Marching Towards Action

by Lin Gordon

New York Insight Meditation Center has a budding environmentally active group which participated in the Women’s March in New York last weekend.  In this article, Ian wrote about marching with us.  I’m writing to emphasize how much potential taking actions like the march can have.

I wholeheartedly agree with critics that protest in itself is not enough. We need to sustain the energy and turn it into actions that will result in change of power and policies. I also believe in the power of shared experiences in changing collective consciousness. The power and energy from yesterday’s march cannot be underestimated. Sometimes actions are about engaging the mind and coming up with effective strategies. Sometimes actions are about engaging the heart and reaffirming our shared humanity and uplifting spirits.

Last Saturday’s march was about a huge affirmation to our sense of shared beliefs: even as we move through a bombardment of surreal headlines and sickening policies, the majority of Americas share a more positive vision. That what we are seeing from the new administration is not normal. We are willing to defend this vision of an inclusive America that the founders intend to build. In November, a dharma friend felt that she was deeply saddened because the election made her question the goodness of humanity. What the march did yesterday was to remove that kind of doubt. By renewing our faith in humanity and the solidarity of the people, it will go a long way to sustain our motivation and actions to resist.

I am touched to think that we won’t know the impact of the march till a later time – by the vulnerability and poignancy of not knowing the meaning and impact of our actions. To that, I take comfort in our meditation practice – that all we could do is to wholeheartedly engage with the present moment, to let go of the fruits of our actions, to acknowledge we have no control over the future, and to trust that karma works in mysterious ways.

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