For a year now I have been writing about something related to social justice at least once a month. Because I made a promise one year ago when the just post roundtable was started. This in itself is proof that this roundtable brings people in motion because otherwise I probably would have spent all my time blogging about my to-do-lists or something equally important to the world.
On the other hand it feels a bit strange, sitting here in front of my computer, writing nice little posts about social things. Armchair activism, so to speak. And it feels like it doesn’t make much of a difference. Sometimes.
I haven’t been the only one thinking about this and so we, that is Jen, and Mad, and Hel, and me, have decided to try something new for the first anniversary of the roundtable. Something that involves actual doing instead of mere writing. But don’t fear nobody is supposed to get out and heal all the world’s suffering all by herself. What we ask for is something small, something doable, something that feels right for each of us.
So, when I thought about my “social post of the month” this month I couldn’t come up with anything. So I almost skipped it. And then I read something that made me think and I remembered something else, and this is what I want to write about.
When I attended a singing workshop back in May one of the teachers asked all of us where we wanted to go with our music. After everybody had said something it was the turn of the two other teachers to respond to that, and Joey Blake said that he wanted to sing to heal the world. He used much more words than that but that was the essence of it for me.
My first reaction was, “Haha, funny, as if you could heal the world through your singing.” But it stuck with me and I thought about it. I still am. And then I remembered how I had felt after the concert the teachers had given the day before. And I wondered.
And then, last week, I read something by Tara Jon Manning that pointed me in the same direction: In her book “Mindful Knitting: Inviting Contemplative Practice to the Craft” she writes about “enlightened society”:
Enlightened society is an idea of a world built upon generosity and kindness where everyone mindfully contributes to the support and well-being of everyone else. Fundamental to this notion, […], is the recognition of the potential within all human beings to wake up to their own basic goodness and contribute to the world. When we make the connection between our own basic goodness within and the magic of the basic goodness without, it touches us and makes our hearts soft and tender. As you awaken to your own basic goodness, you begin to se it everywhere – in everyone, everything, and every moment of the world. […] And as you may have already seen in yourself, once you have made that awakening within yourself, you can’t help but let it spill out into the world.
So, in order to make the world more full of generosity and kindness it’s best to start with oneself. And that doesn’t mean that you have to become all Mother Theresa-like overnight. It isn’t like reaching a goal where you (or I) suddenly turn into that magnificent, better version of yourself. It’s a practice. Loving kindness starts with you.
I really believe that we are all connected, and that our thoughts and deeds influence each other. And so each one of us can change the world a little bit at a time. Of course it seems futile from time to time. And sometimes we can’t do it and then we are not kind or generous. But then there’s the next moment and another chance and then we surprise ourselves.
No, I don’t know how that translates into world peace and into fresh water and enough to eat for everyone, but for now it is the only thing I can do and I sincerely believe that it makes a difference. Maybe it’s only a small difference. But then, you all know how one person can make a difference to a small group. Sometimes even the presence of somebody makes a difference. And the world is comprised of small groups of people. Quite a few of them these days, that’s true, but small groups nonetheless. And we should never forget that all the people who really made a difference were after all human beings like us.
May we be safe and protected and free from inner and outer harm
May we be happy and contented
May we be healthy and whole to whatever degree possible
May you experience ease of well-being …
May our planet and the whole universe be safe and protected and free from harm
May our planet and the whole universe be happy and contented
May our planet and the whole universe be healthy and whole
May our planet and the whole universe experience ease of well-being…
(from “Coming to our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness” (Jon Kabat-Zinn))
And as I quote from this book and re-read the title I realize where that thought comes from. You know, “Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness”. Duh.
A happy new year to all of you, and please, don’t forget to send me your own posts and nominations for the next just post roundtables until the 7th of January.
oh su, you read my mind today. peace begins with one – i’ve been saying it all day. peace begins with one.
Mad Hatter says
And starting with the self may prove a most daunting task. At least it would be a Herculean labour for me.
exactly what jen said.
Peace begins with me.
How thoughtful and true. I think what you are talking about is not only the key to healing, but also for living in balance and harmony.
Yes. I believe you are right. Even though I am not exactly doing everything I want to do, I am thinking about much more than I was a year ago. It has made a difference, to me, being in this group.
a thoughtful and thought provoking post
You’re right about starting with oneself… yet it can be so hard sometimes!
Very thought provoking indeed.
Happy New Year.
I was so sure that I have already commented on this post. Lately WordPress have been swallowing my comments so I hope this one appears.
I have been trying to find ways of expressing that volunteer work can be small and do-able but I have been struggling. This post says a lot of what I have been thinking. Thank you.