Is working with environmental activists different from working with mainstream institutions and corporations?
From activists of all kinds—environmentalists as well as lawyers—and even some of the journalists we’ve worked with, we hear the same questions: If I give up my anger, what will motivate me to work for change? If I practice “acceptance,” how will the good work get done? The answer is that there are deeper sources to draw from. But people don’t really get that until they experience it. They get confused about the idea of acceptance, as if acceptance is giving support to an injustice or being resigned. But acceptance is just being there. So that is always confusing.
Anger burns you out. And among social activists, burnout is rampant. When people learn meditation practices for the first time, this idea of accepting things as they are is very confusing. But it’s simply that: that they are. Not accepting circumstances as they are isn’t going to change them, and in fact, not accepting them keeps you from seeing things as-they-are. And that prevents you from being able to do the most effective action to change them.