Personal Peace for Purposeful Social Action
Never before has there been such a sense of urgency to transform society and save our planet, and with good reason. Civilization is on a cliff’s edge, precariously balanced between a breakdown or breakthrough in our cultural evolution. Our social, financial and environmental systems are deteriorating, a global pandemic is wreaking havoc on our daily lives and cultural and social wounds that have been festering for hundreds of years are in urgent need of attention. The challenges can seem insurmountable most days, but I remain optimistic.
By default, I believe our natural mode of existence is one of peace. Our human essence is tuned toward one of cooperation and love, and when we engage in deep, personal practice we can return to this centered state of being.
Unfortunately, this essence of peace seems to be frustratingly elusive when viewed through the lens of our cultural values. If we’re to heal, evolve and unite as a global family it’s critical that we take purposeful, social action. Before we heed the call to transform the world, however, we must also engage in the important work of inner transformation to find and return to this place of peace.
The link between personal and social transformation cannot be ignored. In simple terms, if you don’t feel good, you can’t change the world, and if the society is ill, you can’t transform a community.
It’s imperative that we engage in practices that help us balance and center in a place of peace. What’s more, when we’re able to find and return to this core essence of ourselves, we’re also more likely to get in touch with our true purpose. Once we begin to know and feel our way into our sense of purpose, we in turn become more peaceful.
This positive spiral of personal evolution reinforces our personal development and allows us to move out in the world from a peaceful and purposeful place. This is the key to successfully shifting our society toward one of unity and cooperation.
Throughout history there have been cultural revolutions, yet we’re still struggling to give people their basic rights, freedoms and services required for human dignity upon which a transformed society can be built. Anger and frustration might fuel a movement, but it is love and compassion that will foster and sustain true transformation.
It can seem counterintuitive to ask one another to take action from a place of peace when there is plenty to be angry about in this current climate. It is imperative that we do the work to create a foundation of compassion within ourselves before we try to change the world. I whole-heartedly support peaceful protesting for just causes, but when social action turns to social unrest, a positive message can get lost in fear and uncertainty. An article written in the New York Times recently suggested that the violent demonstrations during the 1968 Democratic National Convention inadvertently helped Nixon win the election. Violent protests and destructive behavior make headlines, but can often hurt the longevity of a cause.
If peace is our natural default mode, then how did we get to a place of such division and fear within our culture? I think the simple answer is that human consciousness has been high-jacked by the materialistic paradigm. We’ve been brainwashed to such a degree that it’s become toxic.
Material wealth is the current metric in which we measure our value, and we’ve been duped into believing success and happiness are linked to our net worth. So much of our collective frustration, anxiety and fear is a result of this rampant materialism. We long for purpose and meaning, but these materialistic habits distract us from awakening to the spiritual essence of who we all are.
Stepping on a path of personal transformation is a sacred endeavor. By doing the important work toward creating inner harmony within ourselves, we can realize our true connection within a unified field of consciousness. It’s time for a spiritual revolution from the inside out. One that is ignited by peace and love and manifests in purposeful social action.
This is a beautifully written and thoughtful piece. thank you. It is an invitation to do our inner work, which is often hard. That is why so many avoid doing it.
All inner work is not peaceful, as we have conflicting parts in our inner community, parts within ourselves that are at odds and not in alignment. As within so without. This inner conflict shows up projected in the outer world as you so clearly indicate in your essay.
People generally tend to avoid discomfort. And this is why I think the materialistic trance has been so effective. It is not always comfortable to really work with “our stuff.” And we must. Or we will forced into an unfathomable discomfort.
I recently did a meditation where I was imploring Consciousness about the state of affairs. So much pain, divisiveness and disharmony. Hardly a humankind that sees itself as ONE. Consciousness said “Humanity becomes complacent with too much comfort. These times are a great motivator. Take the long view. Trust me. This transformation will come, maybe not in your lifetime.” And I asked how bad will it get? Consciousness replied “As bad as it needs to.”
So perhaps peace will only be brokered when the parts within us that are not peaceful, but rather afraid and scarcity-driven, can be revealed, acknowledged, and reassured. And they need to be motivated out of their indifferent comfort preoccupation and self-serving perceptions. As you say, this is the work.! And spiritual bypass will not impact our shadows. Only deep, rigorous, responsible and honest work which bring our shadows into the light in full view.
Thank you, Ruthie, for this poignent comment. Let’s hope that we can work together to conitnue helping people realize that we all need to do the inner work and keep the situation from getting much worse than it already is. The work you are doing is a wonderful contribution to the cause. I will have more to say about this topic in my forthcoming blog, but for now I appreciate your will and determination to do the deep, rigorous work required.
Blessings to you.
Though we are at a physical distance, my friend, I always feel we are walking a similar path side by side. I am grateful to be with you on this difficult journey, with aligned goals. 💖