The Soul-Action Practice
As individuals and humanity we are in kind of trance numbed to the increasing possibility that climate change, weapons of mass destruction and violent extremism are driving humankind toward oblivion. Indeed the enemy that threatens humanity with extinction is within us – the selfishness and greed of small self (ego). Yet there is hope! I have come to realize through my work in transformative psychology, dialogue and conflict resolution with thousands of people, that each of us is not just the small self (ego); each of us is also the observing Self (the witness or soul), and from this greater Self, we can transform our destructive patterns, cultivate mindfulness and well-being, and taking personal leadership to spread compassion and stewardship.
This is SOUL-ACTION: being awake in big Self and living with respect for all life.
-- Dr. Craig F. Schindler in his book, CHOOSE HOPE, YOU MATTER
The SOUL-ACTION Practice combines the inner development of mindfulness – through cultivating inner peace, meditation and centering prayer; and the outer expansion of compassionate action – through daily acts of kindness, justice and stewardship for others and all life. The twofold practice of SOUL-ACTION – requires both meditative awareness (shifting from small self to big Self) and compassionate action (honoring Self, others and all life through daily actions).
In 1906 Mahatma Gandhi coined the word, satyagraha (soulforce) meaning the power of love-truth-soul. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught that soul-force as the central principle of nonviolent action and the Civil Rights Movement. Many teachers of wisdom, such as Mother Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, Elie Wiezel, Albert Einstein, Malala Yousafzai and the Dalai Lama affirm the direct relationship between our individual actions and healing the Earth. They declare that Soul-force - the power of awakened love/truth/soul -when lived by millions, will transform our lives and world. Our wisdom traditions affirm that our world is a spiritual democracy, e.g. the cumulative sum of all of our thoughts and actions, and thus each of us matters and we vote with our lives, As Gandhi said: “We must be the change we want for the world.”
This is the SOUL-ACTON Practice - to do both the inner and outer work – to practice mindfulness and wellness to elevate the quality of our soul and to practice compassionate action to increase the quantity of our kindness, justice and stewardship for the Great Turning. As millions of us live the Great turning that is needed, we are transforming our culture and this will shift our global policies toward values of compassion, sustainability and social justice.
How can you and I “Be the change?”
As the great saxophonist Charlie Parker put it: “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” At the heart of this book is the practice of rising above small self (ego) that objectifies self, others and all life and thus lives in a world of suffering and exploitation. The small self (ego) looks through the lens of not-enoughness and creates a world of fear, greed and hate – what Martin Buber called “the realm of I-It,” As we rise above small self with mindfulness, we shift our consciousness and action (again and again) to awaken to our greater Self (the soul or witness) and we create a world based in respect and LOVE for self, others and all life – “the realm of I-Thou.”
How can we advance the Great Turning?
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it: “Our goal is to create the Beloved Community, and this will require an inner change in our souls, and an outer change in our lives.” Both Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King affirm that Satyagraha (soul-force) -- the power of love/truth/soul –– can transform our lives and our planet. Soul-force lived in our lives is the SOUL-ACTION Practice. If we want to actualize the mountaintop vision and to build the Beloved Community, we must elevate our soul and increase our compassionate action across our generations, faith traditions and cultures.
How can we practice Soul-Action?
The global ethic -- to treat others with the kindness and respect you want to be treated -- is the very core of SOUL-ACTION. First to awaken from the trance of ego and treat your own being as sacred with respect and kindness; and second to treat other persons and all life as sacred with respect and kindness. Practicing SOUL-ACTION enables YOU to evolve your own being, and when actualized by tens of millions of people, to evolve humanity to a higher consciousness. Thus to advance the Great Turning, tens of millions of us are called to embody the higher awakening, the transformative practice of Soul-Action.