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‘Presence Activism': Balancing Reason and Emotion

‘Presence Activism': Balancing Reason and Emotion

As I reflect on the world news, with civilians in Gaza and 5,000 children killed, and a ‘clean and measured’ bombing campaign from the Anglo-American alliance, it is clear that truth has been overpowered. AI is now upon us and driven by strong commercial interests who want to show a public conscience but are unable to explain what they mean or how they will police it. They claim to help and heal using machines and disguise the power and commercial greed underlying the rapid technological advance. Live experiments on human society have been run for decades, and the planet is boiling with pain, inequality and anxiety. Animals are so often the silent victims of massacres. I cannot imagine how parents today are answering the questions from their children about the evils of war, or cruelty to animals and the environment.

How are we meant to reason in this chaos? What do we do with our hearts and emotions and face our anxieties? Where lies the balance, and how can we be active not just passive or hopeless? How do we act for change without depleting our courage and motivation? Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE has written a very prescient book on these themes called ‘Presence Activism; A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety’. She is highly qualified, having been the CEO of a Centre for Excellence in Leadership and a deeply spiritual practitioner, teacher and pioneer. For Lynne, India is a vast reservoir of culture and wisdom which she draws from in her writings. She tries to bridge reason and emotion through spirituality and shows new methods and processes to develop our internal coping mechanisms.

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In this latest book Lynne provides a roadmap for NOT being passive or hopeless, and instead drawing from our spiritual depths to continue our life journey with consciousness and activism. I have had to do that a lot given my passion for social justice and the depths of violence and injustice I see in the selfish and materialistic corporate world. Activism is often very lonely and saps our energy.

Fortunately, we all have a variety of skills and experiences and these can be channelled to enable change through the methods she has developed in the book. As Gandhiji said so eloquently “we must be the change we wish to see in the world”. Most of Lynne’s practical suggestions have been tried and tested through her courses and coaching so they draw from a deep well of experience.

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Professor Atul K. Shah [@atulkshah] teaches and writes about Indian wisdom on business, culture and community at various UK universities and is a renowned international author, speaker and broadcaster.

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