Occupy Your True Self - Reclaiming Our Humanness

The movement against the inequities of the socio-political and economic systems that we have created over the last several decades is growing steadily. Whether it be the protests against the G-20 summits in London and in Toronto, the uprisings across the Middle East regimes, the anti-corruption movement in India, or the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States, these protests are grassroot movements that express popular anger and disagreement with the way our human values have been hijacked by corporates, governments, and trend mongerers with their hearts in their wallets. This is our moment to help each other actualize our true potential as human beings instead of pulling each other down like crabs in a bucket.

From the perspective of the mystic simultaneity of cause and effect, it is easy to see what is happening. The movement is mystically empowered by its very powerlessness over the might of governance and corporate greed. As the desire of the wealthy to become wealthier tramples over the welfare of the masses, it also sets them up to face the wrath of the universe. The recession of 2008 was obviously not a loud enough wake up call for the wealthy. The incredible bailouts were seen by governments and financial institutions as nothing more than an escape route to indulge in greater misuse of public trust (and money). At the same time, the insecurity of those years drove the middle classes to pursue financial security with a renewed desperation.

From another point of view, the promotion, growth and endorsement of capitalism, consumerism and competitiveness as values to aspire for have resulted in humanity outsourcing everything but the pursuit of material wealth. Both the rising cost of living and the scarcity of opportunities to meet that cost are bogeymen of our own creation. And who have we outsourced our thinking to? To corporate marketeers, to advertisers, and to social media spin doctors who have started deciding flavors of the month on our behalf in almost every area of our lives. Even spiritual values needs a marketing angle in this world that we have helped create! What is the solution to this apparent deadlock?

Leo Babauta, a blogger who has influenced many modern minimalist thinkers, writes in his recent post on the Occupy Wall Street movement:

"Corporations have taken control of our economy, our jobs, our political system, our environment, but much more than that: they now tell us how to entertain ourselves, how to spend time with others, how to show love for friends and family, how to look good and feel good about ourselves, how to communicate, how to educate our kids, how to spend our spare time, how to be in public spaces together, how to create and enjoy music and art."

He goes on to suggest ways that you and I can participate in this movement. millions of people across the globe have already been doing this in different ways for a long time, and you too might have been following some of these steps.

He writes, "The minimalist might protest simply by not buying corporate products. Don’t eat at corporate restaurants, or buy corporate coffee, or buy corporate clothes. Don’t have logos on everything you own. Don’t watch corporate entertainment — make your own! Find non-corporate ways to spend time with people. Find non-corporate ways to celebrate Christmas. Find non-corporate music to listen to, or create your own. It’s possible. We still have our humanity. We can still breathe, but first we must create some breathing room."

Is it possible? Yes, it is. But it comes with its growing pains. You may be shunned by those who are still blind to the true joys of life. Those close to you may fail to understand your decision to downshift and simplify. You may undergo physical and mental withdrawal from the drug of popcorn chicken and the next caaaar you just had to have. But these will pass. As you free yourself from the clutches of the rat race that has been thrust upon us, you will see that there are much more important things that have clamoured for your attention all this time but you were oblivious of. You will find yourself being able to use your skills and time to make a tangible difference to the world we live in. And the place where it all starts is in your heart. The change you will see in the world around you is but a reflection of the change that has started happening within you. You will find the universe flooding your life with true abundance as you take the first (often hesitant and awkward) steps to move from being a taker, a earner, and a social climber to becoming a giver, a creator of value, and a facilitator of growth.

Open your heart, not to the world, but to yourself, and you will hear all that you need to hear. You will instinctively know what to do. You will see that life has its own way of leading you towards balance and correctness of action. You will learn not to dwell on matters that are of little importance, and you will find that compassion and love are the only gifts we can bring to each other in the journey of our lives.

Welcome to the real protest movement of our times, the movement to protest against our own refusal to listen to our true inner calling, the movement to occupy our hearts and the heart of all humanity, the movement to reclaim our civilization.


  1. This is so beautifully written. Reminds me of what Thich Nhat Hanh, a buddhist monk says about choosing what goes inside you-in terms of thoughts, ideas, etc. When you choose mindfully, you act mindfully and thereby can be a giver and a facilitator of growth. For me the way to reclaim our humanness is to be mindful in the many ways you have suggested as well. Really compliments my current spiritual diet:-)

  2. This is a great post and very in sync with this book I am reading called 'The Story of Stuff' by Julie Hill. She talks about how stuff is made and where it goes to make us conscious of the story of stuff, reduce our consumerist ways.
    You might also like 'The Story of Stuff Project' which makes innovative videos about the story of stuff.

  3. I agree with you from the bottom of the heart. But wonder about the practicality. I still live on corporate salt. So would be hypocritical for me to say anything more on this at this point.


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