The Principles of a New Activism are:
1. STILLNESS AS AN ACT OF POWER
The cultivation of a quiet mind is the most effective antidote to chaos.
A moment of stillness is a universal corrective, bringing all conditions of disharmony into immediate alignment with the peace of God. While manifestations of chaos may take time to flush out of the material realm, the introduction of stillness automatically interrupts the trajectory of chaos.
In meditation our only task is to "be still and know." As we simply sit in silence, knowing that God’s love embraces all living things, divine harmony becomes an operative principle in the world around us.
The deeper the stillness the deeper the level of sharing.
2. ENVISIONING AS AN ACT OF POWER
In the material realm, power is determined by material wealth; in the spiritual realm, power is determined by spiritual wealth.
In the 21st Century, wealth will be determined by consciousness and imagination. Whoever has the tools of consciousness will wield the greatest power on earth. In this sense, we will begin at last to experience the infinite abundance –equally attainable by all — which is our spiritual inheritance as human beings.
The New Activist does not ignore the powers of the material realm, but rather recognizes their value in helping to shape a better world. We seek to integrate the power of the world with the power of spirit, thus achieving a truly holistic sense of self. With the heart in charge, the intellect is not marginalized but uplifted to its highest potential.
Living in the modern world, it is a shift in thinking to withdraw our attachment to belief in the exclusive authority of external powers. From money, to business, to science, to medicine, to technology, to government, we are mesmerized by outer appearances, assigning to them all manner of authority that they do not inherently possess. We do so at the expense of our own remembrance that we, ourselves, wield greater power than does any external authority. We have been given the power to transform the world, through our capacity to change how we think about the world. There is no condition of outer substance that is not transformed by love.
Once a situation is taken to prayer, and seen meditatively as healed and whole, the spiritual activist can "consider it done." Our capacity to inwardly see a condition of peace invokes that condition through metaphysical power. When two or more are gathered in the perception of perfect possibility, and experience together the peace which such discernment bestows, the conditions of chaos simply and literally cannot remain.
For instance, if violence erupts in Jerusalem, the work of the New Activist is to inwardly see the potential for peace. Prayerful concentration on the possibility of peace, unhindered by attachment to material "facts," lifts the mind to its natural function as a worker of miracles. The purpose of the mind is that it be used, with God, to Co-create the conditions of peace on Earth. It is both our natural function, and our inherent power, to invoke the world that dwells beyond the veil of human illusion.
Beyond the veil, there are no enemies; there are only brothers and sisters. Beyond the veil, there is no conflict; there is only peace. Beyond the veil, there is no limit; there is only infinite possibility for good. To discern that reality for Israelis and Palestinians, at a time when their own perception is understandably clouded by the immediate conditions of worldly affairs, is both the greatest gift and the greatest power that can be wielded in that situation.
Many throughout the world would be thinking about the violence in Jerusalem; even those with the best of intentions, however, are limited in their capacity to make peace, if the crux of their attention is focused on war. So it is that the New Activist, while not looking away from Jerusalem, looks toward it with new eyes. We look to the region, as does the traditional activist, but not with a mind that seeks to "fix it." We look through the eyes of a higher mind, lifting the veil of illusion by simply seeing beyond it.
When a critical mass of prayer and meditation is extended in the direction of peace, then the conditions of war will automatically be cast away from Earth.
3. INTERPERSONAL HEALING AS AN ACT OF POWER
The source of war lies in each of us, as does the source of peace. As we rid our own hearts of the spark of violence, we are fostering peace in the world.
Ultimately, we come to realize that there is no world outside us. All external reality is mere reflection of consciousness, and thus, in order to change the world, we must change our minds. The world is in the circle, as it is in every one of us.
Gathering together as New Activists, we find among us the roots of war. Someone may judge someone else; someone may not like someone else’s personality; someone may hold resentments regarding a particular situation. As we heal ourselves of our own judgments and subtle thoughts of conflict, we automatically affect the minds of those who perpetrate greater violence in the world.
The Peace Circle is a sacred circle. It holds the pain, as well as the possibility for transformation, of the world in which we live. We do not seek outside ourselves, but rather within, for the source of all darkness as well as the source of all light. The issue of concern becomes not the love withheld by someone else in a situation outside the circle, but rather the ways in which we ourselves might be contributing to the suffering of mankind.
For instance, if a couple attending the Peace Circle are having problems in their relationship, then the Circle holding their bond in prayer is a political act: healing between any two people literally helps to heal the world. When any two experience conflict, the universal condition of conflict is fueled. When any two experience forgiveness, that condition is universally ameliorated. Thus do the pursuits of personal growth and political healing intersect in spiritual activism. In a wider sense, it is the political work of the Circle to address the personal fears of its members.
According to Mahatma Gandhi, we must "be the change we want to see happen in the world." This explains one of his tenets of non-violence, that "the end is inherent in the means." An angry generation cannot create peace in the world. That we be peaceful, must be our personal effort as well as our political goal.
At the same time, it is difficult to achieve peace with our fellow human beings when we are not at peace within ourselves. So it is that the healing of our own fractured sense of self becomes a prerequisite of sorts, for the healing of our relationship with others and the world.
4. DEPTH OF INSIGHT AS AN ACT OF POWER
The most powerful axis of activism today is vertical rather than horizontal. The depth of a conversation is more important than how many people are involved in it.
A wise society holds its common experiences wisely, and in so doing, creates subtle and invisible sources of healing. The more meaningful the conversation a society holds with itself, the more meaningful its collective actions become.
The traditional activist is often tempted to facilitate a more shallow group discussion, in order to attract as many people as possible to it. More attention is paid to the numbers of people supporting a position, than to the genuine justice of the position itself. On a certain level this is reasonable, as a main role of the traditional activist is to achieve electoral gain. The New Activist, however, makes the attainment of a deep and loving understanding our highest priority.
It is not assumed that the quest for such spiritual understanding automatically leads to the attainment of political power. But, immediate political gain is not necessarily the goal of the New Activist. Rather, we place our faith in the power of truth over time, recognizing that positions supporting a freer, more compassionate human experience are literally backed by cosmic impulse. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
To make depth of insight our highest priority, is not to lack political focus. It is to draw a distinction between short-term political pursuits and long-term evolutionary issues. The spiritual activist seeks as deep a discussion of an issue as possible, exploring the psychological, spiritual, historical, mythological and philosophical issues. Love is the greatest power, but not necessarily immediately. Some of the most important political achievements in history were, when first articulated, considered outrageous and impossibly idealistic by the status quo of the time. Examples abound, from the abolitionist, women’s suffrage, labor and civil rights movements in the United States, to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Early in these movements, the argument would of course have been made that "No one will buy this," "It’s just a few of us against all of them," "We don’t have the money and they do," etc. The power of an unalterable truth, however, gives spiritual fuel to such efforts, providing invisible sources of aid throughout the political struggles which follow.
Depth of moral authority, as evidenced in political quests for social justice, freedom, etc., forms a field of conscious desire and intention which, if harnessed effectively, ultimately leads to political power. What begins with the conviction of usually a few charismatic personalities, ultimately spreads like positive contagion through the hearts of resonant souls.
The New Activist relies on the strength of higher awareness to create breakthrough and possibility in the material world, by strengthening the conviction, courage and personal eloquence of the activist. It is not our numbers, but our depth of insight, which transform events around us. The spiritual impulse toward what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to as "the establishment of the beloved community," fuels every fundamental shift in the direction of higher good. Mental alignment with that impulse is the New Activist’s greatest power.
5. RADICAL GOOD WILL AS AN ACT OF POWER
Recognition and affirmation of the spiritual innocence in all human beings creates a field of possibility for the emergence of miracles.
In A Course in Miracles, it is written, "Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first." The presence of fear-based thinking within our own minds is the primary block to the effectiveness of the New Activist.
It is tempting to think that a huge multinational corporation, aided by assets of billions of dollars, has more power to achieve its will on Earth than do we who merely live here. Once we recognize, however, that money is not as powerful as prayer, or imagination, or most importantly, love, then we begin to harness
the powers of the heart on behalf of planetary healing. The New Activist does not project negativity toward the corporation, its executives, or its shareholders, but rather surrounds them all in a field of positive intention, surrendering them to the spirit of one-ness in us all. We ask that they be blessed; we ask that their hearts and minds be lifted to divine right order; we ask that every action of every living thing promote the health of planet Earth and its inhabitants.
Any negative thoughts about the "powers that be," limit our capacity to affect their behavior. A Peace Circle is the place to safely surrender such thoughts to God, moving beyond our temptation to personally demonize those with whom we disagree, we actually become more powerful. We recognize our capacity to hold people accountable for their actions, without deviating from our love. It is our radical good will toward all of humanity that naturally works miracles. Some call such thinking naïve. What is naïve, in fact, is the thought that any amount of traditional politicking can stop the juggernaut of planetary devastation that is wreaked by market forces when no longer restrained by the dictates of conscience.
The New Activist uses prayer, meditation and forgiveness as tools for the creation of a world made right. Whoever wields the power of a loving mind wields a power that is greater than any on Earth, restoring conscience to its primary place in human affairs.
6. CREATING SACRED SPACE AS AN ACT OF POWER
The simple configuration of people gathered in a circle, sharing prayer and meditation and heartfelt conversation, casts a web of healing power affecting not only the members of the circle but the world at large.
Humans carry an ancient memory of the power of ritual. The creation of sacred space is not merely symbol but rather the actual harnessing of energy for the purpose of spiritual healing. Within a sacred circle, we are lifted past the limitations of personality which normally hold us back; greater wisdom, greater clarity, greater insight emerge. As the veils of the personality are lifted, so are the walls which divide us. No longer experiencing a false sense of separation from each other, our oneness in God becomes an experiential reality.
Within the sacred field of oneness, we experience the ultimate equality of souls. The level of our personal sharing reflects a deeper, more heartfelt truth, when the competitive, fear-based grasping of the ego is transcended. The benefit to our collective experience is obvious. Spiritual force fosters deeper honesty, creating a web of social intimacy among members of a group. When the heart becomes the basis for both speaking and listening, the individual’s personal expression becomes a more meaningful contribution to an emerging collective truth.
7. SPIRITUALLY CENTERED ACTION AS ACT OF POWER
The New Activist wields power by standing for what could be, as opposed to fighting what is. Making a stand for a new possibility, we attain the power to create it.
When asked whether meditation alone could save the world, His Holiness the Dalai Lama responded, "If we are to save the world, we must have a plan. But no plan will work unless we meditate."
It is the integration of the powers of spirit and matter which conjoin to form the New Activism. Ultimately the yin of personal development meets the yang of social activism, as the New Activist turns his or her attention to traditional political, social, or community efforts, but with a new dimension of spiritual and personal power.
For instance, at a political gathering the New Activist remembers to avoid the temptation to demonize one’s opponent; at an activist’s gathering, the New Activist has acquired the serenity to become the most eloquent and inspiring spokesperson for the group’s effort; working on a project, the New Activist silently meditates with others for a blessed outcome. The New Activist sets a standard for a level of positive, powerful, spiritually-motivated activism, thus making a maximal impact within any community.
Using the tools above, the New Activist has greater capacity to be an instrument of change. In service to a higher good, allowing a higher dimension of awareness to affect our personalities, we are thus in a position to effect the greatest good. New wine demands new bottles, new ends demand new means, and new ideas demand new hearts.