Serge Beddington-Behrens Ph.D. identifies ten main ways (“Ten Faces”) that spiritual activism can be expressed. Of course, there may be Spiritual activists who express carateristics of more than one category.
Radiator activists make a difference by radiating healing, loving and transforming energy out into the world. Their doing is through the quality of their being; their work helps lift the vibrations of the environment around them. They bring calmness and light into the darkness, and in our fragmented and speedy culture, this work is very important.
These people are the movers and shakers, the instigators of new projects to bring benefit into the world. They are always out there in the thick of it, often fighting to bring change into corporate and political structures. They have visions of how a new world might look and they are committed to trying to bring it into expression.
Infiltrators are the transformational equivalents of the ‘double agent’! They work their way into old-style organisations and subtly try to introduce new ways of looking at the world without rocking the boat too strongly.
Proclamator activists heal through the power of the spoken word, like Barack Obama, who won his elections because he made people believe that with him in the White House, all would be possible. Their role is to inspire us to think and act in new ways.
Like a Jung or an Einstein or a Ken Wilber (for me the new Plato), Innovator activists bring something entirely new to the kitchen table. They inspire us to open up to whole new ways of thinking and acting and seeing the world.
The role of the Investigator activist is to investigate the Shadow side of life, to bring what is dark or hidden to the surface so it may be seen for what it is and thus become ‘disinfected’ by the light. This can be a dangerous path as many kinds of regressive forces hate being ‘outed’ and will often fight back strongly and do their best to destroy those trying to expose them.
Educator activists take it upon themselves to make people aware that it is possible to see the world in a new way, that a new paradigm is emerging and that there is also knowledge to be gained from inside ourselves if we make an effort to look. Many Educators work to remind us that, as the character in the film Avatar told us, ‘so much of what we believe is true is false, and so much of what we think is false is real.’
Going out into the streets as a expression of the stand one takes on a particular issue, is a powerful act, especially if many people do so. Here, we remember that ‘people power’ brought down the Iron Curtain and more recently, in the Middle East, it also downed a bevy of dictators. It is a very powerful way of letting the world know about some issue which one feels strongly about.
The job of the Agitator activist is not to make people feel calmer and more at ease – that is the Radiator’s role. Rather, they do their best to shake us all up out of our complacency so we may either reach into our pockets more generously or generally do more to help a new culture come into expression. Their gift to us is that they light rockets under our backsides in order to wake us up to take action and not leave the business of change to others.
Of all the many paths available to the activist, that of the Dissident is perhaps the most noble and requires the greatest courage to choose. Invariably, it encompasses the willingness to sacrifice one’s comfort, as generally the Dissident’s role is single-handedly to confront totalitarian regimes, an activity which invariably leads to long spells in prison. The power of this activist stance was beautifully embodied in Aung San Suu Kyi. The quantum shift that has recently taken place in Burmese society resulting in it become more open over the last three years, is a tribute to her great courage and commitment.
Of course, there are other ways of helping the emergence of a healthier world, but these are some of the more prominent. One may be an activist in one, two or even more of them. The key thing is that, having worked at opening our hearts, we then need to follow where our hearts instruct us to go.