The following article was written by David Nicol in August 2008 for Tikkun Magazine. Nichols offers some examples of how subtle activism has been used in history. He also clarifies the difference between subtle activism from other forms of spiritual practice. He says: “…a spiritual practice is only subtle activism if it is oriented primarily for the benefit of the collective public realm, rather than for the benefit of an individual”.
Nicol is the author of the book Subtle Activism: The Inner Dimension of Social and Planetary Transformation.
Editor’s Note: Though this article is 12 years old, its statements remain relevant today. In an age of hopelessness (thanks to the massive social isolation and repression we are now experiencing), subtle activism provides hope. It brings together the new discoveries of science (particularly in the field of quantum theory) and traditional spiritual practices, which effectively ends the “war” between these two fields.
Many individuals were already using subtle activism without knowing the technical term for what they are doing. Remember Mahatma Gandhi, the 1988 Singing Revolution in Estonia, and of course, the 2016 Baton Rouge protests of the Black Lives Matter Movement, now immortalized by Ieshia Evans’ fearless march1. Throughout the pandemic, people have used various forms of subtle activism. The collective singing done in Italy to bring hope to lockdown areas 2, the generally peaceful marches for freedom done in Berlin and London [listen to Gareth Icke’s speech https://youtu.be/-jt6Mqz5yeY[/efn_note], and the Black Lives Matter protests 3.
Subtle activism shows us that every individual person has the power to change the world. The birthing of a collective consciousness is within our midst, and with it, the power to create collective healing and social change [all individuals are connected through our consciousness, read Lessons from the Global Consciousness Project and A shift to biosphere consciousness].
In the video below, we give you an example of how a singer has hoped to promote peace among different races, through the simple act of community singing. Perhaps one of the main difference between overt activism and subtle activism is the fact that the latter is all about tapping into a collective experience and realizing that we and our “enemies”, as well as the differences in insights we are pushing for, are all part of a much larger scheme. When we begin to see this connection we begin to realize that the solution to our societal problems can be achieved without war and arguments. More importantly, when we achieve this interconnection, we will begin to realize that all our technologies will serve a specific purpose for creating a better life for everyone, but that it must not be used to replace human capacities, no matter how “frail” we think it might be. For it is in this frailty where we can find our collective strength and purpose.
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