It’s not surprising that both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi talked about “evolutionary activism,” without using those words. It’s a new articulation of an ancient concept. It has been around as long as humans have lived with an intention to bring greater freedom, dignity and honor to all of life. It’s about living with the commitment to serve the expansion of love, and the awareness that the entire world is an expression of one unified energetic field of love. All forms of suffering and injustice occur when humans act out of alignment with this truth.
Perhaps the most accurate description of evolutionary activism was offered when MLK said,
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
In my 30 years of spiritual study and growth, and over 2 decades of work in movement building and leadership training, I’ve experienced MLK’s observations continually. We’ve seen time and time again great power summoned to resist and squash efforts for justice, and it often succeeds. But it is always just a matter of time before the collective consciousness evolves to a place where the injustice can no longer sustain itself – where the power of love prevails. Whether it is civil rights and race equality, gender equality, and now the movement to extend civil rights to the natural world, we can see the clear progression toward greater honoring and a greater expression of justice.
This progression is the “evolutionary impulse” driving what we have observed since we’ve had the capacity to observe life on our planet. This impulse is toward a greater and greater expression of complexity, fairness, inclusivity, beauty, creativity, compassion – all the many expressions of love. Whenever someone acts to create healing in the direction of one of these expressions of love, there is a kind of superpower in the action.
That is why so many people have felt the profound truth in Gandhi’s words, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is the central principal and superpower of evolutionary activism. It is committing to a path of passionate self-awareness, and taking on the daily adventure of healing whatever is in the way of embodying whatever expression of love you are intent on bringing forth in the world.
It is unfortunately very possible to force change in the world through power. Every day we see the power of the concentration of money and influence in the hands of a very few individuals. But while this kind of power can create great destruction in the world, it has never been able to overcome the superpower of love. My greatest experience of security comes from this awareness. No matter how dark things get, light can overcome the darkness when the tiniest match is struck. And even the smallest act offered from integrity with love has evolutionary ripple effects we are only beginning to grasp, given our still new understanding of our quantum reality – our innate connectedness. This is evolutionary activism, and it resides in each of us.