Home > Blog: Currents & Futures > Beyond Activism: Your Five Pathways for a Transformed World


Traditional ways of activism are yielding decreasing returns.  Yet the need to “do something” has never been greater.

Sharif mic 01 I say this as a former activist.  I’ve marched, demonstrated, protested, sat-in…  starting at eleven years old.  With my organization (Black People’s Unity Movement), we were the only high school students to take over a major university (Rutgers).

That worked then.  It doesn’t work now.  Now, we need new actions, powered by a new philosophy.  The Philosophy of Inclusivity.

Just as “Rules for Radicals” gave us the exclusivist, confrontational pathway for change in the Sixties, here are a few suggestions for an activism that can lead to a world that works for all beings.


Pathway #1:  Work to Change the ENERGY, Not Just the WORDS (presenting conditions)

Pathway #2:  Work to HEAL, Not BLAME.

Pathway #3:  Work for GREATNESS, Not Just Problem-Fixing.

Pathway #4:  Work for INCLUSIVITY, Not Further Separation.

Pathway #5:  Work to Release the SHADOW and Embrace the LIGHT.


Pathway #1:  Work to Change the ENERGY, Not Just the WORDS (presenting conditions)

We overly focus on words and actions.  These are indeed important, but more important is the ENERGY that feeds the words and deeds.

At the time I write this, the University of Minnesota is under media scrutiny, one of its fraternities disbanded, the former frat brothers facing suspension or expulsion.  The catalyst for these actions was the chanting of racist slogans (on video).

It is quite appropriate for both the university and the fraternity take decisive action in this matter.  However, there is a deeper question presented:  WHAT IS THE ENERGY THAT LIES BENEATH THE TAUNTS AND SLOGANS?  Everything is based on energy – finding and shifting the energy is the only guarantee that the actions will not be repeated.

Racism, sexism, poverty, violence, suicide… all of these conditions are based on ENERGY.  They will not transform until we work to transform the energy.

Tens of millions have done transformative energy work – on themselves.  Now, it is time to apply the energy techniques on our entire society.

 Pathway #2:  Work to HEAL, Not BLAME.

In the current furor over the police killings in Ferguson and beyond, the focus has been on the black men as victims and the white police as villains.  This focus will perpetuate the stereotypes (on all sides).

In reality, all are victims.  And, paradoxically, all are victimizers.

Decades ago, we came to the realization that alcoholism was a disease.  We began to treat the illness, rather than blame the victim for his/her weakness of character.

It is time for us to do the same with our Shadows.

People are not “bad” or “evil”.  They are SICK.  They need MEDICINE.

As Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has said on numerous occasions, it is easy to feel sympathy and compassion for the victims of atrocities.  It is harder to be compassionate toward the perpetrators of atrocities.

No one is born alcoholic.  No one is born racist, violent or suicidal.

When we play the Blame Game, we ignore the illness and delay the healing.

When we apply the Medicine of Compassion, we find that there is a dual healing – the person suffering from separation or violence is healed… and so are we.


Pathway #3:  Work for GREATNESS, Not Just Problem-Fixing.

Those on the Left think that those on the Right are the problem.  And vice versa.  Some believe environmental degradation is our major malady.  Others point to social justice issues and the erosion of our communities.

They are all mistaken.  Our biggest problem is status quo-ism.  This is the true challenge of our times.  This gives fuel to all of our challenges and delays our growth into  a species that is a true partner on our planet.

Many of us believe that all we have to do is fix a few problems and we all will be fine.  Others believe that the problems are so deeply engrained, there are no fixes – so we should just continue to live our lives.  Both positions are central to status quo-ism.  Both positions are simply different ways to avoid transformative change.

Rather than cling to a failing status quo, our true greatness lies in our Meta-Vision: holding a vision of our future that is inclusive and transcends our individual lives.  More than “fixing problems”, we must understand WHY we are fixing the problems.  More than removing the Shadows, we must see the LIGHT.

 Pathway #4:  Work for INCLUSIVITY, Not Further Separation.

In a world where it is so easy to blame others for our problems, we must rise above the temptation.

The failed change strategies (of the Left and Right) are predicated on having a group to “blame” for the world’s problems.  The groups avoid those places where they agree.

We must transcend the dichotomies.  Yes, there are real disagreements between people.  However, there are many, many more places where all sides can agree and work together, for the benefit of all.

 Pathway #5:  Work to Release the SHADOW and Embrace the LIGHT.

We know how to apply healing energy on a personal level.  Tens of millions in this country have used  healing energies like reiki, qigong, yoga, meditation, focused prayer and other modalities.

It is now time to apply the same energy, collectively, to our entire society.  It is time to move beyond individuality and ego, and bring about holistic energy – the energy of the group/species.

At Commonway, we have been developing group healing techniques to release America’s historical Shadows (Violence; Lack; the Other; Despair), while bringing forward our Lights (Peace & Security; Enoughness & Abundance; Inclusive Community; Deep Fulfillment).

By spreading this work, our intention is to release (not just talk about) the Shadows, and to bring forward the Light.

We invite you to join us.


Starting 26 March, we will begin our fourth series of “Releasing the Shadow; Embracing the Light”.  For 8 consecutive Thursdays, we will learn and practice our energy techniques for societal medicine – ending our Shadows.

For the first time, this program will be offered to ALL via online presentations.  This will allow our energy to move throughout the entire country!

Please join us.  Please register for “Releasing the Shadow; Embracing the Light.”

For more information:  Shadow-Light Main Page.


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