of bombs.
We must take seriously the need to train diligently to succeed in our occupation of the Heart. If we intend to take part in civil disobedience and remain non-violent — in fact, if we wish to remain non-violent even in a cloistered convent, we must practice being mindful and empathic in all circumstances that arise. We must stabilize our attention in one-pointed sacred silence and stillness. Non-violence requires the sacrifice of the ego. Because the ego is a machine to sacrifice others, to scapegoat others who are rivals for power, and to dominate or die. The ego is the real enemy, not the other, not even the ego of the other. Victory over the ego can only be achieved through the realization that the ego is an illusion, a satanic force that brings about only misery. Even the dominant ego is miserable behind its façade of prestige.