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Is Consciousness-Raising Selfish?

In a time when various groups are taking to the streets to protest what they see as the ills of our society and politics, and hundreds of people have been living in the elements for months to halt what they view as a destructive pipeline project at Standing Rock, do you feel guilty for not marching, calling your Congressperson daily or standing in front of bulldozers for a good cause?

I have a heart for service – always have – but there was a period of time that I felt as if I wasn’t doing enough. I thought I had to foster a child, serve as a big sister, and/or volunteer at a soup kitchen on a regular basis in order to really be doing my part. It also occurred to me that I should put my writing skills to use by penning op eds, or letters to the editor or to my representatives in Congress, and there were times that I did all those things. There have also been periods of donating money - even when I had little - to causes and organizations I believed in, and all of these things can be helpful.

However, I also realized that many of the protests and projects were focused on the problems in our society, or on some vague notion of “raising awareness,” but not necessarily on solutions. Think pink everything during October. Do you really think there is anyone on the planet who isn’t “aware” of breast cancer? Does this pink-washing for one month a year really solve anything? Does it make life easier for women who have cancer? Scaring people with dire statistics might be good for fundraising, but what does it do to the psyches of those who are diagnosed? What will make a difference then, and how can we best utilize our limited time and treasure for the biggest possible impact?

There is a long tradition around the world of taking action, and individuals whose actions have inspired or actually helped countless others, or have publicized the abuses they were fighting to end have been important to forward progress – think Gandhi, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Cesar Chavez, Norma Ray, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks. Action is revered in our society; visibility even more so. Today when you can do something tangible with a photo for Facebook all the better.

What about a subtler form of activism? One that involves not going outward, but going inward. Subtle activism has been gaining ground for several decades now, though you may not have heard of it. It involves the use of consciousness-based practices for collective transformation. What does that mean, you ask? Well, often it is as simple as meditation. You might wonder how one person raising their own consciousness impacts society. There are some pretty powerful examples in Jesus and Buddha who both inspired world-wide followings for centuries through attaining their own enlightenment. When I am more peaceful and centered, there is no doubt that impacts many others around me from the grocery store clerk to my friends, family and co-workers.

Will my meditating and sending of good energy out into the world (even sometimes directed toward other individuals or groups) really be felt? In a personal sense, it’s impossible to say for sure, but extensive research says yes, on many levels. It has almost become commonly accepted that meditation and prayer can impact individual health and well-being. Here is a summary of 100 scientific studies that say so. But there has also been research since the 70s on the impact of groups of transcendental meditators on things like crime, natural disasters, war and terrorism. A famous one called the Lebanon Peace Project demonstrated a staggering 76-percent decrease in war deaths. As the number of meditators rose, the number of deaths decreased as did fires and auto accidents in the region.

Today’s technology allows for easy dissemination of global meditation events, and there are more and more of them all the time. If you want to participate in a form of activism that works on the subtle, energetic level, and provides a personal benefit at the same time, join some of these projects. This is just one site of many that offers regular events, and James aka “The Peace Troubadour” has traveled to conflict areas to sing and be on site for some of the global meditations.

Guilt is a destructive emotion. Instead of feeling like you should be doing more, how about BEing more instead? More in touch, in tune, in sync, inwardly focused. You can go a step farther in joining with others for an outward goal of making the world a safer, more connected, more peaceful place. Focusing on your own personal and spiritual development is not selfish. In fact, these research studies show just how powerful your individual and collective action can be when you simply . . . Sit. Be still. Turn inward. Connect with the unified field that is in all of humanity. When you raise your own vibration, the collective vibration increases too. Together we can raise the vibration of the entire planet in the process. How does it get better than that?

When we don’t feel like enough, our energetic vibration is low. Realizing your own enoughness is a powerful first step to making the difference you want to make in the world. Join me for a 5-week course on Being Enough.

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