Tag Archives: injustice

Doing the Inner Work for the Outer Work in a Suffering World

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For the last 3 weeks, I participated in an intensive program at Teachers College (Columbia University) for my Masters in Psychology and Spirituality. During 9-hour days, we immersed ourselves in an academic understanding of the inherent spirituality in children, and how spirituality relates to personal healing, education, substance abuse and depression, and communication. The experiential learning included heart based connection, artistic expression, individual and planetary energy healing, Jungian symbol exploration and, of course, lots of meditation and intention setting.

I will be honest – at times I found the experiential exercises excruciatingly annoying. I have been meditating for 35 years, have attended conferences since my teens, and teach about intention and balance at conferences around the world! For me, returning to school at 45 was clear – my intent was to develop a lexicon of theories in spiritual psychology for my public speaking, and potentially future books and projects.

This endeavor was for my mind and my intellect, not my soul.

As we sat, day after day meditating, I found myself getting more irritable. Because, the world continued to happen…

Brexit, stirring fear and uncertainty

Terrorist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, Saudi Arabia

The refugee crisis

My friend mourning her husband’s death to cancer

Philando Castile and Alton Sterling

Police shootings in Dallas

Accepting that we had to let go of Cleo, my brother’s dog Continue reading

Trust This World

A line from one of Swami Vivekananda’s speeches has always disturbed me. In it, he says, that there is an equal balance of good and bad in this world at any given time. So it makes absolutely no difference what good you do, because it will be balanced by someone doing something bad in some other corner of the world. But that this is the principle of harmony and order the world follows.

I read the words to this effect over a decade ago, but it’s this year – 2011 – that I begin to understand them.

When we begin a spiritual journey, we begin with a certain amount of spiritual motivation – to change the world, to be an example, and to be what we want to see in the world. This is a necessary part of the journey, and not all of it is misplaced enthusiasm. A lot of good is done in this world by people who are driven by a self-belief that it is their mission to make a difference. Yet, in it, is the implication, that somehow we know better. 

And yet, we forget, that the world – in the infinite wisdom of the Creator – is a complex system of checks and balances. That justice exists in nature. That just as an earthquake of a certain intensity must and inevitably will create a corresponding displacement of water in a tsunami on the other side somewhere. You’d think we would have figured out by now, with all our technology, that that same principle of justice works across the board – in our families, in our actions, in our morals. 

Why then, do we feel cheated, robbed and short-changed? Why do we feel ‘others prosper when I work so hard’ or ‘no matter what I do it doesn’t seem to be enough’. 

1. Because our time frames are not lifespans but soulspans. In the duration of the existence and unfolding of  your soul, justice is done. That may be one lifetime, that may be more…. but what do people who don’t believe in karma or rebirth do then? 

2. Justice perceived is not necessarily justice. our concepts of justice are so subjective that we go by feeling, instinct and what is apparent. Justice that is deeper, with roots in the Truth is doled out at a much higher level. In my experience when Justice is done, even it is many years later, it always gives you the awareness of what you are getting it back for. You know. Even if you never let on – you always know if you are being punished or blessed and why.

What makes us think we are here to change the world? If you look at the cleansing the world has gone through in 2010 alone – and its an impact most of us have felt in our personal lives as well with some relationships ending, beginning anew, faded torn friendships fading away and other ties to associations becoming stronger – is that not evidence enough that the Truth, no matter how many years it is buried for, eventually comes to light? Whether it’s Wikileaks, the Radia Tapes in India, Bofors, or the multiple scams that beset countries and organisations, when has Wrong ever gotten away with it? Wrong that has been done eventually gets undone.

Even if Justice does not seem to have been served by a judge or a jury or by public opinion, in any of these cases, they do not seem to form the system that counts in the long run. The system in place is an eventual restoration of harmony in the world. Some cultures call it Yin and Yang, but if you send a ripple out in the world you will, in all probability meet with an equal and opposite reaction. It’s as simple as a law of Physics. This is the principle of cosmic harmony. This is why all of us, even inadvertently, harm someone, and are harmed in some small way in return.

Self-flagellation and goals like ‘the eradication of all poverty, hunger, anger, ill-will’ (to me) now seem idealistic and impractical. Im working towards not looking at someone’s anger (for example) as the ultimate expression of evil in that person, but as, well, anger. When you see it for what it is, it diminishes in value. Their anger  could be a leaf, a flower or a stone in this world for all that matter: it is a thing of this world. That’s it. It is so much easier then to take it for granted, ignore it, or move it out of your way. The trouble begins when we worry over it, view it from various angles and try to ‘change’ it.

Every religious text tells you apparent evil has its place – to act as a counter to good. How would Jesus have been resurrected without someone to nail Him to the cross? Who would know of Ram, if He hadn’t a Ravan to destroy? Sometimes, and I am not recommending Evil as a career option, the evil we encounter in the world has its place and has a right to be there as much as we, with our good intentions, do. It is Act 3 in a 5-act play.

And I’m not saying don’t try. Try. Apologise, do good, give. But don’t beat yourself up if what you do doesn’t give you the result you want or are looking for. Justice and Good is as inevitable as Injustice and Failure. Go back to page 1 of the play where they list the characters of the play: you may not be the lead, you may be supporting cast, you may even be villain. Its okay. Play your role. Let it go.   

To me, 2011 is not about changing the world. Its about finally understanding what Swami Vivekananda said two centuries ago: The world was here first. Whatever I presume I can teach it, it knows. Best, I find a way to know what it has to teach me. I will not be the change I hope to see in the world. I will just be. And hope the world sees the change in me.

The Power of One

Years ago I walked by as a man was yelling irately at a woman in a parking lot who had backed out of her spot and “touched” the bumper of his car. I knew it was wrong, I knew I should have said something, and I didn’t. I can’t explain why – I’ve always spoken up when there has been bullying, at the work place or the grocery store or wherever the event was. But this time for some reason the yelling triggered another memory in me and I was afraid. I was afraid the man would turn on me, perhaps even getting physically violent.

While I did go in to the store and tell the staff at the desk that someone should send a manager out to the parking lot, it haunted me for years I didn’t speak up when I saw what was happening. And when I got home that day I vowed that I would never hesitate to speak up sooner, and step up as I would hope someone would do for me had it been me needing a stranger.

What can one person do? Well since then I’ve learned how powerful one voice can be. One person, can change the world. One person, one at a time, can create their own patch of light in the world making positive, intentional change, and that patch eventually reaches another patch and another and another …until you’re breathless and in awe of how many like minded people are around making the world a better place. And then you feel your soul filled with joy that people care about something greater than themselves. I’m not talking about a god or religion or source – although that is surely part of it. But people care about service to others, and service to the planet, and loving. People care about cooperation, not solely competition.
 
And once we reach that critical mass of like-minded people, I have no doubt we’ll see a quantum shift in our evolution.
 
When Bruce Lipton in his book Biology of Belief said it is not the survival of the fittest that will see our species survive, it is survival of the most loving … I see how true that is. And that my friends is the Power of One. One person, one life, one community, one planet.
 
With much gratitude for being part of this community, my intent is to let my voice be heard wherever injustice speaks.
Alison
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