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Social Activism Is A Spiritual Practice

How does one find peace through spiritual practice while being a social activist? Sylvia Bornstein, a Jewish Buddhist, Teacher and Psychotherapist said this:

“Social Activism is a spiritual practice.”

There it was — an answer to the question I’ve sought for years while trying to reconcile the activist part of me with my desire for peace through spiritual growth.

Every day I hear stories that make me angry. I’d almost convinced myself that anger is a negative emotion, so I naturally assumed the stories keeping me awake at night were also keeping me from moving forward on my spiritual path. I don’t believe that anymore. If people hadn’t got angry over social injustice, rich people would still own slaves, African Americans would still have separate schools and would ride at the back of the bus. Thankfully Rosa Parks got angry. She would no longer stand while white men sat. If people weren’t pushed into social activism we may still round up immigrants and put them in internment camps if we don't like what their country of origin is doing. Women wouldn’t have the right to vote if someone hadn’t fought for that right.


Compassion for others pushes us to attempt to make a difference in the lives of the marginalized, the persecuted and oppressed in our society. Those with the smallest voices are often afraid to speak for themselves, especially when there are louder voices making them feel like what they really need, is something they don’t deserve.

I'm drawn to the kind of spirituality that honors each unique individual regardless of color, gender, belief, nationality, body type, or quirks that set us apart. Seeing people being singled out and persecuted because they are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender, or obese, or African American, Chinese, poor, etc, kicks my activism into high gear and calls me to action – to get up and do something to make life better for those not as lucky as I am to be a white, straight, American woman with a decent job and health insurance.


It’s time for me to finally believe Sylvia Bornstein’s eloquent words “Social activism is a Spiritual practice. I will continue to find that quiet place within where I commune with my Higher Self and get renewed and transformed daily.

Until the majority of the people on the planet can thrive and are no longer oppressed by those whose only goal is power and control, I will remain a social activist. And with luck, my spiritual practice will be a source of strength – allowing me to continue until the reason for the fight is gone.


Please click HERE to see the entire article

99:0.3 Religion did approve the occasional social reforms of past centuries, but in the twentieth century it is of necessity called upon to face adjustment to extensive and continuing social reconstruction. Conditions of living alter so rapidly that institutional modifications must be greatly accelerated, and religion must accordingly quicken its adaptation to this new and ever-changing social order.

And see HERE to read "Religion and the Religionist"

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