An Example of Spiritual Action

By Robert Rabbin

When it comes to explaining concepts, I favor metaphors over definitions, and I favor examples over metaphors. Examples are the best way to explain concepts: don't tell me; show me. What does enlightenment mean? Don't tell me the answer: show me.

I begin with this caveat because I am often asked to define spiritual activism or, as I prefer to call it, spiritual action -- about which I speak. I usually say that spiritual action is the embodiment of the highest expression of our common humanity -- love, wisdom, and peace. I say that when we enter the Silence beyond the mind, we discover our authentic nature, and this nature expresses itself in certain predictable ways: as love, wisdom, and peace. I say that spiritual action is not a choice, it is choiceless. The experience of our authentic being and its embodiment as wisdom, love, and peace are a singular, inseparable movement, dance, entity. Insight and action, flower and fragrance, wetness and water.

I have said that spiritual action, when presented with violence, presences peace; when presented with hatred; presences love; when presented with fear, presences unity.

Of course, I go on and on with metaphors and definitions because I love to talk, however futile such talk may be. So today, I want to offer a beautiful example of spiritual action, courtesy of one of my many new Australian friends: Isira Sananda.

A brief context: in the past few days, a number of violent incidents, dubbed "race riots," have occurred on Cronulla Beach, one of Sydney's beachside suburbs, to the extent that authorities have said they intend to close Cronulla, and several other beaches, for the weekend. Two thousand police have been dispatched to the area to stand guard against further disturbance.

Isira acted. The media release distributed by her organization, Living Awareness (, announced: Living Awareness, centre for healing and personal growth, today said it will hold a peace gathering at Hyde Park, on Sunday 18 December, to join with the Sydney community in peace, to unite and transform the violence in the area.

And so it happened. On Sunday, December 18th, at 11 a.m., some 25 people gathered in Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia. I was among them. There were no fiery sermons, no placard-waving demonstrations, no chanting. Actually, no nothing. Just sitting together, quietly, then silently. A small band of people in full public view, sitting silently, acting spiritually in response to violence. No thought, no deliberation, no planning, no fundraising: just this, a simple response from the heart, choiceless, immediate, loving, peaceful, embodied, public. Beautiful. Not against anything. Not for anything. Just sitting in authentic being, radiating authentic being. Insight and action, flower and fragrance, sitting and silence, peace and more peace.

On this brightly prophetic day in Hyde Park, with traffic filling Elizabeth Street, and throngs of people flowing through the park toward the cafes and shops, in this city of five million people, in this country of 20 million, on this Earth with six billion -- some 25 people gathered to express the peace of their authentic being, to demonstrate their peacefulness, to welcome others without distinction, to meet others heart to heart, and thus meet them unified in peace, and unified in love; on this morning turning to early afternoon, under the sun and blue sky, some 25 people chose to gather in peace, to announce peace, to show peace; to sit quietly and open their hearts, to open themselves, to expand themselves and embrace all, to welcome themselves, and each other, and others not present, and the world, the Earth herself, welcoming, welcoming in love and peace, choiceless, immediate, without thought, but from the necessity to embody the highest expression of our common humanity, to testify to the truth and accuracy of my definition of the nature of authentic being: unity-in-love with all creation.

I know the world is richer and more vibrant, more alive with spirit, more open for peaceful possibilities, for our gathering, for our expression, for our choice. May we all find ways to gather for peace, to express peace, to choose peace, for this is truly the highest expression of our common humanity. May we find ourselves in each other, and delight in each other, and celebrate life with each other, in love, and joy, and peace -- each day, every day, from now until forever.

I'd like to conclude by quoting another of my new friends, a marvelous young sage who lives with his parents and younger brother, Seth, in Melbourne: Narayan John Matthews, five years old:

"If the world can be beloved by us, we can bring peace and hope to all the world."

Robert Rabbin is a San Francisco-based writer and speaker. He is the author of numerous books and articles, and the founder of RealTime Speaking, an online hub of global spiritual activism. For more more information, please visit

Copyright © 2005 Robert Rabbin, All Rights Reserved