Friday, February 25, 2011

If Your're Seeking Freedom

It is encouraging to see citizens of several middle eastern countries stand up to their dictators. The joy such people feel in their political success is naturally tempered, at least by observers, with the question "What next?" Still I think most applaud their sacrifices, courage, and victories.

We tend to think of these changes in terms of their outer form and effects. We don't necessarily reflect on the change of attitude and awareness that precedes and allows for the outrage and revolt that follows. The American revolution which has been studied by so many and so well documented shows how the emerging sense of self-identity and universal principles of individual liberties and self-worth were the basis for the explosion of energy that made that revolution a success. The odds, statistical, economic, military, and strategic, against the revolution's success were overwhelming.

The real revolution which could be said to have begun (admittedly an artifice of creating a sense of time and history) with the American revolution is far from over. That which we take for granted in a country like America, is far from the norm in most countries. In this country, the boundaries of individual liberty are outwardly affirmed but in reality exist only upon the fragile membrane of consciousness, attitude, and social consensus. The raw tools of governmental control or abuse exist like bacteria or parasites that inhabit our bodies. It would take only an infection of fear, economic collapse, threat of war, pandemic or natural disaster to trigger the forces of governmental control. Those tools are the immense structure of law enforcement, surveillance, and raw military power.

My real point and thought for this day, however, is that action, change, and revolution flow from a rising tide of human consciousness that sparks courageous, self-sacrificing action. This can be expressed by heroic spiritual dedication, creative and bold new scientific, artistic, or business ventures, as well as political movements.

A revolution in religion is growing like a slowly moving tsunami far out at sea heading towards land. More and more people are tired of sectarianism, empty ritual, and fragile dogmas. The clash of religious cultures which we see around the world is nothing compared to what's coming. An outer "enemy" is the easiest to identify and to attack, especially when inhabiting a separate continent, nation, or culture. The more difficult challenges are those which come from within. Religionists save their greatest venom for their own rivals, just as in politics, business, art, and science.

In time, those who think in more universal terms (and I don't mean the uncommitted armchair philosophers) will be the target of more traditional religionists. In every traditional faith there are those (and their numbers are, I believe, growing steadily) who reject the narrowness of the majority of their faith. The practice of meditation, e.g., represents a revolution against the need to depend upon a priestly class, outward rituals, or dogmas and creeds. When the meditation revolution rises to general visibility, the intensity of attacks in the sphere of religion, such as we have seen in politics in the last one hundred years, will be seen.

Trouble is the "new thought" movement represented by meditation and attitudes of universality does not, by its very nature, engage in fighting. Yet, nonetheless, within the ranks of traditional faiths such people will naturally rise to positions of leadership and visibility and their acceptance by hierarchy will be far from easy.

So, whether you hope for revolution in ecology or global warming acceptance and change, politics, religion, art or science, understand that it is a change in consciousness that is the foundation for all lasting and meaningful change. Much more and much greater change is needed on our planet if humanity (and its non-human fellow inhabitants) are to survive and thrive.

Prepare yourself for great changes. Change is by defintion destructive. Don't think this recent string of seemingly "easy" political victories is a sign of the ease by which other changes will come. Don't forget that many gave their lives, were imprisoned, tortured, or deprived of liberty and means of support to affect the changes we've been witnessing.

It takes courage and cooperation with others of like mind. Don't hide in the sand. Prepare yourself; change yourself; and work with others. Ultimately, it is God's power that sustains this universe and our heartbeats. Live more in God-consciousness and you will be free already and secure forever.

Blessings, Nayaswami Hriman