Justice as Practice: The Link Between Inner Work and Outer Change

Posted by – February 15, 2017
Categories: Spirituality & Religion

In her recent TEDx talk, Rev. angel Kyodo williams asks of the crowd, “how much changed out there, when you changed your in-here?”

This inherent, powerful link between inner work and outer change bears repeating again and again. In uncertain times, when fear is heightened and it feels like we’re on the brink of regression, drawing attention back to oneself can seem like the least productive—or at least not the most productive—step forward. But inner reflection begets outward action.

Often, we have this sense that everything we have to do in order to change the world, in order to disrupt the systems that would have us not love each other across lines of difference, and even across lines of sameness, has to do with what we have to do out there,” williams says, “but these practices have the capacity to disrupt the disconnect that lives inside of us…as long as that separation, that disconnect lives inside of you, you will continue to uphold structures of division and separation unconsciously, or you’ll simply learn to ignore them.

For those of us for whom those separations and disconnects remain a part of our ongoing experience, it’s time to undertake the deep inner work required of us now. As williams notes, justice is itself a practice—one that can be measured and felt, and one that we each have the power to enact. By nature, inner work isn’t easy—learning to sit with difficult feelings, dismantling inner constructs, acknowledging our complicity in systems of oppression, and questioning our beliefs is hard, and it’s uncomfortable. But now is the time to get acquainted with our discomfort, to do the inner work that outer change demands.

Hear more of Rev. angel’s thoughts in her video below, or check out Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation to learn more about justice-as-practice.

About the Author

North Atlantic Books (NAB) is an independent nonprofit publisher committed to a bold exploration of the relationships between mind, body, spirit, culture, and nature. Founded in Vermont in 1974 and operating in Berkeley since 1977, NAB has been at the forefront of publishing a diverse range of original books in bodywork and somatics, ecology and sustainability, health and healing, Indigenous cultures and anthropology, psychology and personal growth, social justice and engaged activism, and spirituality and liminality. NAB’s Blue Snake Books imprint is one of the largest sources of internal and historical martial-arts books in the world.