Vision 10… Spirituality and Social Activism


a Moment for Wisdom…


A Moment for…



“Spirituality is the seed, and social action is the fruit born of it.”

Vimala Thakar




a Moment with Sharif…

Greetings; The Vimala Thakar article (below) is powerful.  She absolutely NAILS the argument that I have been trying to articulate for a long time: that we must “Occupy” the space between societal activism/transformation and spiritual awareness/growth. In her life, she had impeccable credentials as an enlightened being (friend of Krishnamurti) and a committed social activist.

Many have ignored this junction, dismissing enlightenment or social activism.  Others have approached it the way that Obama approaches the political “center”: trying to bring together the two established political parties, failing to realize that they have ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST IN BEING BROUGHT TOGETHER.  They believe that they derive their power from the existence of separation, fragmentation and conflict.  (If Obama had ignored both parties, and focused on bringing the PEOPLE together, we’d be engaged in a fundamentally different political discourse.  That was his mission and that was his true strength.  Oh well…)

Thakar calls for a society-spirit BRIDGE, one that is ABOVE the current landscape, not mired in it.  Thakar’s call for “total revolution” begins to address all of humanity’s issues — not just how to get dry sleeping bags into an encampment.

Her statement is the “3-D’s” in action: direction, discipline and devotion.  And, I am SO happy that it is too long to “tweet”!  It gets us back into some very old habits — like thinking, reflecting and contemplating, as opposed to scanning and reacting. 

The balance of this “Moment” I dedicate to the wisdom Vimala Thakar, an excerpt from her article that appeared in “What is Enlightenment?” magazine.  (I edited out 60% of the article! Please take time to download and read the whole thing!) 




Vimala ThakarAwakening to Total Revolution: Enlightenment and the World Crisis

by Vimala Thakar

Awakening to Total Revolution
In a time when the survival of the human race is in question, to continue with the status quo is to cooperate with insanity, to contribute to chaos.

The call is not to one of the revolutionary formulas of the past; they have failed—why drag them out again even in new regalia?

Penetrating to the Roots of Conflict

Even though our very survival is in question, we tend to look at the crisis superficially, emotionally, sentimentally. We have tried in subtle ways to absolve ourselves of any deep responsibility for the condition of the human family.

Going Beyond Fragmentation

If there is a willingness to face these unpleasant facts, and be with these facts, then we can proceed. … Whether we like it or not, we are responsible participants in what is happening in the world.

Traditionally, there have been two separate approaches. [Here, Thakar talks about two
approaches: A “social activist” approach, concerned with changing the conditions in the world, and a “religious” approach, concerned with changing the psychological and/or spiritual health and growth of an individual. Sharif] 

People have generally followed one or the other of these two conventional approaches:
religious groups concerned with inner growth and inner revolution, and social activist groups concerned with social service.

… a real integration of social action and spirituality at a deep, innovative level has not yet happened to any significant degree.

A new challenge awaits us at the beginning of the twenty-first century: to go beyond fragmentation, to go beyond the incompatible sets of values held even by serious-minded people, to mature beyond the self-righteousness of one’s accepted approaches and be open to total living and total revolution. In this era, to become a spiritual inquirer without social consciousness is a luxury that we can ill afford, and to be a social activist without a
scientific understanding of the inner workings of the mind is the worst folly. Neither approach in isolation has had any significant success. … The challenge awaiting us is to go much deeper as human beings, to abandon superficial prejudices and preferences, to expand understanding to a global scale, integrating the totality of living, and to become aware of the wholeness of which we are a manifestation.

… The conflicts begin with minds that believe in fragmentation and are ignorant of wholeness.

… Life is not fragmented; it is not divided. … The awareness of oneness refuses to recognize separateness. … A psychic and psychological de-recognition of all manner of fragmentation is the beginning of positive social action.

Inner Freedom Is a Social Responsibility

… If we are not related to ourselves in wholeness, is it any surprise that we cannot perceive the wholeness of the world?

… The structures of society need to be transformed, but the hidden motivations and assumptions on which the structures rest need to be transformed as well. … It serves
no lasting purpose for us to change the surface structures and behaviors while the deep foundations remain decadent and unsound.

… the inner life is not a private or personal thing; it’s very much a social issue.

Inner freedom from the past, from the thought structure, from the organized, standardized
collective mind, is absolutely necessary if we are to meet one another without mistrust or distrust, without fear, to look at each other spontaneously, to listen to one another without any inhibition whatsoever.

… The total revolution we are examining is not for the timid or the self-righteous. It is for those who love truth more than pretense. It is for those who sincerely, humbly want to find a way out of this mess that we, each one of us, have created out of indifference, carelessness, and lack of moral courage.

The Choice Is Ours

Most of us are not aware of our motivations for living or our priorities for action. We drift
with the tides of societal fashions, floating in and out of social concerns at the whim of societal dictates and on the basis of images created by the media or superficial, personal desires to be helpful, useful persons. We are used to living at the surface, afraid of the depths…

We have reached the point, however, where we no longer have the luxury to indulge in
self-centered comfort and personal acquisition or to escape into religious pursuits at the cost of collective interests. For us there can be no escape, no withdrawal, no private arena in which we can turn our backs on the sorrows of humanity, saying, “I am not responsible. Others have created a mess; let them mend it.” The writing on the world’s wall is plain: “Learn to live together or in separateness you die!” The choice is ours.

… If we continue to live carelessly, indifferently, emphasizing private gain and personal
indulgence, we are essentially opting for the suicide of humanity.

We can become involved in many acts of social service, according to our resources,
without ever moving one inch from the center of our private interests; in fact, the very act of social service typically enhances self-image and self-centeredness. But we cannot become involved in true social action, which strikes at the roots of problems in the society and in the human psyche, without moving away from ego-centered motivation.

To be ready for social responsibility, we will have to be mercilessly honest with ourselves. Wherever we are, we are responsible to resist injustice, to be willing to put our comforts, securities, our lives at stake in fearless noncooperation with injustice and exploitation. … If we are submissive, clinging to our small islands of security, naturally terror will reign.

The Force of Love Is the Force of Total Revolution

A tender, loving concern for all living creatures will need to arise and reign in our hearts if any of us is to survive. And our lives will be truly blessed only when the misery of one is genuinely felt to be the misery of all. The force of love is the force of total revolution. It is the unreleased force, unknown and unexplored as a dynamic for change.

… Perhaps we have the wisdom now, the awareness that love is as essential to human beings as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. …Can we bring love into the marketplaces, into the homes, the schools, the places of business, and transform them completely? You may call it a utopian challenge, but it is the only one that will make a significant difference or that is fully worthy of the potential of whole human beings.

Compassion is a spontaneous movement of wholeness. It is not a studied decision to help the poor, to be kind to the unfortunate. Compassion has a tremendous momentum that naturally, choicelessly moves us to worthy action. …

Compassion does not manifest itself when we live on the surface of existence, when we try to piece together a comfortable life out of easily available fragments. … If we penetrate to the essentials, however, we will discover that there is nothing fundamental that differentiates any human being from another, or any human being from any other living creature. … Oneness is absolute reality; differentiation has only transitory, relative reality.

It is not sufficient that a few in society penetrate to the depths of living and offer fascinating accounts about the oneness of all beings. What is necessary in these critical times is that all sensitive and caring people make a personal discovery of the fact of oneness and allow compassion to flow in their lives. …

… The vast intelligence that orders the cosmos is available to all. …

… Revolution, total revolution, implies experimenting with the impossible. And when an
individual takes a step in the direction of the new, the impossible, the whole human race travels through that individual.

[Vimala Thakar passed on in 2009, at the age of 86.]

Article from “EnlightenNext” Magazine.  Read the entire article here:  (Or, copy and paste this into your browser:



 A Note:
Thakar’s “Total Revolution” is the foundation and purpose of the “Commonway Laboratory”.  Together, we will “experiment with the impossible”.
And, I should say “Commonway Laboratories”.  Even though we haven’t done the first experimental lab yet (scheduled 12 December in Portland), Commonway supporters are already creating them in their locales!  There is one scheduled for South Carolina in mid-March, and discussions ongoing for other areas.

“The vast intelligence that orders the cosmos” flows through our efforts.  Now is the time to change the path of humanity on this planet.  It’s time to think BIGGER.









All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

Vimala Thakar photos via the Internet.








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One Response to Vision 10… Spirituality and Social Activism

  1. Steve Farmer says:

    May the POWER OF THE UNIVERSE bestow upon Mankind the ability to awaken to the awesomeness of the truth of the actualization of THE INCLUSIVE MIND !!

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