Occupy Yourself lessons for mindful democracy

"Wake up" – Original photo/image by David Shankbone

“Wake up” – Original photo/image by David Shankbone

From Mindful.org, I share this post: Occupy Yourself lessons for mindful democracy, by Mark and Susan Szpakowski, providing a look into the movement against economic injustice, and some lessons for mindful democracy.

As the global Occupy movement spreads (1,500 cities and counting), what are we witnessing? Are we on the verge of mass awakening, or are we fooled by illusions of grassroots power? Will we return to the status quo in a month or a year?

The experience of mindfulness tells us that a moment of openness can serve as a powerful interruption in stuck patterns, but much depends on what happens next. What follows is a reflection that weaves between the personal practice of mindfulness and the social practice now emerging through the Occupy movement.


Know thyself

If nothing else, mindfulness is humbling. Even when we see with sharp clarity the ways we undermine ourselves and short-change our potential, there is seemingly no end to the momentum of impulse and habit. Over time we see not only the moment-to-moment details of our mind and emotions, we also see the longer cycles and big patterns. With discipline, gradually we become wiser, more gentle, and more fierce.

After the shock of 9-11 came an eerie silence, then a spontaneous moment of collective grief and compassion. What happened next? We weren’t ready to occupy or defend that space. We didn’t have language or self-awareness about our collective patterns. We let ourselves be manipulated by fear and spin.

Now again, this is a moment. Do we have the collective discipline and self-awareness to occupy the space, so that together we can create what will happen next?


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