Activism

“Your job is to be a loving rock, so they can push against you and pull against you, and you stay rooted in love.

-Ram Dass

Activism plays a big role in my spiritual practice and my dharma, whether that means political action- attending protests, tree sits, or writing about capitalism, or social action- working with those who are homeless, dying, in prison, or other marginalized populations.

I am currently developing programs for prisoners that explore non-dogmatic ways to feel and allow the Sacred in our lives.

I also offer similar workshops and other mindfulness trainings to activists, social workers, and others who are doing the much-needed work of easing suffering and transforming society.  This can take the form of workplace mindfulness, deep listening, or my most recent offering- Dharma and Love: a night of kirtan exploring the central themes of the Bhagavad Gita and how to deeply engage with a world in crisis.

This is vital work, but its not easy. It doesn’t seem to matter how many retreats I go on or how much I practice, burn-out is always right around the corner. Sometimes it can all be too much- too much stress, too much suffering. It can be unbearable.

So in these workshops I don’t offer anything close to a cure for this. However, I strongly feel that there are powerful contemplative practices that can help us develop a healthy relationship to stress, to anger, and to suffering, both in others and our own.

For social workers and other direct care staff, these practices can help us to truly be with the person we are caring for. By learning to be with our own self, we can learn to do the same for others, and this offers a quality of authenticity and richness that nourishes everyone involved.

For political activists, I think many of us have been turned off from spiritual practice because of the way we have seen it manifested in our culture. I think it can be revelatory to learn that these wisdom traditions are actually quite radical when stripped clean of their influence from our dominant, exploitative culture.

This is not self-help, and its not a distraction from the unbearable atrocity that exists in this world. Its a way to face atrocity head on, a way to bear the unbearable, and a way to gain the energy, courage and compassion necessary to continue this sacred work.

If you’re interested to talk to me more about this, write to me

sitaramdass108@gmail.com

much love,

Sitaram Dass