Added up, many years of my life have been spent engaged in various direct action campaigns for eco-social peace, justice, freedom, equality, rights, health, etc. Also when added together, several years’ worth of my life has been spent immersed in silent meditation retreats at various locations around the planet. And taken together, and stretched out across time, decades of my life have been enjoyed engaging both in daily morning & evening meditation practice and in various projects of eco-social activism. Quite literally, my entire lifetime — early childhood excepted — has been devoted largely to the vocation (literally, “calling”) of contemplative activism, or what might be called meditative “engaged spirituality,” or “applied liberation spirituality” (applied both inwardly toward Self-liberation and outwardly toward communal socio-economic/political/cultural liberation).
This engagement has been lived in parallel with other related intensive & extensive activities & commitments, including: making art & poetry; traveling the planet; being in romantic life-partnership; serving as a spiritual guide, meditation teacher, yoga instructor, & retreat leader; being an academic scholar & university educator; and helping at one time (way back in the fabled 60s) to found, grow & guide an intentional alternative community — a residential contemplative arts study-&-retreat center, an ashram commune, that also served as a safe-house & station on the underground railroad (peace train) during the US war against the people of Southeast Asia.
In addition to these, there have been and are a few other such activities & lifestyle aspects I’ve cultivated over the decades, all of which are also integral parts & parcels of my vocation as a contemplative activist, an eco-socially concerned & engaged contemplative.
While my involvement in outward activism and in inward silent contemplative practice both began early in life, my commitment to activism began slightly later than my adoption of a daily morning & evening meditation routine. In some ways my active social concern is an outgrowth of my private daily contemplative practice, though I tend to see them both as interconnected parts of one whole life unified around one central core vision and set of values and preferences.
I find activism to be a meaningful outward community-applied, globally-applied expression of my inner personal contemplative consciousness. And I find the daily practice of morning & evening silent meditation sessions (& periodic deep meditation retreats during the year) to be not only the best means to inner self-liberation, but also the best form of grounding, solidifying, preparing for, recovering from, and integrating the activity, benefits, & personal “costs” to mind & body of engagement in activist projects.