18 May 2010
Fighting "For" or "Against"
"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.
During a conversation today, it came up that Mother Theresa would not participate in demonstrations "against" war and violence, but only demonstrations "for" peace. She wanted to avoid giving any energy to the *negative*, and wanted only to direct energy to the positive and fighting "for" something. Being a passionate and intense person who feels deeply about justice, freedom, peace, and the right of all beings to live a full life, "battling" often are at the forefront of my thoughts and actions. So Mother Theresa's belief strikes a chord within me. Battling for good seems so much more uplifting and motivating than does battling against the bad.
The difference between directing energy toward the "for" rather than the "against" may seem inconsequential at first, and indeed the shift can be rather subtle. However, fighting "for" sets a positive intention that we can move forward with. It allows for positive change in whatever way it manifests, leaves it all open and possible. Fighting "against" is restrictive, looking backward, and requires that change in favor of the goal be measured by *stopping* something. It seems fruitless. Consider: Do we fight against cruelty to animals or for the freedom of all beings? Do we move against violence against women or for the right of women to live free of marginalization and degradation. See what I mean, the way that little shift in word and intention changes the energy around the goal? Of course, the two imply the presence of and movement toward/against the other...
Setting one's intention in day-to-day life is very much like choosing to fight for or against. It's a way of sending energy out toward the positive and what you would like to do or make happen, a way of welcoming whatever comes to help toward a goal, no matter what it might be.
The conversation I had about Mother Theresa actually had nothing to with activism in the socio-political sense- I just applied it to that- and more to do with personal choices around a chronic illness. Dealing with ongoing health problems can be extremely painful and challenging, and I much more often get tired and discouraged when I am fighting "against" the illness rather than "for" health and wellness. Mental and emotional fatigue comes more quickly and more severely with continuous battling of the negative and trying to stop the disease. But doing everything I can to promote well-being and decrease my vulnerability to illness has a positive vibe, the energy of hope and possibility, the peace of acceptance. That is what I am shifting my intention toward today.