What Would Gandhi Do -- Part 2 (for Sara)

I learn by writing. I discover what I think, feel and know when I put fingers to keys. I rely on my spiritual teachers in human form as well as animal teachers for many teachings (among other things too long to list here). The other day, I wrote about Gandhi ( he is a shamanic teacher I work with) becuase I wondered what he would think of unstated goals of the OWS movement. In answer to my blog post, a good friend Sara wrote me this:

“I'm of the opinion, shared by many, that one of the brilliant strategies of OWS is in refusing to be nailed down about exactly what or exactly how. There is some awesome evolution going on and I stand firmly in the camp of letting that happen. This is an enormously complex situation with more facets than can be imagined and there is nothing the opposing forces want more than some specifics to push back against. Spirit is at work. Let it be.”

This message stopped me, and put a different slant on the whole OWS movement. It is rare when some says to me, “Spirit is at work. Let it be.” I'm usually the one saying this to someone else. So I paid attention.

I started contemplating the growth of this international movement in a new way. The nonviolence. The people who have come together from every nationality, economic and educational strata. The call to live by the ethics of Martin Luther King (whose said he was a devout student of Mahatma Gandhi). I began looking more carefully, too, at the responses from political leaders. And the fact that no one seems to have a handle on what to do or how to treat this whole event. That they cannot figure out how to respond IS, perhaps, the best response we can hope for now. They SHOULD be confused. We don’t have a nation that has its values correctly aligned.

Then I contemplated that, just perhaps, this is a rare moment in history when we might be witnessing an actual shift in consciousness. Is this movement trying to find a new voice and a new language to say "We value life more than people"? Those of us who have lived in the spiritual trenches for decades knew death and rebirth of the culture had to happen because we do not live sustainably. There is a way of living sustainably in your daily life practices, but there is also a way of living sustainably in the soul. No matter how much recylcing, earth stewardship, organic and local buying there is, if the soul of the nation doesn't change we are treating the symptoms of the illness rather than the cause. Is this what OWS is trying to say?

So I am wrestling with this. I do not think that the OWS NY protestor I heard interviewed on TV who said --“We are staying here until there is a return of the Middle Class” --  has a great goal or understands that there may not be any going back. We need to make up a new cosmology and ethos. Middle class also means Lower Class and Upper Class. It is no accident that all of this is happening because all of our national, international and planetary woes have hit the middle class. The poorest of our country, and the world, have been living with all of this for a hell of a lot longer than the OWS. All of these class determinations are based on the amount of money you have. I hate to repeat myself, but I will: it is the focus on money first, money before life, that I believe got us into this whole planetary mess.

But perhaps the change of the soul of our nation and the world has to begin by using the seat of our pants in protest. And that there is a great wind shifting events, sweeping the old, the dead away so that things can rest, and new growth can be fed by the mulch. I am still not certain, but perhaps this is the first step toward other NVNC acts that will provoke specific response. Maybe we just have to start with putting our arms around each other and saying, “This is the wrong way to live.”

So, again, I wonder, what would Gandhi do? Is it enough to begin with solidarity, with community? To hope that by “letting it be” more changes will unfold that are unexpected, presenting us all with news ways to live, not in entrenched classes, but in unity?

As I said, whenever I journey to Gandhi, the FIRST thing he does is heal me. Is the OWS just that, a healing that will enable and engender greater compassion and equity, greater focus to nurture substantive and lasting change?

As for me, my mind is now open to this possibility, this hope. It is possible for minds to change if true dialogue is exchanged. As always, I am on the side of life. And anything that renews life cannot be wrong. OWS will not, in my opinion, get us all the way through the changes we need to make, and create the specific dialogue we need to have. But maybe it doesn't have to. Maybe a start is enough.