I was in a discussion earlier this week about the presidential inauguration that took place today. During the course of the conversation, it was noted that millions of people remain on edge about the future and are vehemently opposed to the new president. They want to do something about it.
One of the participants in the discussion shared that she was approached by a person who planned to participate in one of the Women's Marches on the day after the inauguration. Although sympathetic to the cause, she felt uneasy about the approach the person was taking about the march. This approach appeared to be from a consciousness that was reactionary, demonizing, attacking, loathing and belittling. (Note: This is not the intent of the principals who are leading the effort of the Women's March on Washington. The stated goal is "not to give the next president that much focus, but for the world to see us in focus.")
Frederick Douglass, the social reformer, abolitionist and orator, was once asked for his advice on how to move forward in life. He responded by saying, "Agitate. Agitate. Agitate." This is sage advice from a true statesman.
Yet, I can understand unease around this idea. The discomfort likely is explained in the words of architect, writer and futurist Buckminster Fuller: "You never change something by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
There is great power in directing our energy where we want to go, instead of only focusing it on the circumstance or condition we don't like or want. Spiritually, wherever we direct our mental energy, that's what we tend to produce. So if all we do is direct our energy toward what we don't want, we may unwittingly become agents of that very thing because we infuse it with more energy.
This is likely the reason Mother Teresa said, "I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me." She is reminding us that we can't change reality by fighting it. Or bring about the kind of communities we desire by attacking the parts of the old ones we don't like. If we are unhappy with the way the world is now, the solution is to build something new and give our energy to that.
If we are to have any hope of building a world and a society that works for all, we don't merely agitate and fight the existing system, policies or politicians. We have to envision and invent something new. As Alan Kay, a pioneer in computer science, aptly said over 46 years ago, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
We must have a God-inspired vision to invent the new model. Then, with patience and determination, we build it, even if others around us don't understand how it will work.
During the course of the conversation I referred to, a question was raised. Should Spiritual Life Center actively engage in enrolling people in the upcoming march, in light of the varying motives of some of its participants? Ultimately, we decided that the decision to march is an individual one that each person must make after going through a personal discernment process. Plus, we also realize there are members of our diverse spiritual community who support the new president.
If someone decides to participate in the march or any form of activism, what's most important is the energetic intention they bring to the experience. In other words, are they giving their attention to that which they don't want and fortifying it with more energy? Or are they giving their focus and energy to that which they want to see in our world?
Realizing energy flows where our attention goes, we don't just fight the existing system, we build a better one.
Peace and Blessings,
P.S. Have you seen our latest video?
We had fun creating this one, and we're grateful to Y.O.U. teen Cameron Lawson for his video production talents. If you are ready to lend your energy toward the change you wish to see in the world, please plan to join us at "Stepping Into Our Vision in 2017," a congregational meeting this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. We'll serve snacks right after second service to keep your energy up, and then we'll gather in the sanctuary to discuss SLC's accomplishments in 2016 and the next evolution of our spiritual community.