Revolutionary Acts

Awareness.

Compassion.

Equanimity.

Loving-kindness.

These are revolutionary acts. Their endgame is peace. Their leitmotif, trust that we will do what is required.

Just as peace is available to us in the experience of every moment so is the ability to commit revolutionary acts. They change us, usually forever. In trust, we experience the flow of change.

Change cycles through our lives like seasons. Acknowledgement or no, we will experience it, often as a storm, for change is energy. As we know, energy, even on its best behavior, is chaotic.Lake Ella Fountain 0115

Trust reminds us there will be another morning, another opportunity for revolutionary acts.

It is one thing to know the sun will rise but it is another to trust in what the rising of the sun brings. Regardless, each day dawns in total vulnerability, the wellspring of trust.

It is an extraordinary example of tenderness, this daily dawn reminder of what we are capable.

This revolutionary act of treating ourselves tenderly can begin to undo the aversive messages of a lifetime.

Tara Brach

It is no effort to store a lifetime of aversive messages, for each experience can be so labeled, if we choose. The energy of boxing up a life is minimal for it requires no updating just the initial experience and then re-runs. It becomes its own newsreel, skewed in comfort.

Ah, aversive, the coming undone of an attitude or feeling. Ours is a slow dawn, this throwing off of aversion, yet we do rise as we face what we once would not.

We stand in revolutionary awareness, ready to commit acts of compassion, loving-kindness, and equanimity.ocean pine 0215

Rage has its own set of acts—not revolutionary–its endgame fear, pain, and death. We are averse to its message, its messengers, and its weapons–guns, knives, poison, bombs—we are diminished by each death, all of the life landscape forever changed.

Revolutionary acts may or may not make us stronger—I do not know—I am not sure that is their purpose. I suspect it is awareness. What I do know is the open heart is a revolutionary beat ready to rush rage.

To undo rage is to undo the averse messages of a lifetime. It takes tender conviction, a commitment to a lifetime of revolutionary acts. That is my call to action, my arms open to all.

These are not days for sunshine patriots for the dawn is grey.

Revolutionary acts do not require the radiance of a sunrise, just a dawning, a promise the sun will rise. Trust is enough to keep the open heart beating. Revolutionary acts rise not to war but to the absence of battle. Theirs is the tender touch of awareness.

Note Regarding This Post: Once again, there has been a mass shooting in the United States. As a Zen Buddhist, my position is obvious. This post is about revolutionary acts that involve a call to the heart. I am not the first to do so or, unfortunately, the last. Would that I were.

My position is often called naïve. That it may be but this is what I know: a change of heart produces results every time. It is our hearts that ultimately get our minds to re-thinking.

To open our hearts is a revolutionary act, requiring constant vigilance, and a belief that the sun still rises.

Miccosukee water lily 0713

20 thoughts on “Revolutionary Acts

  1. “The energy of boxing up a life is minimal for it requires no updating just the initial experience and then re-runs. It becomes its own newsreel, skewed in comfort.” This is a great thought. Personally and as a culture, it’s the path of “ease.” But leads to disease.

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    1. Hi, Kay! Yes, it is the path of “ease.” All too well, I know how it leads to dis-ease. 🙂 Thus, revolutionary acts open our hearts to what we must do no matter how hard it is for that is the first step to love without condition or judgment. And there we are, outside the box. Always great to see you here, Kay. Thanks!
      Karen

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  2. We revere the radical change forced by an act of courage, but most changes come out of multiple smaller acts, courage remarkable for its constancy and endurance. Change that comes in the way water wears away rock requires that we commit to an improvement that might not even happen on our watch. As always an inspiring post Karen.

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    1. Yes, Adrian, I agree that “courage is remarkable for its constancy and endurance.” That is its heart. I often think that our generation committed to many improvements that will not happen on our watch. It is not that we are “special” but more committed to the planet, to the energy that animates this dimension. We seek a definitive change in our culture, and that takes generations of commitment. You know me, Adrian, always the optimist. 🙂
      Karen

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  3. “This revolutionary act of treating ourselves tenderly can begin to undo the aversive messages of a lifetime.”
    My revolutionary kindness is to myself as the life story I’ve always told myself shifts and changes. That kindness and that work help me open my heart to others.
    Your words always help me sort out where I am.
    Thank you.

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    1. You have opened your heart to so many, Robin, quietly and thoughtfully undoing so many aversive messages. And that includes me for so many times your words have brought light to a dark day. Thank you for that, Robin.
      Karen

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  4. I agree that opening the heart is a revolutionary act. Look around–sentiment replaces real feeling; genuine kindness is so non-conformist! It’s not “safe” to open one’s heart. It involves risk. You are taking those risks–bless you!

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    1. It really is not safe, is it? It is an incredible risk. It saddens me that this is true. And I am reminded of that famous quote on risk: “…and the day came when the risk to remain tight, in a bud, became more painful than the risk it took to blossom” (Elizabeth Appell).

      As I am older, is it easier for me to be less safe. Do I have less to lose? I do not know the answer to either but I know that I it is time for me to offer what I have. I believe in a compassionate response for it involves the stamina to stand in the moment’s reality without reacting. To me, that is a revolutionary act and the beginning of peeling back layers of pain. I suspect it is the only way to begin healing rather than hiding under a Band-Aid.

      For most of my life I thought 1968 was most violent and tragic year for this country. Now, each year seems to out do it in violence and tragedy. Thanks, Ann.
      Karen

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    1. You know, August, I no longer think of it as naïve, either. Your comment is what got me thinking. These revolutionary acts are difficult but necessary if we are going to change this world into one where all have a voice, unafraid to open their hearts. Thank YOU, August!
      Karen

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