activism from a reservoir of inner beauty

I have been listening to Krista Tippett’s radio podcast On Being (formerly called Speaking of Faith) since 2011. Through years of not having a spiritual home base and often feeling lost within myself, listening to the huge variety of people she interviews, from radical activists to spiritual leaders to scientists, has been incredibly grounding. Majority of the interviews speak to me on a level deeper than the daily chatter of to-do lists and small-talk and compounding anxieties.

Yesterday I listened to a podcast from Nov 13, 2014 titled Discovering the Cosmology of Bach in which Ms. Tippett interviews Professor of Computer Science Bernard Chazelle. Connections between science/mathematics, spirituality, and music are a fascination of Ms. Tippett’s that has continued to surface in her interviews, and it is a passion I share with her. This quote of Mr. Chazelle’s particularly speaks to me:

“There’s something extremely optimistic and really almost dizzying when you hear something, and it moves you so intensely inside. And you realize, but this is you who is being moved. Nobody’s forcing this inside you. So in your brain, there must be this reservoir of beauty which most often is untapped, goes untapped. But if you can find it with the right spotlight, then you discover this amazing consonances, or dissonances, or this amazing narrative, story, inside you.”

Since hearing that (and rewinding several times to re-listen to the words and really let them settle in) I have been meditating on the idea of an inner reservoir of beauty. What does that mean? If we live with the assumption that everyone has that, we must also acknowledge that each individual requires something different to tap that reservoir. What if we focused more of our energy on finding want gets that reservoir dam to break, and let THAT guide our approach to our educations, careers, and social justice activism tactics and approaches?

Specifically with that last one, I feel that the urgency of such disastrous injustices pushes us, as radical activists, to rush to action. Sometimes this is absolutely necessary. Sometimes this comes from fear. I am interested in exploring what it would mean to start from a place of a flowing reservoir of inner beauty, and let THAT guide the decisions we make about system-debunking tactics.

Meanwhile, I am on my own journey of trying to find the things that tap into my own reservoir. I know some of them. But knowing what they are isn’t enough. I have to commit to really acting on them, practicing them, and keeping the inner channels open. It’s a work in progress. Like most things.


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