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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Monday, May 1, 2017

Political Change Starts with INNER CHANGE

By Cary Bayer

Spend a few minutes on Facebook these days, or listen to cable TV news shows, and you’ll likely hear the profound discouragement of so many people.  In these politically polarized times, millions of people in these Divided States of America voted for the person who won the popular vote, but feel disenfranchised and alienated by the new President and his Administration. This is evidenced in massive demonstrations, overflowing town hall meetings held by Congressmen and Senators, and flooded phone banks at their offices, as well.  

This ennui inspired me to create a workshop, inspired by the spiritually-sourced political movements of Mahatma Gandhi in India and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on our shores. These two visionary giants created enormous political breakthroughs: the removal of England as colonial masters from India and the establishment of civil rights and equality for African Americans in our land.

For those on the Left left out of the current political process, I say turn your outrage into constructive action. That’s what Gandhi did for his Indian countrymen and Rev. King did for his brothers and sisters.

Gandhi and King both knew that you can, as the proverb goes, catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. So I tell people in my workshop, “Love Trumps Hate: Tools for Spiritual & Political Empowerment,” that it’s highly valuable to awaken a higher consciousness to maintain inner peace while creating political change.  Mother Theresa refused to participate in anti-war demonstrations, when invited to do so by activists and organizers, but said she’d be more than happy to lend her efforts to events that were pro-peace. The distinction is an important one, one that is wise for those in the Democratic Party to heed today.

People are surprised that I created this spiritual/political class when, a life coach who teaches breakthroughs in purpose and personal power, prosperity, and relationships and communication, and a meditation teacher who presents a meditation technique to develop inner peace, I’ve never taught anything political before. I reply that I’ve never seen such division in our country before, and I’ve never seen such discouragement since the ‘60s when a whole generation was opposing an unjust war in Vietnam. The level of discourse in our country has sunk so low that people have “unfriended” friends on Facebook and from their personal lives because of differences in political philosophy, so we have to cool down our rhetoric and realize that we are united as Americans, even if we are divided by beliefs. As Gandhi said, “I believe that it is impossible to end hatred with hatred.”

I tell folks that my class is twofold in purpose: to empower the disenfranchised spiritually so that they stay inspired and resist falling into despair, and to arm them politically with constructive actions that they can take so that their representatives truly and persistently hear their messages. To do so with peace in your heart makes a big difference. As Dr. King put it, “Nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force, which makes for social transformation.” He added, “The method of nonviolence seeks not to humiliate and not to defeat the oppressor, but it seeks to win his friendship and his understanding.”

The class, I tell them, concludes with the learning of a technique to help attendees come to peace with the President, even while resisting his agenda. Forgiveness, after all, is essential when you want to change something: first accept it, then you can change it more effectively. This goes for political change as much as it does for weight loss, and any other habit of yours that you’d like to let go of. As Gandhi said of forgiveness, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who taught me how to teach meditation, said that a democratic country gets the political leader they deserve based on their level of consciousness.

So, if you don’t like the leader you have, raise your consciousness, forgive the leader, and work to create change in this beautiful system of democracy that we so cherish.