“The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form.” -Shinto proverb
Most of the world’s great faith traditions teach the centrality of loving your neighbor as yourself. Iterations of the “Golden Rule” have been spoken in temples, mosques, churches, synagogues, and even kindergarten classrooms, such is the universality of this profoundly simple truth.
Treating others as we want to be treated is also a foundational tenet of heartivism, which is the intersection of activism and heart underlying the philosophy of The Pollination Project. Yet for activists in particular, how and why should we extend grace and understanding to those we perceive are working against us? If injustice has broken our hearts and called us to act, what duty do we have to those who allow that injustice to perpetuate?
The answers to that question are many, but here is one I offer: The impact your activism has on your own life, wellbeing, and sense of interconnection is a meaningful outcome.
Activism is about positive action. But if acting on your deepest held convictions consumes you with anger, disconnects you from anyone who does not share your beliefs, or seals you in an ideological echo chamber, is the world made better by your walk in it? How long can you hold the vitriol inside before it becomes corrosive? Remembering that we cannot offer that which we do not have, how can we work for peace while full of hate?
Wishing ease, peace, and wellbeing for “others” – practicing the “Golden Rule” – is not antithetical to your values; if you are to be someone who devotes your life to compassion consciousness, it is the only way you can sustain these values and your own beautiful spirit for the long journey ahead.