I recently watched a film about the events surrounding the defence of the countryside during the building of the Newbury bi-pass, the last great protest against road building in the UK. It was stirring stuff. I recognised many of the activists as people I know in Oxford now, but hadn’t known this part of their history. It’s a tender connection. Inspirational examples like this encourage me to ask myself questions about my own activism. Like many I feel passionately about broadening the common response to the inherent Beauty of this planet and all who are present in it. At this moment of my life this may not include chaining myself to a tree, but who knows? But it brings up this question about activism, about what is my response
Activism is very much a verb form, a doing form. Rather than giving it the boundary of ‘my’ activism, it seems much more fecund to simply ask what is active. We usually use the word in the sense that it is to bring something about that is not yet present. But it seems more propitious to take it as meaning what is already active. The blessing that comes from this sense of what is already alive, is that it is naturally contagious. There is no shortage of life and life wants to communicate itself freely. It’s effect is so much bigger than anything that can be circumscribed as ‘my’ activism. Listening to the people who took part many years later, it seemed clear that they were very effected by their involvement. They hadn’t lost. Curiously they had gained. The opening to life they discovered, which wasn’t really about protest but about acknowledging what was alive, still gave them momentum. There was much more of a sense of love rather than failure.
We engage in movement practice, meditation, contemplation and whatever else seems to draw out this opening to life. We are culturally primed to approach these with the the sense that something needs to happen that is not already happening. How much clearer it is when we approach what we practice, with the intrinsic knowledge that life is coming up with a suggestion of how to meet it. Sometimes this includes protest, but protest doesn’t have to be in opposition. It can be a vote for rather than a vote against. Mostly when we want something to change, it is because we judge it as lacking something. How would it be if we approached this matter of change from the perspective of what is alive rather than what we think is missing. And what better place can we start from than with ourselves.
Starting at the end of January I am offering to share four weekly evening meetings devoted to deepening meditation. It is subtitled ‘Loving Being’. The intention is to follow the sentiment followed above, that there is nothing to be banished. We are naturally present with all of our humanity and this active principal is completely congruous. It wants to communicate Itself since it is who we already deeply are. These sessions are going to take place in the warmth of the Community Gardens in East Oxford which is quite a special environment. All are welcome and details are on the flyer below.
A Kirtan has been planned as a pre-Xmas celebration at Jericho Community Centre on the 15th of December. All are welcome and details are on the flyer below. If you have never tried Kirtan before, why not give it a go. It has a sense of real community.
I want to wish everyone a lovely festive season
and to thank you for all your company and support over the last year.