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Forum Post: Beyond Gratitude: What the Occupy Movement Can Teach Us About Personal Transformation

Posted 12 years ago on Nov. 21, 2011, 6:57 p.m. EST by raphael929 (0)
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Gratitude, it's said, is the greatest gift. It opens the heart like nothing else. Yet what is an open heart called to do? How is it meant to live in the world of stress and crisis that ever more presses in upon us?

The first imperative of an engaged heart is to include, to say "yes" to all that we want and need for our well-being, but also to that which we don't want and see as a "problem." We need to love it all just because it is, it exists, and is therefore a part of the indisputable whole of existence.

The second imperative of an engaged heart is to expand, to create a safe and sufficient space in which all that is can be seen clearly, honored fully, and met with the transformative power of love. An engaged heart isn't just an organ, or a "chakra," but it's also a way of being. That way of being exists not solely within us, but also, and especially, between us.

Today, the space between us has been overrun by forces of fear, greed, and domination. These forces aim to separate, distract, and disempower us, to keep us focused on just getting by when in fact the very foundation of our society is crumbling.

All the challenges we now face are surmountable, but only if we meet them head on in a sincere attempt to solve them. And that is exactly what is not happening among the "powers that be." Instead, those powers are shouting louder and louder, proclaiming to have the answers while actually just enacting, and perpetuating, the crisis.

They've taken the space we all share, but it doesn't belong to them. In order for love to triumph, we need to take it back.

The word "occupy," in this context means precisely that - to take back space. That's why the Occupy Movement is providing us all with a singular opportunity, and a priceless gift. To sit, camp, and march are all ways of claiming the necessary space for a different way of life to emerge. It's not the whole process, of course, but it is the crucial beginning.

Stay tuned for how this relates to you, personally. As for the world at large, let's dispense with the idea that the Occupy Movement is hampered by not having a clear message. It's message is totally clear - this space belongs to us, all of us, and it's our collective right and responsibility to decide how we shall live in it together.

We were all taught to change the system from within, to write letters to the editor and elect leaders who share our convictions. But in the space that the movement is taking back it's easier than ever to see that this is currently impossible. Our system of government has been overrun as well. It works mostly against us, and on behalf of the most powerful.

Out there in the encampments, and in the arduous consensus building sessions that determine the movement's actions, participants are experimenting with real democracy, incredibly messy but also deeply invigorating compared to the stranglehold we all witness in our nation's capital.

They're also doing a familiar dance with the police, in which attention gets diverted to who did what to whom, and who's the most significant public threat. While issues of police brutality are real, as are concerns of a possible federal crackdown on the right of assembly for non-violent citizens, it's important that we don't divert our energy or attention from the heart of the matter: the protesters are out there to allow us renewed breathing room, to restore the space necessary for us to create real, positive change.

But here's the thing. That change won't likely come from the protesters. Nor, as we've so painfully seen, will it come from a well-meaning leader at the top of a corrupt pyramid of power.

Truth is, the answers we're seeking to create a sustainable, humane world already exist. They've been clear to many for a long time.

To read the conclusion, click here: http://raphaelcushnir.wordpress.com



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