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5 real-life lessons in meditation from Occupy Wall Street

Consciously or not, the Occupy movement has done something truly radical: from the beginning, they have followed the principles of meditation. All of the components of the meditative attitude are reflected in Occupy Wall Street, and they have given us five real-life lessons in how to truly live our practice in the gritty, real world:

1-RIGHT INTENTION: The first lesson is to stand by what we value, even if it looks like our action will be too insignificant to make any difference. By staying firm while the media initially dismissed and ridiculed them, the first Occupiers gave others the courage to do the same.

2-FULL ATTENTION: The meditative attitude means keeping our attention on what is, however uncomfortable that might be. The second lesson: stay focussed on what matters, even when it is the equivalent of sleeping out overnight in a cold New York plaza without any guarantees that we’ll get anything but discomfort in return.

3-BEGINNERS MIND: In a culture that values expertise and sees not having the answer as a sign of weakness, the Occupiers did what meditators do: they resisted the temptation to make demands and instead were willing to be seen not knowing.

4-UNCONDITIONAL FRIENDLINESS: By focussing on what joins people rather than what divides them, the Occupiers brought together a cross-section of supporters from all sides of the political and cultural spectrum. They created an atmospheres of inclusiveness and respect for those who disagree.

5-COMMITMENT TO THE TRUTH: The point of meditation is to see the truth of reality without the coloring of our ego’s biases. The Occupy movement demonstrates its commitment to the truth by being willing to stay with uncertainty for as long as it takes to reach real agreement—something that can only come when the real truth comes clear to the people involved.

The Occupy movement makes clear that cultivating a meditative attitude is a powerful and radical act, both individually and collectively. As the reports of police violence begin to come in more and more, we can only hope that the field of non-violent openness that started the movement will be able to withstand the pressure.


For a more in-depth look at how the meditative attitude is reflected in Occupy Wall Street, see my article on the Huffington Post. For more reflections and practices to help us occupy our wisdom minds during challenging times, see my website: flamingseed.com. You can also join me in a budding global community using writing to access deeper wisdom at writingfromthesoul.net.
 

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Comments

thank you

Beautiful way to describe OWS...

 

i like this:

"The Occupy movement demonstrates its commitment to the truth by being willing to stay with uncertainty for as long as it takes to reach real agreement—something that can only come when the real truth comes clear to the people involved."

exactly what is so difficult for the media and "opponents" to grasp is that the "answer" to the questions is the process itself of coming to the answers together, and waiting without anxiety in the place of not knowing until what is true and what is essential emerges gradually. 

that process itself is what we are hungry for. 

and that is, not coincidentally, what democracy really looks like... full of uncertainty, sometimes chaotic, always authentic, and always changing... like everything else real. 

Yes--that process is what we

Yes--that process is what we are hungry for. I totally agree that this is the nature of democracy. It isn't necessarily an easy or convenient process, but it is alive and--as you put it--real.

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