Tag Archives: social action

Socially Responsible Action



I have a question about how to balance worldliness and holiness in life. As a citizen, I believe we all have some responsibilities to follow and catch up with what is going on through the media. On some occasions, I think it is appropriate to participate in social action as many spiritual leaders have done. Yet, from another perspective, it is all done beautifully, according to universal law, without me participating, even the hellish experiences for growth. What should we do? How we make decisions?  I think not making a decision is also a form of decision.


Don’t think of your actions in terms of what is holy or what is worldly. If you are drawn to some social activity then follow your feelings. Don’t think that social action is a capitulation of your spiritual priorities. The awareness that everything is perfect as it is doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t participate in social activity. If you feel drawn to get involved, then you are part of the perfect unfolding you are talking about. If it is not something that stirs you into action, then that is also part of the perfect unfolding. Living a spiritual life means you are free to feel and act as you are guided, and it’s all good.

Life is not static, it is constantly changing, and that is also perfect. We are participating in that continuous transformation whether we are aware of it or not. For some enlightened sages they participate in that current of evolution from the depth of their consciousness and so they appear to be withdrawn from the affairs of the world. Others spiritual leaders find it natural to participate in this perfect flow of nature both from their deepest awareness as well as on the socially active level of life. It is a matter of dharma–whatever comes naturally. But the motivation behind social action in that case is not from a position of lack or need, it just comes from their inner nature. That is why we should follow our feelings and participate in what feels right for you, and not worry about whether it is spiritual or worldly. Following your dharma is always your highest spiritual path.





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Elevate! Awaken! Take Action!


I was honored to be invited to attend TEDxBerkeley this past Saturday on a press pass for live tweeting the event. I won’t take you through a play-by-play of the fantastic day—for that, you can read my @meimeifox tweets or view the videos when they appear on the TEDxBerkeley website. I just want to share key takeaways from a few of the 13 inspirational speakers, all of whom are deeply engaged with making positive change in the world.

Nearly everyone spoke of elevating our consciousness, increasing our awareness, and taking concrete action to make a difference. Yet they approached these topics from many different angles, depending on their areas of expertise.

Marti Spiegelman, who holds a BA from Harvard, an MFA from Yale, and has studied for years with indigenous shamans around the world, took a sometimes hard-to-follow deep dive into the subject of consciousness. She argued that while, as humans, the core of our being is perception, the magic is awareness. Evolving our consciousness means feeling rather than thinking, allowing our intuition to flow. “When we practice consciousness, we become people who are in love with everything and everyone!” Spiegelman passionately intoned towards the end of her talk. “Here, here!” I tweeted from the third row.

UC Berkeley urban design professor Walter Hood brings consciousness to cities by adding greenery. Not parks or community gardens, but woods, wild and untamed, like what he’s helped to create on The Hill in Pittsburgh. With great gusto, Hood spoke of the benefits of having places for urban kids to get dirty, imagine they’re lions, and hide from mom and dad. So here was a literal, practical solution for elevating our awareness: Bring nature back into our daily lives.

In the corporate arena, Chip Conley, the CEO of boutique hotel chain Joie de Vivre and author of Peak: How Great Companies Get their Mojo from Maslow, spoke of the importance of creating meaning in our lives—even, no especially, at work. With remarkable vulnerability, Conley admitted to becoming depressed and near suicidal post-breakup during the economic downturn two years ago. He recommended these three strategies for fixing the business world:

1)    Teach business leaders how to get in touch with their emotions.

2)    Evaluate employee performance based not only on results but also relationship building, as they do at Joie de Vivre.

3)    Teach MBAs not to be superhuman, but to be super humans.

Google product manager, yogi and meditator Gopi Kallayil offered practical steps for elevating our consciousness on a daily basis. He recommended:

1)    Focus on the essential: Narrow down your list of what you think must get done.

2)    Do one thing at a time. Multitasking doesn’t work (studies prove this).

3)    Practice One Minute of Mindfulness every day. That way it becomes an unbreakable habit rater than an unfulfilled commitment. 

4)    Decide what’s non-negotiable and stick to it.

5)    Friend yourself: Listen to the tweet of your own heartbeat!

 In an extremely engaging talk, Shore Slocum, founder of the conscious social network SoulNeeds.com, urged us all to “wake up!” We can do this, he explained, by moving through the Four Levels of Consciousness:

Level 1) I feel like life is happening TO ME: It’s the weather’s fault, my parent’s fault, the economy’s fault. This is the victim mentality.

-> To exit this stage and evolve to the next, we must give up blame and take responsibility for our lives.

Level 2) I feel that things happen BY ME: I understand that I can take charge of my life and get different results. It’s a matter of effort and willpower. The danger with this level is that we become burnt out from constantly striving to achieve.

-> To exit this stage and evolve to the next, we must give up control (especially challenging for us over-achievers!)

Level 3) I believe that things happen THROUGH ME: Life becomes effortless because I am plugged into the Universe. Success begins to flow.

 -> To exit this stage and evolve to the next, we must give up our sense of self.

Level 4) Life happens AS ME: There is no separation between you and me and all the world. We are one.

Jason Atwood, the young founder of a solar-powered computer learning center in Africa called Ethiopia ConnectedED, started the day nervously, stumbling through his talk. And yet I choose to end my post with his rallying cry as he exited the stage:

“Privilege + opportunity = Responsibility.”

I couldn’t agree more. We, who are educated, who are well off enough to take our laptops and high-speed internet access for granted, who don’t worry about our Twitter feeds getting censored and text messages being turned off by our government… It is up to us to heal the world. Going to TEDxBerkeley served as a terrific source of inspiration, ideas, and advice. But now each of us must take up the mantle and go make things happen. We must “be the change,” as Gandhi said.

NOTE: TEDx events, which are independently organized but officially sanctioned “baby TED” conferences, take place around the world all the time. Best of all, unlike TED (which costs thousands of dollars), admission is restricted to $100 max. Click here to find a TEDx event near you!

Commentary on Reverend Jones

At the root of all the harm we cause is ignorance.~ Pema Chödrön
 In times of great change, there is an equally proportionate amount of resistance to it. We now live in a social/political climate where the irrelevant garners the most attention and ideological extremism and distorted half truths are rampant. There are those that will viciously discredit anything that suggests that our humanity is shared because they are in fear. These ploys are meant to confuse so that we disengage ourselves or are not empowered to address the relevant and the necessary issues of our time. We must not be thrown off course and must stay “awake to the necessary process of our evolution.” This is Truth and it requires a huge paradigm shift for many.
The story of Rev. Jones in Florida captured my interest and subsequent disgust. His story is an extreme example of the resistance to our recognizing our shared humanity. Arguably, there are & have been other noteworthy events that can/could equally serve as an example but this one is apropos, as it is scheduled  to occur on the anniversary of the September 11th suicide attacks.  Rev. Terry Jones and his followers in Florida are planning a public burning of copies of the Qur’an – the Muslim Holy Scriptures on Sep 11th. This act is cloaked in the name of patriotism and religious right, but in reality it is a hate crime. This public display of religious loathing and intolerance is a defamation of the principles by which this country is founded. Freedom and religious tolerance are not just nice words. Rather they are directly linked to our karma and are fundamental to our soul’s evolution. People all over the globe have rightfully spoken out and condemned the actions of Rev. Jones. For some, the primary motivation is concern about global political ramifications. For many others, no matter their culture, creed, or status – his actions are viewed as morally repugnant and a step backwards in the evolutionary cycle of healing our humanity.
The Truth is that there is a spiritual dimension to Life that we have unsuccessfully tried to compartmentalize or relegate to special days of the week or times. Spirit is Life Force energy! It permeates everything and every aspect of our living. There is no separation. Separation is a denial of the spirit that resides within all.  Our collective healing requires that we recover the Wisdom that we have replaced with false power and intellect. 
Actions such as those by Rev. Jones remind us that our religions and our politics always need defending. Both have been and still are used as excuses for violence. Truth is self-evident. Inherently, humanity knows this even though our actions sometime disclaim it. Our own Declaration of Independence embraces this wisdom. Truth requires that we see the consequences of our collective violence against our psyches and each other. Our futures demands that we sacrifice our ego and grow beyond programmed responses of violence.
Prayers and sacrifice must be used as the most effective spiritual weapons in the war against war, and like all weapons they must be used with deliberate aim: not just with a vague aspiration for peace and security, but against violence and against war. This implies that we are also willing to sacrifice and restrain our own instinct for violence and aggressiveness in our relations with other people. We may never succeed in this campaign, but whether we succeed or not, the duty is evident. It is the great task of our time. Everything else is secondary, for the survival of the human race itself depends upon it. We must at least face this responsibility and do something about it. And the first job of all is to understand the psychological forces at work in ourselves and in society. ~ Thomas Merton
Truth is self-evident. A better world cannot be built on the foundations of fear, hate, violence, and greed. It must have new foundations constructed from our collective Wisdom and Spiritual Intelligence.


God made Truth with many doors to welcome every believer who knocks on them.
 ~ Kahlil Gibran

Diana Harris’ website: http://www.sacredspiraldance.com/

Social Action Driving Businesses to Adopt Sustainable Practices

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_gNQRb61OvwE/S7SFJy-64VI/AAAAAAAABbM/n8497iw6WQM/s1600/greenpeace-scorecard.jpgSome businesses have seen the wisdom of going green ahead of public pressure, others are being cajoled out of their complacency by an increasingly concerned public. The following account is a cautionary tale for businesses that ignore responsible practices.

Trader Joe’s was subject to an online campaign including Greenpeace’s mock website. Pressure also took the form of phone calls, in-store demonstrations and questions to store managers from activists and shoppers across the country.

To continue reading go to THE GREEN MARKET.

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