… has to be more than a slogan*.
Most spiritual people I know have this built-in urge to impart good in the world.
Like everything, it is one thing to want it, another to do it. This is about striking the balance between holding one foot in the physical world, one foot in the spiritual.
Sitting around praying and meditating for change is great, but it needs to be balanced by also getting up, going out, and acting on it. The idealist part of me has tempered with age to be more practical. Your whole life shouldn’t be consumed with activism. You can take it too far.
There are a million causes and they will go on forever. Pick the ones that are most important – to you. Just a few.
Be realistic. Find simple ways, built into the actions you already take, to give a little extra to your fellow beings that are sharing this great experience called life and help the world.
*I am aware Gandhi never spoke those words. However, it is a saying popular in spiritual and hope-inspired circles. His most likely actual words were, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
There are many biographies about the man and should you read one, you will find that he not only followed a strict, disciplined regiment of personal transformation but he was a devout activist for social transformation. For him, the two were married. Change yourself AND change the world. One does not happen auto-magically because of the other… but he did start with himself first. “We need not wait to see what others do.” Find your own transformation first, and then see what assistance you can lend to others struggling for the same.
With that said, here’s a few social change facilitators I actively support…
I have been using Kiva (Kiva.org) for years and they are amazing! It is an easy way to give towards something that has the potential to make a huge difference, with very little money.
Seriously, there were times in the not-so-distant past it was hard to part with $5 because it inches you that much closer to $0. Put in perspective, I realize it’s nothing. What’s more, it can do way more for someone else where that is a days wage, than for me. Even if I struggle a little bit more, there’s still no comparison solely by the abundant amount of opportunity I have available just because of the country I live in.
It isn’t fair, but it’s the current state of the world.
Kiva gives people access to loans where they otherwise wouldn’t. You are investing in the hopes, dreams and success of others – all over the world. What is better than that?
And because Kiva leverages the power of numbers, nobody has to give a huge amount if they can’t afford it.
My preference is to invest in businesses and women. Businesses because it’s the ripple effect. If their business does well, you are also helping their family. If it does REALLY well, they hire more people, and then you are helping their community!
One action with the greatest potential to benefit and influence way more than the initial contact point.
I almost always support women because I feel that, unfortunately, there is a bias in many countries that favors men. In job opportunities, in pay, and in education. My energy, my money, goes a little way to restoring balance and planting seeds for the future.
Give in whatever way inspires you. Try it out!
There are probably other apps that do the same thing, but Charity Miles (CharityMiles.org) is what I use.
It goes back to the ripple effect and keeping it simple. Find something you already do and look for creative ways to piggyback off of it so more things happen with your one action.
Here’s what I mean. Right now I’m running around 3 miles a day. I’m going to run no matter what, but with the app, I can earn a charity .25 cents for every mile.
You can also walk or bike.
So, maybe you don’t have a lot of money or time to give to good causes you believe in. Fine! Charity Miles has corporate sponsors who have bought in to this reward system, where you run, and they donate for you.
I’m sure they have a set amount they would give anyway, so of course there is something in it for them. They get free advertising if you post their sponsorship messages to social media.
I don’t care. I’m happy to do it because I believe in the end result. Plus, I get to choose the charity they give to! At 3 miles per day, that’s .75 cents or $22.50 a month. From one person!
They need the sponsors to make it work. I noticed some of the charities have fallen off their list that I used to run for. So, don’t be stingy even if you don’t love the sponsor. Love the cause. Work the system. Get the money to the charity of your choice, they have a lot of good ones on there.
Who knows, maybe it will even give you the extra incentive to bike, walk or run because that’s your dose of daily giving!
This last one isn’t so much a charity, as it is a cause. One you should feel strongly about and find ways to support.
In the U.S. this is most often discussed under the Dream Act, but it is essentially the issue of immigration, which every country has and everyone should support making more open and transparent.
I’ll try to temper my inner activist and keep it short. It comes down to this…
If you say you are a spiritual person then you must, on some level, know that everything is connected. Every single thing in the universe, on a deep level, is intimately joined to everything else.
Nationalism, the absurd social programming and worship of flags, and the love of invisible, arbitrary lines drawn in the dirt which act as walls are poisons of a dying time. Creations of a dark and barbaric age.
It needs to go and not soon enough. Good riddance!
We can either move towards a state of greater cooperation, cohesion and harmony or delve into a broken, fragmented, competitive mess.
To think that even a single country on this planet, no matter how ‘great’, is anything at all compared to the enormity of all that exists in the universe is so pathetically small, and short sighted, it’s hard to comprehend.
The greatness we can achieve together, as one people, and one planet is unimaginable!
We were born for the stars. To move amongst them. To sail on an ocean of sparkling cosmic dust, exploring not even new worlds, but new systems. To live amongst them as a single people!
Yet we squabble and fight over a speck of dirt in some dark, forgotten atomic particle in the corner of one galaxy out of a quadrillion. And for what?
Because a bunch of people got possessive and starting fighting over resources they believed to be limited and scarce so they drew boundaries and divided everyone.
Countries should exist as ideas. The adoption and discussion of those ideas can define the structure we need. There is no reason to lock us in invisible cages.
I am a human being. Born freely, on this earth. Nobody should tell me where in my life I can travel, where I can work or love, or where I can live. The whole world is ours! If there is any claim to ‘citizenship’, it is to planet Earth. Not some isolated fief that thinks itself grand and brands us in ownership… forcing us to forsake all others.
The current debate on immigration is centered on fear, scarcity, racism and small-mindedness. We give up our freedom all too willingly, when we seek to keep others out, we cage ourselves in.
When we set boundaries amongst other humans, we solidify walls of separation when, as spiritual people, we should be removing them!
As spiritual people, we must make small steps towards a vision of the future we know to be right. It doesn’t mean we will get there in one stroke, but a step must be taken. Could it potentially cause discomfort and some chaos as the world reorganizes? Of course.
But that will happen no matter what, which is why we must have the courage now, in our lifetimes… to set that vision in motion. It doesn’t lessen the blow to keep pushing it off to future generations. To continually live in this dark, separated, barbaric age. We must recognize a universal, fundamental truth… that we are not divided!
When we begin to take steps to see that in reality, the greatness we are destined for becomes realized.
One people. One world. One bright, shining, shared future.