Thursday, 23 February 2012

Thoughts on Anger in Protest Activism

Anger is not the central issue. It is more a symptom of not being in touch with our hearts, and of seeing the other, as the Dalai Lama said, as an independant absolute. He spoke about protest being justified at times when there are situations which are causing suffering, and there may be a need to use harsh, ferocious words or actions to communicate protest. When that is motivated by compassion it is valid. So I would prefer to focus on the need to stay in touch with the heart and compassion as the motivating force behind everything we do, because I think this gets to the heart of my concern.
I would not call it 'altruism', or 'selflessness', as the Dalai Lama did, since that signifies putting others first, before me, implying sacrifice. The way I see it is when I am aware that we are all one family, I see my welfare inextricably bound up with the welfare of others. I see them as My Family. When I show them compassion I feel good. You could even say I do it for selfish reasons. Who cares? We all benefit, and that's the point.
So protest has to be moderated by this underlying recognition that my enemy is not my enemy but is part of my family. I may use harsh words or actions, but all the time I need to remember I do not do it to punish them, but to benefit them and me.
How do we establish that we are all one family?
Dalai Lama says there is a reality which is to do with 'knowing', but is not established by scientific measurement, or intellect. That reality which we know in our bones, in our heart, is what we need to access, and keep contact with. It is our innate wisdom, buried deep under layers of 'knowledge' learned in school and accumulated through our years of socialisation.
I was very moved by the Dalai Lama pointing to his mother as the one who first gave him a taste of this compassion.  Through his education and study he could acknowledge the importance of her input. How many men would be able to say - actually he didn't use the word 'love', he said 'affection' - that they had imbibed this from their mothers. This aspect is to do with reconnecting with the feminine, something which may come more naturally to a woman. but is certainly not exclusive to them.

Recording of Dalai Lama 


1 comment:

  1. Hi Anna
    this is the Weaver from OCCA who hopes to meet up with you as you suggested when you come up to Scotland next week.
    Have lost your email address it seems! Could you please send it to me again?
    pls use for getting in touch.

    looking forward to meet you