Open Letter of Conscience and Choice

 

Open Letter of Conscience and Choice

by Robert Rabbin, John Robbins, Stephen Mitchell,
Lynne Twist, Rabbi Michael Lerner, John Friend,
Dan Millman, Riane Eisler, Tom Hayden,
Steve Bhaerman, et al.

An Open Letter of Conscience and Choice
To All Spiritual, Metaphysical, Yoga, and Meditation Communities

There are times in life when we must act. And when those moments come, we must act with our truest heart, our clearest mind, and our noblest intentions.

November 2 is such a time. On that day, we will take in hand one of the tools for social transformation. We will exercise our right to vote and our responsibility to voice our values and conscience. We will choose a new president and vice president. We, the signers of this letter, after full consideration, careful study, and deep reflection, endorse and recommend John Kerry and John Edwards for these offices. We urge all of you to vote for them. This is a matter of great importance and urgency.

The Kerry/Edwards ticket is not perfect, and we have many serious disagreements with them, especially in the area of militarism and defense spending. But Howard Dean rightfully cautions us to not let perfection become the enemy of the good. In this election, we have two clear choices. By any standard or measure ? policy, ideology, humanity, truthfulness ? Kerry is better by far than George W. Bush, and Edwards is better by far than Dick Cheney. We believe their cabinet selections and their many other appointments, including to the Supreme Court, will be better by far than those of George W. Bush. We urge you to register and vote for John Kerry and John Edwards.

There are many reasons to not vote: cynicism, apathy, distrust of candidates, or the conviction that spirit transcends politics and we dare not risk our spiritual brightness by descending into the murky depths of political darkness and intrigue. But these are not legitimate reasons. It is an inappropriate spiritual response to our times to be socially aloof and politically uninvolved. The Dalai Lama encourages us, "Sometimes we look down on politics, criticizing it as dirty. However, if you look at it properly, politics in itself is not wrong. With good motivation ? sincerity and honesty ? politics becomes an instrument in the service of society."

The self-evident fact of inter-dependence will not allow us to stand on the sidelines of life, to ignore what is happening in our own backyards. We live in society, and society lives in us. This awareness requires responsibility. This awareness requires participation. This awareness requires expression.


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We all know from our studies, practice, and experience that the inner and the outer are more than mirror images of each other: they are each other. There is no separation, no difference, no distance between them. This is why the philosopher J. Krishnamurti said, "The crisis is not out there in the world; it is in our own consciousness." A flower is not separate from its fragrance.

We have been refining our inner consciousness. We have been purifying our inner consciousness. We have been liberating our inner consciousness from the stranglehold of limiting and hurtful beliefs and images and concepts. For years, we have taken this "hero's journey" to inner truth, freedom, and wisdom in order to become whole and free. But we have not taken this journey for ourselves alone; we have also taken this journey for others and for our world.

It is not just for ourselves that we love wisdom and practice compassion, not just for ourselves that we pursue truth instead of falsehood, not just for ourselves that we ask those fearsome questions that lead to knowledge of the soul. No, it is not just for ourselves that we do this. We do it equally for others. Our very quest for wholeness of being is at its core a service to others. The Kabbalah reminds us, "First we receive the light, then we impart the light. Thus we repair the world." And now it is time to begin healing this world, our world, in the same way we have sought to heal ourselves from the diseases of hatred, violence, and greed; in the same way we have sought to heal our own hearts of anger born of fear, and fear born of separation.

Voting for John Kerry and John Edwards is a positive step towards this social healing. To be sure, it is just one step in a long journey, but one we should all take on November 2.

Signed (as private citizens, not as representatives of any organization):

Robert Rabbin, writer, speaker, creator of TruthForPresident.org
John Robbins, author of Diet For A New America, founder of EarthSave International
Stephen Mitchell, writer
Lynne Twist, global activist, fundraiser, speaker, author
Rabbi Michael Lerner, author, editor of Tikkun Magazine
Dan Millman, author, teacher
Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice & The Blade and The Power of Partnership
Tom Hayden, author, activist, former California legislator
John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga
Katchie Gaard, Anusara yoga teacher, dancer, and activist
Steve Bhaerman (aka Swami Beyondananda), author, humorist, workshop leader
Saniel Bonder, author, founder of Waking Down in Mutuality work
Sharon Steffensen, yoga teacher, editor of YOGAChicago
Judith Whitson, publisher, writer, lecturer, teacher
William W. Whitson, writer, speaker, retired Army officer
Jonathan Granoff, Esq. (Ahamed Muhaiyaddeen), author, screenwriter, speaker, activist
Larry Robinson, Vice-mayor, Sebastopol, CA
Tami Coyne, author, spiritual teacher
Pamela Miles, founder of Institute for the Advancement of Complementary Therapies
Gilles Marin, author, founder of Chi Nei Tsang Institute
Raphael Cushnir, author, spiritual teacher
Stephen Dinan, author of Radical Spirit, progressive activist
Sandra Sedgbeer, publisher of PlanetLightworker & Children of the New Earth
Connie Shaw, publisher of Sentient Publications
Laurie Schryver, psychic, teacher, progressive activist
Robert Skutch, author
Lee Skutch, psychologist
Kanu Kogod, Ph.D, anthropologist, author, founder of Bridges in Organizations
David Lurey, yoga teacher
Debbie Milam, author, Reiki master, president of Unlimited Inspiration
Rev. Laura R. Davis, co-founder of Wisdom & Wellness Expo, Reiki master
Rev. C.J. Davis, spiritual teacher, Reiki master,
Elizabeth Ann Bloom, president of Here There & Beyond, Inc.
Mary Alice O'Connor, interfaith minister
Amy Kahn, yoga teacher
Gina Rabbin, psychic, life and business coach
Chetan Parkyn, author, spiritual teacher
Carolina Eastwood, author, spiritual counselor
Sister Mary Jude Jun, OSU is an Ursuline Sister
Dawn Silver, co-owner of Chicago's Healing Earth Bookstore, author and lecturer
Jessica Calhoon, yoga and dance instructor, performer
Jaylyn L'na, publisher/editor, Voices of the New Earth
Nina Beucler, Kripalu yoga teacher
Laurie Ahlemann, Ishta yoga teacher
Rev. Stephen C. Robinson, executive director, Holistic Studies Institute, NY


Resources for Like-minded Communities

Here is a tiny list of communities (there are thousands) and activist organizations working to effect positive social and political change along the lines of wisdom, nonviolence, and cooperation. It is admittedly weighted with groups working on electoral issues. Some provide information, others workshops and trainings, and others direct action. Joining with others dissolves isolationism, apathy, and despair. Joining with others is inspiring, empowering, and effective. Follow your heart, and the links on each of these different sites.

MoveOn.org
True Majority
North American Peace Alliance
Anita Roddick
Activist Women in Buddhism
Dennis Kucinich
The Peace Company
Praxis Peace Institute
Mainstreet Moms Oppose Bush
The Fellowship of Reconciliation
One World Wisdom
Michael Moore
Nonviolence.org
CodePink
Not In Our Name
The Clergy Leadership Network
War Resister's League
Mothers Opposing Bush
Peace Action
Human Rights Watch
Veterans for Peace
Bush Must Go!
Amnesty International
Poets Against the War
Global Exchange
Directory of Human Rights Organizations
The Faith and Politics Institute
Eactivist.org
United for Peace and Justice
Voice Yourself
Center for Engaged Spirituality
Directory of Engaged Buddhist Groups
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Global Renaissance Alliance
The Interfaith Alliance

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