When Contemplation and Spirituality Meet Social Activism

When Contemplation and Action Meet

It is my deep conviction that any meaningful religious or spiritual approach must also really address the key issue of today – and that is a world that works for all. Disparities and inequalities in income and opportunities are become so huge, environmental degradation is advancing so rapidly, that unless we create a world that works for ALL (and this includes the environment)...

How To Take Baby Steps Towards A New Reality

How To Take Baby Steps Towards A New Reality

If we were able to remember how we felt as a child learning to crawl, we probably would remember looking on with amazement at the giants we saw around us. This memory might help us when we are learning a technical skill, or a behavioral skill such as unconditional love, patience...

When The Truth Is So Terrible It Hurts, Take Action

When The Truth Is So Terrible It Hurts, Take Action

Amidst all the horrors taking place these days, I am inspired by the rays of hope that shine through. Ordinary people standing up for what is right (and against what is wrong). Baseball players, white and black, both teams, walking off the field in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. And today, I came across the video of the Seattle Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll...

Giving Birth to the Future and Achieving A More Life-Affirming Outcome

Giving Birth to the Future and Achieving A More Life-Affirming Outcome

I have heard women say, “I don’t know where to begin.” We begin with ourselves; we then work together to make changes on a local and community level and campaign at the national level, using the power of our government to introduce legislation requiring that corporations rapidly transition to regenerative, life-supporting practices in their business models.

Rebuilding and Rediscovering Community: Wholeness Can Heal Us

Rebuilding and Rediscovering Community: Wholeness Can Heal Us

Reconnecting with the Earth is simple. But just as initiations in traditional cultures demand some kind of dismemberment, staying reconnected requires breaking down the walls we’ve built inside and outside of ourselves, toppling old secure structures...

5 Ways Seniors Are Saving The World Right Now

5 Ways Seniors Are Saving The World Right Now

It's time to rethink the strength of our seniors. They're anything but fragile. They're stronger, smarter and more resilient than they're getting credit for. And right now, they're an invaluable resource we can't afford to overlook.

7 Ways You Can Help The Coronavirus Response

7 Ways You Can Help The Coronavirus Response

When a major earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26, 2004, resulted in a devastating tsunami, people from all parts of the world contributed to one of the largest relief efforts ever.

Getting The Courage To Show Up and Stand Your Ground

standing your ground
Now is not the time for safe and credible creativity. Now is the time for new, edgy, and innovative ideas and experiments and creative, spiritual initiations that provide authentic and lasting growth.

The Invitation: Designing a Life That Works for All Life on Earth

The Invitation: Designing a Life That Works for All Life on Earth
We are living with a confluence of crisis points that affect us all. We may think we can hole up in our homes and get on with our lives, keeping everything that is unpleasant from affecting or harming us. It is inevitable, however, that in some way or other, the crisis will arrive at our doorstep.

Think The US Is More Polarized Than Ever?

Think The US Is More Polarized Than Ever?

It has become common to say that the United States in 2020 is more divided politically and culturallythan at any other point in our national past.

I Have A Dream (text & video)

I have a dream speech and video

The I Have A Dream speech is the crown jewel of the 20th century. Given before 250,000 souls on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, it  is called the defining moment of the US Civil Rights movement. It is the speech by which all other great speeches must be measured. Its haunting rhythm towards the end of the speech has an almost musical sound and feel.

What Shaped Martin Luther King's Prophetic Vision?

freedom for oppressed 1 16The name Martin Luther King Jr. is iconic in the United States. The 44th president, Barack Obama, spoke of King in both his Democratic National Convention nomination acceptance and victory speeches in 2008:

The Undeniable Benefits Of Reporting Negative News

The Undeniable Benefits Of Reporting Negative News
Negativity has become a key indicator for how newsworthy a story is considered to be, not only by the industry but also by us, the consumers. And many news professionals and news consumers will tell you that there is good reason to report bad news.

Young People and Activists To Change the World

Teens To Change the World
The events that occurred in the United States on September 11, 2001, have made it desperately obvious that our world must be changed, or soon there may be no world to change at all. I am reminded here of the wonderful soul-searching inquiry of the Jewish tradition: If not now, when? If not me, who?

How Workers Can Force Progressive Change

How Workers Can Force Progressive Change
In November 2018, 20,000 Google employees across the world walked out of work. They were protesting the ways in which their employer had failed to address sexual harassment in the workplace.

Would You Stand Up To An Oppressive Regime or Would You Conform?

Would You Stand Up To An Oppressive Regime Or Would You Conform? Here's The Science
Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, described the horror of the authoritarian regime of Gilead. In this theocracy, self-preservation was the best people could hope for, being powerless to kick against the system. But her sequel, The Testaments, raises the possibility that individuals, with suitable luck, bravery and cleverness, can fight back.

Why Vegan Activism Needs To Switch Gears

Why Vegan Activism Needs To Switch Gears
Vegan activists have historically been vocal in their ‘meat is murder’ campaigns. With a plant-based protein revolution upon us, it’s time vegans rethought their tactics.

Choosing to Love the World (and Those On It) More

Choosing to Love the World (and Those On It) MoreLove... has it become a "four-letter word"? In many cases, love has become equated with other things such as attention, rewards, approval, etc. In many cases, what is depicted in movies as love is simply a need for someone or something -- either a need for security, approval, etc.

A New Age of Enlightenment: Spiritual Warriors Motivated By Love

A New Age of Enlightenment: Spiritual Warriors Motivated By LoveIn this time of upheaval, with old systems fighting to keep a stronghold on established patriarchal forms of hierarchy and separation, we are each being summoned to embrace our spiritual warrior to make a difference in our world. We are called to stand in sacred truth...

Compassionate Actions and Ripples of Change

Compassionate Actions and Ripples of Change
I believe there is. When we speak of activism, we usually think of organized activities. Yet beyond that, we all have opportunities to act in ways that reflect our desire for social justice and peace. Whether or not we’re “official” activists, we’re always taking action, all the time. Every day, we’re making choices that will impact not only our own future but also that of others.

Morphic Resonance: One Person Does Make A Difference

Morphic Resonance: One Person Does Make A Difference
The principle I am invoking here is called “morphic resonance,” a term coined by the biologist Rupert Sheldrake. It holds as a basic property of nature that forms and patterns are contagious: that once something happens somewhere, it induces the same thing to happen elsewhere.

3 Ways To Make Your Voice Heard Besides Protesting

3 Ways To Make Your Voice Heard Besides Protesting
Approximately one in five Americans participated in a protest or rally between early 2016 and early 2018, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

7 Reasons The World Is Actually Becoming A Better Place

7 Reasons The World Is Actually Becoming A Better PlaceSwedish academic Hans Rosling has identified a worrying trend: not only do many people across advanced economies have no idea that the world is becoming a much better place, but they actually even think the opposite.

The World Peace Diet: Eating As A Political, Social, Spiritual Act

Eating As A Political, Social, Spiritual Act: The World Peace DietWe must believe that we are capable of creating “a place of love and mutual assistance and understanding.” This is how visionary Tim Berners-Lee described the utopianist John Perry Barlow at the time of his death, adding: “I don’t think he was naïve.”

What Damage Are We Doing To Our Children And Ourselves?

What Damage Are We Doing To Our Children And Ourselves
Sociologists understand experiences of violence and neglect in childhood are part of what’s known as a Toxic Socialization (TS) process. Put simply, TS is a socialization process characterized by violence and neglect. Violence includes emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical violence. Neglect includes neglect of our physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive needs.

Protesters Lose Public Support When They Get Violent

Protesters Lose Public Support When They Get Violent
Violent protests can undercut public support for popular causes, according to new research inspired by recent confrontations between white nationalist protesters and anti-racist counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Berkeley, California.

How Moral Outrage Can Turn Into Social Change

How Moral Outrage Can Turn Into Social Change
While outrage is generally considered a hurdle in the path to civil discourse, new research suggests outrage—specifically, moral outrage—may have beneficial outcomes, such as inspiring people to take part in long-term collective action.

A Time for Truth, A Time for Healing

A Time for Truth, A Time for Healing
There seems to be so many things going on these days that need to be addressed. I compare the situation to a "healing crisis". You may have had a weakness in your body for years, and then the situation becomes acute, obvious, and unacceptable. It is the same with the world around us...

5 Ways Small Actions Have Huge Power

5 Ways Small Actions Have Huge Power

To those who take the bus or refuse plastic toothbrushes: Don’t listen to the cynics. Research shows the little things matter.

Making Society Civil Again

Making Society Civil AgainThe United States media has been awash with debates about civility in recent months after a number of officials in Donald Trump’s administration have been heckled and shamed in public places.

Can You Change the World with Civil Disobedience?

Can Civil Disobedience Change The World?
It is not often that a neighbourhood squabble is remembered as a world-historical event. In the summer of 1846, Henry David Thoreau spent a single night in jail in Concord, Massachusetts after refusing to submit his poll tax to the local constable. This minor act of defiance would later be immortalised in Thoreau’s essay ‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’ (1849)

Why We Need To Rethink Our Moral Obligations To Create A Better World

Why We Need To Rethink Our Moral Obligations To Create A Better World
Antibiotic resistance is an example of a collective action problem. These are problems where what is individually rational leads to a collectively undesirable outcome. Small things that many of us do, often on a daily basis, can have disastrous consequences in aggregate. The most challenging problems humanity is facing are in one way or another collective action problems.

History Tells Us How Student Protests Can Work

History Tells Us How Student Protests Can Work
When 17 students and teachers were murdered on what should have been a peaceful school day, students across the US took to the streets to demand change.

Why We Need Radical Imagination

Why We Need Radical ImaginationImagination, as Hawaiian Native rights advocate Poka Laenui describes it, is more than an antidote to hopelessness. It is a source of power.

How to Become a Warrior of Light: A New Energy, A New Reality

How to Become a Warrior of Light: A New Energy, A New Reality
The stable concept of identifying ourselves as Hungarian, Dutch, Vietnamese, Maori, or whatever, is falling apart. A new energy is sweeping through the planet, an energy that is not local, not just planetary, but cosmic. Now you have to stand in the Light and fight for the whole planet. You now...

Meet The Theologian Who Helped MLK See The Value Of Nonviolence

Meet The Theologian Who Helped MLK See The Value Of Nonviolence
After this last tumultuous year of political rancor and racial animus, many people could well be asking what can sustain them over the next coming days: How do they make the space for self-care alongside a constant call to activism?

Connection and Cooperation: The Hundredth Monkey Resonance Field

Connection and Cooperation: The Hundredth Monkey Resonance FieldMargaret Mead is famous for noting, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." In many communities there are numerous groups for individuals to support one another's efforts to make changes in their lives and in the world.

I Don't Want To Waste This Life: It's Time to Act!

I Don't Want To Waste This Life: It's Time to Act!I need to remind myself not to waste time. Not to click on too many hyperlinks and certainly not to spend to much time on Facebook. Not to distract myself with too much retail therapy at the antique mall or on Amazon. Not to obsess over whether my...

Does Donald Trump Have A Passion For Cruelty?

trump 10 2Donald Trump seems addicted to violence. It shapes his language, politics and policies. He revels in a public discourse that threatens, humiliates and bullies.

The Power of Showing Up and Helping

The Power of Showing Up and HelpingI was listening to a news reporter in Texas listing all of the destruction, and then he started talking about all of the volunteers who have showed up to help, and he started to cry. Through tears, he said that he has never seen humanity show up in such beautiful ways to be of service and help others in need.

What Can You Do with Justified Anger?

Transforming Anger Into Nonviolent PowerAnger, rage and a desire for revenge are all reasonable and justified in the face of armed attacks, abuse and exploitation. What matters is what we do with these things.

5 Tips For Stretching Your Donation Dollars

5 Tips For Stretching Your Donation DollarsThere’s no shortage of media reports listing which groups are taking donations, often with scant guidance about what kinds of relief these organizations can offer.

For A Primer On How To Make Fun Of Nazis, Look To Charlie Chaplin

For A Primer On How To Make Fun Of Nazis, Look To Charlie ChaplinWhile many anti-fascists offered serious and potent arguments against Hitler, comedians like Charlie Chaplin responded to the mortal threat that the Nazis posed in a different way: They used humor to highlight the absurdity and hypocrisy of both the message and its notorious messenger.

Why Our Global ‘Age Of Rage’ Is Entering A New Phase

Why Our Global ‘Age Of Rage’ Is Entering A New PhaseProtesters have recently been out in force in Russia, Poland, Hungary, northern Morocco and Venezuela; sizeable democracy marches have mobilized to mark key moments in Hong Kong and Turkey

How Mainstream Media Can Still Effect Social Change

How Mainstream Media Can Still Effect Social ChangeWhile there is much to critique about the news media in this age of “post-truth” within a landscape dominated by a handful of media conglomerates, we need the press to hold our leaders and institutions accountable. Locally, when the occasion calls for it, we should laud the press.

Independents Day Message: A New Common Sense, A New Common Cause

 Independents Day Message: A New Common Sense, A New Common CauseI now call the 4th of July "Independents Day" as I've come to realize that the only way we the people can take our country back -- and forward -- is by declaring our independence from the two political parties, the two-party duopoly, and the two competing narratives that keep us divided ... and conquered.

Can We Predict Political Uprisings?

Can We Predict Political Uprisings?Forecasting political unrest is a challenging task, especially in this era of post-truth and opinion polls.

How My Tree-Planting Mother Turned Her Vision Into Reality

How My Tree-Planting Mother Turned Her Vision Into RealityWhen I was ten years old and attending an elementary school called Mountainview School, my mother decided to have a little chat with my school director about the lack of trees on the school property. She argued that although the view of the mountain was lovely, the boring grassy lawn was not.

How To Understand The Language Of Political Populism

How To Understand The Language Of Political PopulismIn a TV debate to mark the official start of the French presidential election campaign, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen was accused of “twisting the truth” by her centrist opponent Emmanuel Macron.

How Ayn Rand's Elitism Lives On

How Ayn Rand's Elitism Lives OnTrump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has said Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” is his favorite book.

What Would Mark Twain Think Of This President?

What Would Mark Twain Think Of This President?Thanks to the criticisms they’ve leveled in articles, interviews, tweets and letters to the editor, we know that many contemporary authors, from Philip Roth to J.K. Rowling, have a dim view of Donald J. Trump. The Conversation

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FROM THE EDITORS

InnerSelf Newsletter: October 18, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
These days we are living in mini-bubbles... in our own homes, at work, and in public, and possibly in our own mind and with our own emotions. However, living in a bubble, or feeling like we are…
InnerSelf Newsletter: October 11, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
Life is a journey and, as most journeys, comes with its ups and downs. And just like day always follows night, so do our personal daily experiences go from dark to light, and back and forth. However,…
InnerSelf Newsletter: October 4, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
Whatever we are going through, both individually and collectively, we must remember that we are not helpless victims. We can reclaim our power to heal our lives, spiritually and emotionally, as well…
InnerSelf Newsletter: September 27, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
One of the great strength of the human race is our ability to be flexible, to be creative, and to think outside the box. To be someone other than we were yesterday or the day before. We can change...…
What Works For Me: "For The Highest Good"
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
The reason I share "what works for me" is that it may work for you as well. If not exactly the way I do it, since we are all unique, some variance of the attitude or method may very well be something…