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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.  If you have observations about the political discourse of the week, or about practice, or about anything else related to walking a spiritual path through the political world, if you wish to share, or if you seek support, or if you simply want to say hello, please do; this space is for you.

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This week, the monthly email from the Buddhist Peace Fellowship pointed to a page on their site about nonviolence, where I found this question ...

How do we understand the various forms of institutionalized violence? The violence of poverty, inequality, mass incarceration, capital punishment, toxic pollution, and slow poisoning through modified foods or precarious nuclear industries ..
And this week, at my teacher's satsang, one of the group brought up the government shutdown and all of the people who were missing paychecks as a result, and the hurt and harm that comes with it.  In response, my teacher brought up the example of Gandhi.  I'm paraphrasing here, but essentially she used him as an example of action from the clarity of awakening.

The question posed by BPF and the question raised at satsang are examples of what we face in our political engagement, indeed in our engagement in the world, every day.  How do we respond to institutionalized violence?

Our buttons are pushed, reactive conditioning arises, by what we read or hear or see.  The farce in the House over the CR, their insistence on shutting down the government until they've exacted some kind of concession, brings all kinds of responses; disappointment, anger, resignation, sadness.

When we see reactive conditioning arising within us, when we go beneath the stories and feel in our bodies the anger or sadness, we can meet this hurt within us with an open heart; we can touch this hurt with compassion.  We can feel deeply whatever arises within us, and be compassionate, open, loving and accepting with ourselves.

Then our actions are guided by the heart, and not by anger.  Our actions flow from a place of clarity.

Our work for social, economic, and environmental justice is about non-violence; it is about peace, compassion, love, acceptance.  It is about working together to solve problems rather than working against each other for selfish purposes.  It is about becoming more human, going deep within ourselves and opening to who we truly are as human beings.

Working for peace in our world begins with finding peace within ourselves.  Seeking nonviolent solutions in a world where reacting with violence has been our history begins with our work within.


May you find peace and joy in this day.

Originally posted to DKos Sangha on Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 07:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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