Vision 06… Occupy Together: A Time for Heart Work


a Moment for Wisdom…


A Moment for…


 “To find the way, close your eyes, listen closely, and attend with your heart.” 









a Moment with Sharif…





This is a time for heart work.


I had an experience at a Zen meditation many years ago.  During the dharma talk, the convening monk kept asking the group, over and over again: “Who are you?  What do you want?”


As he asked this, I noticed myself getting increasingly irritated.  Not because of his questions – I was irritated by my lack of answers.Every formulation that I made to those two questions was PARTIAL.  Yes, I’m a man, I’m African-American, I’m six feet tall, I speak English, I have college degrees, I’m hungry right now… Those things are true, but that’s not who I am.


Yes, I want to be able to pay my bills as they fall due, I want dinner sometime in the next few hours, I want “world peace”… but that’s not what I want.


I believe the “Occupy Together” (OT) folks, individually and as a whole, would benefit from asking and attempting to answer these questions.  Yes, most of them are white, most of them are young, most of them lean to the Left, many of them have been negatively impacted by the economics of greed and avarice… Those things are true, but that’s not who they are.


Most of them show up to the various encampments with hand-lettered signs and posters, denouncing and/or advocating various positions.  Those statements are true, but few of those statements say what they want.


So… With regard to OT participants:  who are you?  What do you want?  And why is this important?


(It is NOT important to answer these questions for the satisfaction of pundits and the mainstream media.These are internal questions, heart-questions… not something that the TV talking heads can use to sell soap at six o’clock.)


Most of us read the book, “Lord of the Flies” while still in high school.  You remember the story: a group of young English boys is marooned on an island, where they quickly adopt all of the negative characteristics of the society they left behind. 


Would we do any different?  Without self-examination, without looking into our own hearts and rooting out the Breaker consciousness and culture that resides in each and every one of us (including me), “Occupy Together” will re-create the politics and economics of the existing society.


Whatever is inside us will come out.So, it’s important to check what’s inside.  “…close your eyes, listen closely, and attend with your heart.”


Until now, OT has been focused on the abuses and indignities of the US economic system.  Rightly so.  However, to move forward, to actually SOLVE those problems, we need to make sure that we are not harboring the disease of which we complain.  OT needs to do this heart-work, so that we all truly UNDERSTAND the nature of the problem.  (Hint: the problem is NOT “Wall Street greed”.  That is a SYMPTOM, not the disease.  The disease goes to the very core of our existence – our delusion that we are separate from, and better than, others.)


So, WILL OT do this serious introspection and heart-work?  My bet is on “yes”… from the handful of OT “spark plugs” that I’ve encountered, I think that there is an understanding that this work needs to be done, and a willingness to take it into the larger arenas of OT work. 


Doing this internal work will have a side benefit – helping OT identify sociopaths, people with mental issues (who should be “included”, but not given the keys to the car…), people with hidden agendas, police agents and corporate agents. (If I were CEO of a Fortune 100 company, I would certainly hire small army of agents, to report on the internal workings of OT, as well as to skew the General Assemblies away from anything that could grow “teeth”.)


Having people do their internal work in the context of the OT activities will be an important step in helping OT develop into a true and powerful movement.














All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.








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One Response to Vision 06… Occupy Together: A Time for Heart Work

  1. Maja says:

    Hi Sharif,

    Thank you for your daily thought provoking insights.

    I would like to share this on FB but can’t seem to get it to work. Pushing the ‘send’ button is not working. Any suggestions?

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