Tag Archives: transformation

How to Be a Spiritual Activist

A Heart with Copy Space

The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines activism this way: a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue. I’ll focus on “a practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action.” Since oneness is a core precept of spirituality, the second part of the definition, supporting or opposing one side of an issue, does not seem to fit.

But can we be activists without taking sides when so much of the world begs us to take a stance, either for or against, on so many issues? Since all of life is one, what we call sides are simply different aspects of the one. All are contained in the one.

What if we simply be for love? Love is our essence, our divine nature. Love has no real opposite. We can be for love without being against anyone. Hate is not the opposite of love; it is simply the masking of love. Fear is not the opposite of love; it is turning away from love. Love is the core essence of who we are and what life is, the divine nature of all things.

I can remember, in one of my past relationships, coming to the realization that all conflict could be resolved if we could get reconnected at the heart. Once I had that realization, I never saw it fail. Time and again in the relationship, when we seemed to be at a great impasse, getting connected at the heart transcended the conflict and allowed for not only resolution, but also deeper understanding of one another.

To be for love is to bring more love into all situations. Everything is made better with love. Everything is lifted up with love. When we have love in our hearts we see more clearly. Love points the way, allowing us to find common ground or a higher possibility. It points us to inclusion, fairness, and justice. It allows us to see beyond our biases, opinions, and judgments.

It is very destructive to believe our opinions are right. When we feel we are right, and we are guided by that notion, we are blinded to other points of view and we limit higher possibilities. Rather than being right, how about if we are true, true to love? Love doesn’t cast anyone out. Love doesn’t put us in opposition to anyone else. Love connects us.

To me, being a spiritual activist is about vigorously acting from love, sharing love, emanating love, opening to love, and allowing the infinite reservoir of love at our core to flow out into expression.

An indicator of spiritual maturity is the ability to love even when it is not seemingly deserved. As the master teacher Jesus is quoted as saying, “Love your enemies and bless them that curse you.” We do this because of our own expanded conscious awareness of who we are as beings of love and light. We know the transforming power of love, so we’re not waiting to return love from where we receive it. We are proactively allowing love to flow from us in every direction.

5 Questions to Know If You Are Being a Spiritual Activist

  1. Do I allow the opinions of others to hold as much weight as my own, even when their opinions are contrary to mine?
  2. Do I easily love people regardless of whether they meet my expectations?
  3. Do I love and forgive people even when they do something hurtful to me?
  4. Do I open my heart and provide a space of love in difficult situations?
  5. Do I love and embrace those who seem very different from me?

If you answered yes or mostly yes to these questions, you are being quite the spiritual activist according to the definition put forth here. If not, perhaps there is an opening to expand your role as a conduit for love. In any case, our essence and nature is love. The question is, how true will we be to our nature?

Enjoy the journey.

Becoming Caterpillar Soup

monarch butterfly on flower

Ferris Jabr writes in Scientific American, “If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out.” That is because, in order to become a butterfly, the caterpillar must first become completely liquid to reorganize itself to become a butterfly. Apparently, everything needed to create a butterfly is already in the caterpillar. In the soup that is the dissolved caterpillar, the ‘imaginal discs’ that contain the information about each butterfly body part become activated.

Fortunately, as human beings we do not have to completely dissolve our physical bodies in order to transform. However, we do need to become like caterpillar soup in the act of surrender to something greater. It is in this process of letting go of what we previously thought of as solid and permanent that we open the way for newness to emerge.

Similar to the caterpillar, everything we need is already within us, but we must dissolve the old mental structures to create the environment for transformation to occur.

One thing we can learn from the caterpillar is to let the body experience fluidity, to feel ourselves letting go by relaxing and opening the body, perhaps by practicing yoga or other mindful movement. If we truly have let go and are surrendered, we will feel it in the body. As a former yoga teacher of mine used to instruct – “loosen your jaw.” Yes, when we are holding on mentally, it also shows up as tightness in the body or shallowness in the breath. The same yoga teacher once asked me if I thought someone was going to punch me in the stomach because I was holding so tightly in the abdomen area.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2007 published the following about prayer: “We are creatures of body as well as spirit, so our prayer is not confined to our minds and hearts. It is expressed by our bodies as well. When our bodies are engaged in our prayer, we pray with our whole person.”

Somehow we must become liquid in order to create the greatest opening for transformation. This is with our mentalities and our physical bodies together, as each are reflections of the other.

To go along with creating opening and space in the physical body, here are seven mental conditions that create the fluidity conducive to transformation:

  1. I am willing to let go of limiting beliefs and behaviors.
  2. I am willing to be wrong (in some cases, very wrong) about what I have previously believed.
  3. I am open to new ideas and ways of thinking.
  4. I am open to considering new ways of doing things.
  5. I am willing to be uncomfortable if that means I am transforming into something greater.
  6. I am willing to look silly (in some cases, really silly).
  7. I am willing to spread my wings and soar to new heights.

As you read these mental conditions, watch your body’s reactions. Do you feel any resistance when you read any one of them, or all of them? Do you feel excited? Does your body expand or contract? What you’re feeling provides feedback as to how fully you are currently embracing these mental conditions so that you know where you might want to adjust and dissolve a little.

The invitation today is to become the fluid, surrendered vessel through which great good can flow into your life and into the world.

Enjoy the journey.