I gave a Dharma talk (unrecorded) this month (August 2022) on our Dharma Yatra, an eco-pilgrimage, in Germany on the importance of direct action despite any fears, doubts and excessive thinking.
We can also give away our power to others who advise against the power to act even with the potential to benefit ourselves and others. The talk offered three examples of direct action; two from women and one from a man.
- A mother in the USA played with her baby in her lap while scrolling down her photos of the baby she posted on Instagram. An Instagram employee, she suddenly realised her job including getting as many people as possible to spend more time on Instagram and less time in the real world. She returned to work the following week and resigned from Instagram. An act of integrity, she stepped into the unknown facing financial and future work issues.
- In 1998, I gave a talk in Stockholm one evening. A beautiful woman asked me to sign my book and said she would like to write to me about an issue. Within weeks, she wrote a letter asking if she could come and stay for five weeks with me at my home. In the talk, I quipped “Christmas had come early” adding her request touched upon masculinity (in relationship to femininity) as a dash of humour. Her direct action showed trust in herself and her perceptions. I met her at Heathrow Airport; she wore wearing a large, red-feathered hat. I regarded the hat as a symbolic statement of confidence. She agreed. Some weeks later, we started a three-year relationship, and continue to keep in touch.
- A Dharma friend in Tel Aviv told me the story of a brilliant Israeli software engineer working for Google. The company transferred him to manage a department at the Google HQ in Dublin. (Google pay minimal taxes in Ireland. Corporate narcissism ignores the financial needs of the poor, sick, elderly and unemployed whose peace of mind and health depend on corporations and individuals paying their taxes, rather than using lawyers to find loopholes. Google paid the engineer around €10,000 per month (more than €500,000 per year). After three months, he decided to resign. He hated the job and the thought of spending most of his life in an office. He spoke to Google managers. The managers had a meeting who regarded him as an important member of the Google team. Google offered to double his salary to €1,000,000 per year and would also pay for any therapy/mindfulness training/well-being in work time. He agreed but resigned a month later. His freedom mattered more.
Here is a poem I completed after the Yatra on the initiative of the woman in Stockholm.
A Bold Act
A bold act landed with her self-invite,
she made sudden haste, nor grace, nor promote,
a trust and beauty instill direct flight,
five weeks long, a maleness, energy note,
a choiceless will, a consent, an eclipse,
a fearless stay, not knowing what it brings,
while our wonder loiters in words and lips,
her regal presence and with such light wings,
red feathered hat; lark hovers in the sky,
she tames my ears, a patience that endures,
we make no claim, nor try to certify,
our set limits restrict, love then procures.
Hearts wander behind a safety cover
until we loaned our eyes to each other.
I stated in the talk that direct action comes from the deep within our being. This power to act reveals a capacity to step into the unknown. Various states of mind and views and opinions of others then lack the capacity to inhibit our creative initiative. Such acts contribute to meaningful change. I referred to a pop music stage show I attended with my 15-year-old granddaughter and her best friend. Titled Fantastically Great Women, the show offered historical examples of the power to act despite surrounding adversity. Let us explore ways to find the inspiration to act rather than hold back.
We need an explosion of powers to act to change a world of controlling dinosaurs.
What bold act are you willing to take?