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Sharon Salzberg and angel Kyodo williams discuss spiritual activism and love

Love Everyone: A Guide for Spiritual Activists

From Lion’s Roar

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What in the world could it mean to love everybody? To love somebody that you actually don’t like, that you’re going to fight and protest against?

Rev. angel Kyodo williams: You don’t have to like anyone at all! [Laughter] People always tease me about this. I hardly like anyone. But I love everyone. And that is possible. In fact, it’s the very thing that bridges the spiritual life and the activist life.

When I came to Buddhist practice, I thought that when people were at the pinnacle of their practice they would see the need to respond to the problems in world. Isn’t that what would happen once you get there, wherever “there” is?

But that wasn’t my experience, so I switched my focus to the activists. They were trying to change the world, and I felt that if I could support them with meditation and awareness practices, then they could do it more effectively.

What I ran into, of course, was that they pretty much didn’t love anyone. [Laughter] So love is what I’ve focused on, because in social justice work the only option is loving everyone. Otherwise, there is no path to real change. Whether we’re leaning toward the spiritual community or the activist community, what we need is the combination of a mind that wants to change the world and a mind that is steady, clearseeing, and seeks change from a place of love, rather than from a place of anger.

 

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