There is so much turmoil today in our nation and the world. The problems seem so insurmountable; it’s hard to stay positive. The chaos feels so overwhelming it’s hard to know where to step in and even attempt to make a difference. Many of us are struggling – fighting our own despair and feelings of anxiety and panic. How can we possibly step up and be the courageous and compassionate Spiritual Activist that I know many of you want to be?
When I think about activism I’m taking back to my own days in the 60’s when protest marches were common place. I remember the angry arms fists raised in the air and loud voices over megaphones blasting out about injustices.
When I think of the spiritual activism I think of Martin Luther King and his non-violent protests that brought out the masses and lobbied for transformation and civil rights reform. I also think of Mother Teresa, that little female body of fierce compassion and conviction who swayed the conscience of the powerful masculine energies to support her causes.
I also think of the Women’s Marches and the “Me Too Movement,” with women showing up, and men showing up in solidarity, and of both being willing to take a stand against the injustices women have faced. I think of the Black Lives Matter movement and how there is still a struggle for equality for all in the world today. I am in awe of the bravery and the commitment of those who choose to break the chains of silence. It took courage, lots of courage, to stand up to the prevailing misogynistic and prejudiced sentiment and speak out for truth and justice!
Spiritual Activism is not about religion, or even about being religious. It is about being willing to take part in creating change – and to play that part with the spirit of compassion, love, a sense of the interconnectedness of all beings, as well as the determination to stand on conviction.
Buddhist teachings hold sacred the tenets of compassion, mercy, altruism, and loving kindness, among others. According to some strains of Tibetan Buddhism, practitioners will meditate on Tara, a female deity, to develop these qualities. Tibetan Buddhists believe that everyone can achieve enlightenment. They claim that Tara removes obstacles that impede personal growth and the courage for righteous action.
Tara was said to be born from the tears of the Hindu Lord of Compassion, Avalokitesvara. He was dedicated to rescuing all humans from suffering. But he despaired at the futility of his efforts. He wept, feeling downhearted. From his eyes tears fell and from those tears emerged Green Tara and White Tara. Green Tara pledged to help by removing obstacles from the path of humans so they could walk the path to enlightenment with greater ease. White Tara vowed to help humans by increasing their fortunes and extending their lives. Today it is believed that they continue to help Avalokitesvara so that we humans are able to receive blessings and achieve enlightenment.
These deities serve as compassionate role models for us because they exemplify the altruistic mindset of service – not for personal fame or aggrandizement – but because they care about our human condition. They want us to live better lives so that we in turn can become enlightened spiritual activists who work for the betterment of humanity. The Taras stay focused on the positive, on what they can do, continually helping us to overcome obstacles, especially our negativity, so we can envision a better world for all.
The Taras understand that all beings are interconnected. When one human achieves a state of compassionate enlightenment then they can positively influence and raise the vibrations of people around them. As one of us becomes more compassionate and caring, then we can demonstrate to others the power of compassion and the importance of standing up for your convictions.
Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa strove for enlightenment, embraced compassion, pledged their lives to service, and had the courage to stand up for their convictions.
One human can inspire others and start a movement for peace, freedom and equality!
It’s also important to note that each Tara has their assigned tasks. They choose selectively where to put their efforts rather than fragmenting themselves. It’s important to use wisdom and discernment in order to focus our efforts so we can be more effective in making a difference.
Take time to reflect on the lessons from Green and White Tara. Become a spiritual activist; take a stand and make a difference. But come to your activism with an altruistic and compassionate heart. Remember to focus on the positive. Stand for what you are “for,” not what you are “against,” so your mindset can stay positive.
Always remember that we are all interconnected. What we are and what we do has an impact on those around us. Your bad mood can dampen the mood of others. When you are full of joy, it radiates to those around you, lifting their moods. Finally, choose what you commit to with wisdom and discernment. Remember it is always better to under-commit and over-deliver than to over-commit and under-deliver.
If you, and I, can commit to these gems of wisdom, then we will have a chance to change the world – together!
If you are feeling overwhelmed and despairing about your life, please contact Joy at 415-819-8769 or email her to see how she can bring more balance and harmony into your life.
** This article was inspired by a blog posted in 2015 on http://fiercelove.wordpress.com.