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Good morning!  It is snowing here in the North Carolina mountains, the sun is trying to add a little brightness through a break in the clouds, the coffee is good, and the view from my window is peaceful.

This is an open thread for members of the DKos Sangha and others who are interested in discussions concerning how we integrate our progressive political activism into our spiritual practice.

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Earlier this week, a friend sent me a book entitled Mindful Politics, a Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place.  It is a collection of pieces written by the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Joseph Goldstein, and others.  I suspect it will be a source of much that we may find of value here.

So this morning I thought I would share with you the first paragraph from the Dalai Lama's chapter, A New Approach to Global Problems.

Of the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities, which must be accepted and faced with equanimity.  Others, however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding, and can be corrected.  One such type arises from the conflict of ideologies, political or religious, when people fight each other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a single human family.  We must remember that the different religions, ideologies, and political systems of the world are meant for human beings to achieve happiness.  We must not lose sight of this fundamental goal and at no time should we place means above ends; the supremacy of humanity over matter and ideology must always be maintained.
I like this start to the book; we are a single human family.  It is I think a good starting point not only in our approach to political engagement but in the way we each engage with the world around us in our everyday lives.

From an advaita point of view, it is the recognition that in each person we meet we see our very own Self.  And from a bhakti tradition we might say that in each person we meet we see the manifestation of the divine.

As progressives, we engage in the political process as part of our work for social, environmental, and economic justice.  And as the Dalai Lama says in the quote above, we do this work because we seek the happiness of our human family, we wish to alleviate the suffering of all our sisters and brothers, elders and children.

A few paragraphs later, the Dalai Lama notes that he has ...

... a more general and concrete idea of happiness: a combination of inner peace, economic development, and, above all, world peace.  To achieve such goals I feel it is necessary to develop a sense of universal responsibility, a deep concern for all, irrespective of creed, color, sex, or nationality.
This seems to me to mirror our view as progressives of how government should work; because we feel a core responsibility for the well being of all the members of our community, local, state, national, global, we use government as a means of working together for the benefit of us all.

A universal responsibility to our human family; it is at the core of our beings, it is at the heart of our spiritual practice, and it is the foundation of who we are as progressives.

Enjoy your day!

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