When I first got the idea to organize a Thanksgiving morning volunteer activity for my students and guests of meditation, I looked around and found an organization to volunteer with. We’ll be delivering Thanksgiving meals to people who are homebound in San Francisco.
Unbeknownst to me, the organization I initially selected is not the most open-minded in the world. Specifically, I had found this volunteer opportunity with the Salvation Army – but I didn’t know that based on their misguided interpretation of the scriptures, they have integrated a homophobic outlook into the depths of their organization. They don’t deny services to gays and lesbians, but their attitude is that it is against the Bible to be homosexual and if that’s your orientation then you should commit to a lifetime of celibacy as the correct response.
When I was informed about their attitude I was at first a little torn. After all, driving around to deliver meals for a couple hours isn’t exactly promoting this anti-gay agenda. Instead, wouldn’t we be helping a bunch of people through our actions? Why does it matter if the umbrella organization that hosts the service event is wrongheaded on such a basic issue?
It matters because we would be lending our energy to the organization through our participation. No, we weren’t going to be donating a bunch of money; it’s not like we would be literally “supporting” them. But we would be tacitly condoning their stance and position in the world, by driving around with a bunch of bags that say “Salvation Army” on them. We would be lending our power – admittedly in a tiny way, but we would be doing that nonetheless.
Every decision you make and every action you take is an opportunity to be on the right side of Truth. It was pretty easy to find another organization doing something similar on Thanksgiving – Meals on Wheels – and we’ll be working with them instead.
Whenever you join forces with another person, group, or mindset, you are empowering it with your intent – and if you meditate, then you’re building more and more power (and Intent!). “With great power comes great responsibility” right? This comes down to all decisions you make, large and small. It may have been more convenient to just go along with my original plans to volunteer with the first org, but it would not have felt right to do so.