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Updated on June 3, 2017

From Consciousness to Activism

"Even if you fail in practice, dedicate yourself to action; performing actions for my sake, you will achieve success." (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12:9)

Service is the highest spiritual practice there is in the world. There is nothing greater than your service to humanity and creation; however, you do have to experience individual inner spiritual work before doing the right action. Consciousness is important. Being in the right state of mind will make your actions successful.

Global warming is one of our greatest challenges. Governmental action is very important and it's good to communicate with your elected representatives to let them know how much you love Mother Earth. On the other hand your individual actions can make a big difference. Trump has no respect for the environment at all, so we live in challenging times. He recently pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement; however, local leaders have stepped up and are leading the charge on these important issues. They will become increasingly important in our actions to preserve Mother Earth.

Several weeks ago I experienced being in a group which changed my consciousness because all the people were so in harmony with each other and in a high state of consciousness when we were discussing some deep political problems. Everyone had an opportunity to discuss their life situation with an elected official who then responded to each person. Then everyone else entered into discussion about the issue. Everyone achieved harmony and consciousness in this group. I felt as though I had entered into a higher level of understanding and connection with everything. What if we did this in our neighborhoods with our elected officials on a regular basis? We might have government which is more responsive to the community.

I have been trained as a social worker and have been involved with groups and social action before but rarely have I experienced such a state of consciousness and harmony as I did that day. If we had this state of consciousness, we could accomplish much more. I felt like I was connected to everyone in the group on a higher level. It seemed like heaven on Earth to me.

Gandhi did his inner spiritual work every Friday by taking a vow of silence. He was deeply involved with social and political action on a very intense level. If he did not take time to do the inner spiritual work, he could have easily burned himself out. He practiced Satyagraha, which means truth force. Satya means truth and graha means force or power. It means living and speaking truth. He was involved with fasts and civil disobedience actions starting with South Africa, then continuing these experiments in truth in his native India. Some members of the Minnesota State Legislature fasted recently in solidarity with the immigrant communities over the issue of driver's licenses. Satyagrapha was also used in the action by Native Americans who wanted an offensive sculpture removed from the Walker Sculpture Garden. Our state representative, Raymond Dehn, made a statement in solidarity with the Dakota community. Yesterday I heard on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) that the sculpture will be burned according to the negotiation with the Dakota community, the Walker and the artist. Everyone agreed to the plan. Speaking truth was important in this situation. True leadership is when you go to the community first before developing plans.

On Fridays I do my own inner spiritual work by cooking, cleaning, chanting and being alone away from others to recharge me spiritually and physically. I need to do this to continue my work as an ecological and civil rights activist and creative person in my spiritual community and other communities in Minneapolis.

Another spiritual text which has been a great help to me lately is from the Gospel of St. Thomas, a Christian text discovered in 1945 in a desert cave near Nag Hamadi, Egypt. This gospel is believed to be closer philosophically to what Jesus actually taught to his disciples than the Bible. It has high level poetry and insight and this is why I personally think it probably reflects what Jesus actually taught to humanity. What we experienced in that political group fits this description: "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inside the outside and the outside like the inside, and the upper like the lower and the lower like the upper and thus make the male and female the same, so that the male isn't the male and the female isn't female...then you will enter into the Kingdom."

What I felt that day was as though I was all one with the rest of the world and our city. It was as though I had entered into the right consciousness to be able to solve some of these serious political problems with others. We were beyond labels of female and male. It was as though we had entered that state that Jesus called entering into the the Kingdom or Krishna (God) Consciousness as written about in the 12th Chapter of the Gita.

So what individual actions can you take after you have entered into the right consciousness? Rumi, the Great Master Sufi Poet, implores us "to be what we love" and says there are "a million ways to kneel and kiss the ground." So there are many ways to respond to global warming and develop respect for Mother Earth.

My list of suggestions are only a beginning to what can be done to change the situation. I start with small, doable actions like recycle, reduce and reuse what we buy. Our city, Minneapolis, has one sort recycling. Reusing jars can reduce your recycling even. Composting when you can is important. Minneapolis has collection sites for some neighborhoods for food waste which is composted and used in our beautiful parks.

Planting trees is so crucial to mitigating global warming. Trees increase oxygen levels and reduce CO2 levels. If you can't plant a tree, then donate to an organization which plants trees.

Turning off lights in rooms you are not using is another simple way of reducing effects of global warming. Use LED and full spectrum incandescent bulbs instead of CFLs. A full spectrum bulb will last 2 years and is pretty energy efficient. CFLs emit mercury which affect your health and also is a disposal problem since mercury is bad for the environment. LEDs are most energy efficient and, like full spectrum bulbs, do not contain mercury.

Use natural cleaning supplies, such as: borax, baking soda, olive oil, vinegar, essential oils and many other natural ones available at food coops and natural food stores. Many grocery stores stock these products, too. They are healthier, cheaper, safer and more effective. A study at the University of MInnesota found none of the chemical cleaners to be effective in killing germs and many of these chemicals cause cancer and other health conditions.

Eat organically as much as possible. It is more expensive than conventional food, but health wise it is worth it and better for the environment. I am a low income individual who belongs to the Wedge Coop. They have a special membership for low income individuals. When I buy bulk foods, I save a lot of money by consuming only what I really need. I have been a member of the food coop movement for years. Just letting people know that you do not need to belong to the coop to buy food at the coop.

I take mass transit, while others buy cars with better gas mileage. Some people can afford hybrids and electric cars. Do whatever you can afford. All of us can make a difference with our individual actions. We also need to contact our local representatives and mayor about their support for environmental causes.

Finally, go to a park and experience nature's beauty and energies. You will learn about animals, plants and trees in their natural environment. You will experience the Kingdom and God (Krishna) Consciousness.




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    • radhapriestess profile image

      radhapriestess 9 months ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thanks for reading and appreciating what I am trying to accomplish. The state of mind an activist has is important in obtain any great goal and Gandhi is a great role model. He inspires people even today in the USA and other countries to solve problems. I am happy to see people using his methods of social change. They are certainly effective and the Gita is key to accomplishing great action in the world.

    • Dyhannah profile image

      Dyhannah 9 months ago from Texas

      Amazing article radhapriestess with simple ideas on a complicated topic. The quotes of and spiritual references selected are inspiring and thought provoking. This is important work!! Beautiful...