Principles of a New Activism
day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity,
we shall harness the energies of love.
Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have
- Pierre Theilhard de Chardin
At the dawn of the 21st Century, we cast our eyes upon the horizon of
a new day in human affairs. While civilization has achieved the most
stunning advances in science, technology and other external pursuits,
our internal and spiritual progress lags far behind. We have landed a
man on the moon and begun to decode the human genome, but we have not
yet learned how to build a deep and lasting peace among the peoples of
At the Global Renaissance Alliance, it is our belief that the deepest
yearning of the human heart is to love and be loved. The next step in
humanity's evolutionary progress is to most fully actualize the love
we feel within us, for as we ourselves are healed of fear-based mental
patterns, we automatically become conduits for the healing of the entire
world. Our Peace Circles are a means for anyone to make a more meaningful
stand for love's power to heal the world.
Circles are a simple template for "spiritual activism," and
the "Principles of a New Activism" express their philosophical
foundation. Together, the Peace Circles and "Principles of a New
Activism" form a practical contribution to the effort to invoke
a spiritual renaissance in the world today. In addition to the reading
below, please also see "Cosmology and the New Political Activism" by
The Principles of a New Activism are:
1. STILLNESS AS AN ACT OF POWER
The cultivation of a quiet mind is the most effective antidote to chaos.
A moment of stillness is a universal corrective, bringing all conditions
of disharmony into immediate alignment with the peace of God. While manifestations
of chaos may take time to flush out of the material realm, the introduction
of stillness automatically interrupts the trajectory of chaos.
meditation our only task is to "be still and know." As
we simply sit in silence, knowing that God's love embraces all living
things, divine harmony becomes an operative principle in the world around
The deeper the stillness the deeper the level of sharing.
2. ENVISIONING AS AN ACT OF POWER
In the material realm, power is determined by material wealth; in the
spiritual realm, power is determined by spiritual wealth.
In the 21st Century, wealth will be determined by consciousness and
imagination. Whoever has the tools of consciousness will wield the greatest
power on earth. In this sense, we will begin at last to experience the
infinite abundance -equally attainable by all - which is our spiritual
inheritance as human beings.
The New Activist does not ignore the powers of the material realm, but
rather recognizes their value in helping to shape a better world. We
seek to integrate the power of the world with the power of spirit, thus
achieving a truly holistic sense of self. With the heart in charge, the
intellect is not marginalized but uplifted to its highest potential.
Living in the modern world, it is a shift in thinking to withdraw our
attachment to belief in the exclusive authority of external powers. From
money, to business, to science, to medicine, to technology, to government,
we are mesmerized by outer appearances, assigning to them all manner
of authority that they do not inherently possess. We do so at the expense
of our own remembrance that we, ourselves, wield greater power than does
any external authority. We have been given the power to transform the
world, through our capacity to change how we think about the world. There
is no condition of outer substance that is not transformed by love.
a situation is taken to prayer, and seen meditatively as healed and
whole, the spiritual activist can "consider it done." Our
capacity to inwardly see a condition of peace invokes that condition
through metaphysical power. When two or more are gathered in the perception
of perfect possibility, and experience together the peace which such
discernment bestows, the conditions of chaos simply and literally cannot
instance, if violence erupts in Jerusalem, the work of the New Activist
is to inwardly see the potential for peace. Prayerful concentration on
the possibility of peace, unhindered by attachment to material "facts," lifts
the mind to its natural function as a worker of miracles. The purpose
of the mind is that it be used, with God, to Co-create the conditions
of peace on Earth. It is both our natural function, and our inherent
power, to invoke the world that dwells beyond the veil of human illusion.
Beyond the veil, there are no enemies; there are only brothers and sisters.
Beyond the veil, there is no conflict; there is only peace. Beyond the
veil, there is no limit; there is only infinite possibility for good.
To discern that reality for Israelis and Palestinians, at a time when
their own perception is understandably clouded by the immediate conditions
of worldly affairs, is both the greatest gift and the greatest power
that can be wielded in that situation.
throughout the world would be thinking about the violence in Jerusalem;
even those with the best of intentions, however, are limited in their
capacity to make peace, if the crux of their attention is focused on
war. So it is that the New Activist, while not looking away from Jerusalem,
looks toward it with new eyes. We look to the region, as does the traditional
activist, but not with a mind that seeks to "fix it." We look
through the eyes of a higher mind, lifting the veil of illusion by simply
seeing beyond it.
When a critical mass of prayer and meditation is extended in the direction
of peace, then the conditions of war will automatically be cast away
3. INTERPERSONAL HEALING AS AN ACT OF POWER
The source of war lies in each of us, as does the source of peace. As
we rid our own hearts of the spark of violence, we are fostering peace
in the world.
Ultimately, we come to realize that there is no world outside us. All
external reality is mere reflection of consciousness, and thus, in order
to change the world, we must change our minds. The world is in the circle,
as it is in every one of us.
Gathering together as New Activists, we find among us the roots of war.
Someone may judge someone else; someone may not like someone else's personality;
someone may hold resentments regarding a particular situation. As we
heal ourselves of our own judgments and subtle thoughts of conflict,
we automatically affect the minds of those who perpetrate greater violence
in the world.
The Peace Circle is a sacred circle. It holds the pain, as well as the
possibility for transformation, of the world in which we live. We do
not seek outside ourselves, but rather within, for the source of all
darkness as well as the source of all light. The issue of concern becomes
not the love withheld by someone else in a situation outside the circle,
but rather the ways in which we ourselves might be contributing to the
suffering of mankind.
For instance, if a couple attending the Peace Circle are having problems
in their relationship, then the Circle holding their bond in prayer is
a political act: healing between any two people literally helps to heal
the world. When any two experience conflict, the universal condition
of conflict is fueled. When any two experience forgiveness, that condition
is universally ameliorated. Thus do the pursuits of personal growth and
political healing intersect in spiritual activism. In a wider sense,
it is the political work of the Circle to address the personal fears
of its members.
to Mahatma Gandhi, we must "be the change we want to
see happen in the world." This explains one of his tenets of non-violence,
that "the end is inherent in the means." An angry generation
cannot create peace in the world. That we be peaceful, must be our personal
effort as well as our political goal.
At the same time, it is difficult to achieve peace with our fellow human
beings when we are not at peace within ourselves. So it is that the healing
of our own fractured sense of self becomes a prerequisite of sorts, for
the healing of our relationship with others and the world.
4. DEPTH OF INSIGHT AS AN ACT OF POWER
The most powerful axis of activism today is vertical rather than horizontal.
The depth of a conversation is more important than how many people are
involved in it.
A wise society holds its common experiences wisely, and in so doing,
creates subtle and invisible sources of healing. The more meaningful
the conversation a society holds with itself, the more meaningful its
collective actions become.
The traditional activist is often tempted to facilitate a more shallow
group discussion, in order to attract as many people as possible to it.
More attention is paid to the numbers of people supporting a position,
than to the genuine justice of the position itself. On a certain level
this is reasonable, as a main role of the traditional activist is to
achieve electoral gain. The New Activist, however, makes the attainment
of a deep and loving understanding our highest priority.
is not assumed that the quest for such spiritual understanding automatically
leads to the attainment of political power. But, immediate political
gain is not necessarily the goal of the New Activist. Rather, we place
our faith in the power of truth over time, recognizing that positions
supporting a freer, more compassionate human experience are literally
backed by cosmic impulse. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "The
moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
make depth of insight our highest priority, is not to lack political
focus. It is to draw a distinction between short-term political pursuits
and long-term evolutionary issues. The spiritual activist seeks as deep
a discussion of an issue as possible, exploring the psychological, spiritual,
historical, mythological and philosophical issues. Love is the greatest
power, but not necessarily immediately. Some of the most important political
achievements in history were, when first articulated, considered outrageous
and impossibly idealistic by the status quo of the time. Examples abound,
from the abolitionist, women's suffrage, labor and civil rights movements
in the United States, to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Early
in these movements, the argument would of course have been made that "No
one will buy this," "It's just a few of us against all of them," "We
don't have the money and they do," etc. The power of an unalterable
truth, however, gives spiritual fuel to such efforts, providing invisible
sources of aid throughout the political struggles which follow.
Depth of moral authority, as evidenced in political quests for social
justice, freedom, etc., forms a field of conscious desire and intention
which, if harnessed effectively, ultimately leads to political power.
What begins with the conviction of usually a few charismatic personalities,
ultimately spreads like positive contagion through the hearts of resonant
New Activist relies on the strength of higher awareness to create breakthrough
and possibility in the material world, by strengthening
the conviction, courage and personal eloquence of the activist. It is
not our numbers, but our depth of insight, which transform events around
us. The spiritual impulse toward what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred
to as "the establishment of the beloved community," fuels every
fundamental shift in the direction of higher good. Mental alignment with
that impulse is the New Activist's greatest power.
5. RADICAL GOOD WILL AS AN ACT OF POWER
Recognition and affirmation of the spiritual innocence in all human beings
creates a field of possibility for the emergence of miracles.
In A Course in Miracles, it is written, "Miracles are everyone's
right, but purification is necessary first." The presence of fear-based
thinking within our own minds is the primary block to the effectiveness
of the New Activist.
It is tempting to think that a huge multinational corporation, aided
by assets of billions of dollars, has more power to achieve its will
on Earth than do we who merely live here. Once we recognize, however,
that money is not as powerful as prayer, or imagination, or most importantly,
love, then we begin to harness
the powers of the heart on behalf of planetary healing. The New Activist
does not project negativity toward the corporation, its executives, or
its shareholders, but rather surrounds them all in a field of positive
intention, surrendering them to the spirit of one-ness in us all. We
ask that they be blessed; we ask that their hearts and minds be lifted
to divine right order; we ask that every action of every living thing
promote the health of planet Earth and its inhabitants.
negative thoughts about the "powers that be," limit our
capacity to affect their behavior. A Peace Circle is the place to safely
surrender such thoughts to God, moving beyond our temptation to personally
demonize those with whom we disagree, we actually become more powerful.
We recognize our capacity to hold people accountable for their actions,
without deviating from our love. It is our radical good will toward all
of humanity that naturally works miracles. Some call such thinking naïve.
What is naïve, in fact, is the thought that any amount of traditional
politicking can stop the juggernaut of planetary devastation that is
wreaked by market forces when no longer restrained by the dictates of
The New Activist uses prayer, meditation and forgiveness as tools for
the creation of a world made right. Whoever wields the power of a loving
mind wields a power that is greater than any on Earth, restoring conscience
to its primary place in human affairs.
6. CREATING SACRED SPACE AS AN ACT OF POWER
The simple configuration of people gathered in a circle, sharing prayer
and meditation and heartfelt conversation, casts a web of healing power
affecting not only the members of the circle but the world at large.
Humans carry an ancient memory of the power of ritual. The creation
of sacred space is not merely symbol but rather the actual harnessing
of energy for the purpose of spiritual healing. Within a sacred circle,
we are lifted past the limitations of personality which normally hold
us back; greater wisdom, greater clarity, greater insight emerge. As
the veils of the personality are lifted, so are the walls which divide
us. No longer experiencing a false sense of separation from each other,
our oneness in God becomes an experiential reality.
Within the sacred field of oneness, we experience the ultimate equality
of souls. The level of our personal sharing reflects a deeper, more heartfelt
truth, when the competitive, fear-based grasping of the ego is transcended.
The benefit to our collective experience is obvious. Spiritual force
fosters deeper honesty, creating a web of social intimacy among members
of a group. When the heart becomes the basis for both speaking and listening,
the individual's personal expression becomes a more meaningful contribution
to an emerging collective truth.
7. SPIRITUALLY CENTERED ACTION AS ACT OF POWER
The New Activist wields power by standing for what could be, as opposed
to fighting what is. Making a stand for a new possibility, we attain
the power to create it.
asked whether meditation alone could save the world, His Holiness the
Dalai Lama responded, "If we are to save the world, we must
have a plan. But no plan will work unless we meditate."
It is the integration of the powers of spirit and matter which conjoin
to form the New Activism. Ultimately the yin of personal development
meets the yang of social activism, as the New Activist turns his or her
attention to traditional political, social, or community efforts, but
with a new dimension of spiritual and personal power.
For instance, at a political gathering the New Activist remembers to
avoid the temptation to demonize one's opponent; at an activist's gathering,
the New Activist has acquired the serenity to become the most eloquent
and inspiring spokesperson for the group's effort; working on a project,
the New Activist silently meditates with others for a blessed outcome.
The New Activist sets a standard for a level of positive, powerful, spiritually-motivated
activism, thus making a maximal impact within any community.
Using the tools above, the New Activist has greater capacity to be an
instrument of change. In service to a higher good, allowing a higher
dimension of awareness to affect our personalities, we are thus in a
position to effect the greatest good. New wine demands new bottles, new
ends demand new means, and new ideas demand new hearts.