Posted by: smstrouse | November 19, 2016

Feeding the Activist Soul

s-l300In the wake of the presidential election, I am convinced of two things.

#1: It will take commitment to actions that will resist any and all attempts to undermine the rights and dignity of all people and of the whole creation. I am grateful for all the organizations that are mobilizing people of faith. One example is Faithful America, whose mission is “organizing the faithful to challenge such extremism and renew the church’s prophetic role in building a more free and just society.” Another is Sojourners, which has just published “10 Commitments of Resistance in the Trump Era.” There are many others. I find hope among the weeds of despair in being part of a movement of faithful resistance.

#2: It will be impossible for me to carry out #1 without a spiritual practice to keep me centered. I don’t have a one-size-fits-all recommendation for everyone to follow. But I can share what’s keeping me sane right now.

From the Buddhists, I learned to create my own loving kindness meditation. Mmetta1y version is:
May I be happy and healthy.
May I be grateful.
May I be transformed.
Loving and compassionate
Open to your Spirit
Mindful of your Presence
May I be an instrument of your Peace.

As I repeat the meditation, I reflect on which one or two aspects is out of alignment at this time. Often, this will open up my awareness of feelings or concerns that I wasn’t paying attention to. I can then spend extra time in prayer or conversation with Presence about that. I have always found being an instrument of peace much easier after this practice. Plus you don’t need a special place or position to do it. In the car, walking down the street, lying in bed: it’s all good.

From the Sufis I’ve been learning to listen to my heart (trying to anyway). With each out breath of “la ilaha” and in breath of “illallah” or “there is nothing” and “but You,” I feel the peace and calm of simply being. This was the mediation that was most calming for me last week.

monk-in-heart-cave-meditatingFrom my pagan sisters and brothers, I am learning how to better listen to nature, to feel rooted to the earth under my feet while my arms reach up into the sky. It’s not always easy in the midst of the city, but not impossible.

From my own Christian tradition, I find strength in the community, my congregation when we gather for worship. The singing, the prayers, the concerns for one another and for our world lift my spirit. The commitment of the whole gives strength to me as an individual (and I hope to each of us) to be resilient in the face of adversity.

We face extremely challenging times ahead. But I am convinced that as people of faith, we are up to the challenge. The light will shine in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.




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