This is the first post in the area of “Recovery, Liberation & Social Transformation.” Inspired by the Off the Mat, Into the World training in October 2016, many streams have begun to flow together informing purpose, intention and action. Yoga, as unity, invites us to consider the collaborations, common ground, and inseparability of our life, purpose, and actions.

As a first post, this contemplation:

Joanna Macy’s The Great Turning paradigm speaks to three levels of activism, roughly,

  1. Actions to slow the damage to Earth and its beings = Holding Actions Рvigils, protests, non-violent sit-ins. No justice, no peace; No sustainability, no life.
  2. Analysis of structural causes and the creation of structural alternatives = Systemic change – working in groups, governments, and other organizations to shift the systems that oppress, esp. Education
  3. Shift in Consciousness = spiritual awakening to the value systems that will sustain us = Wisdom Traditions. These values are explored in The Shambhala Principle and other writings by spiritual leaders.

Spiritual awakening, to be authentic, must deal with the realities present in the world and how our values intersect with those situations. Through meditation, we find stillness. From stillness, comes insight into these levels of engagement. Knowing our own balance – capabilities, energy, personality, life circumstance – we can choose which of these levels to engage on. Is it just one? Is it all three at once (better check that energy situation!)? Does it depend on the issue as to which action would be most effective?

As a meditation teacher and practitioner, what seems clear to me is that the third level – finding balance, stillness, and insight through meditation and other practices – supports the other two. We must deal with our own emotional tone, trauma, bias, and assumptions before we can be effective actors to stop harm and/or change systems. What do you think?