It is deeply important to develop an awareness of social injustice. So many of the words and images we hear and see -- along with our past conditioning -- obscure this reality. It is not just hearing and seeing the reality of social injustice but also learning to penetrate the curtain of advertising and extreme self-interest that so often eclipses a general awareness that not everyone is being given the same opportunities. All is not well for many, many people. While we all bring different gifts to life here on earth, we all deserve the encouragement to grow and to develop our gifts, not just for ourselves but also to contribute in large and small ways to the common good.

1. Following a period of meditation, read a newspaper and ask yourself if you are seeing evidence of injustice. Much of the media focuses on stories of violence and conflict. In those stories are suggestions that some people are evil, and, by extension, others are good. That is contrary to the teachings of the Christian church, which suggest that all people have the same value but do and think things that are sometimes good and sometimes evil. In a journal, make a list of injustices you read about. Reflect on how your awareness of social injustice is being strengthened.

2. Following a period of meditation, think about your life and the patterns you find to be distracting. Some distractions are good and even inspiring, but others are numbing. Life can be intense and difficult, and we need brief vacations from it. But numbing can eventually decrease our awareness to the point of having no sense of social injustice at all. Make a list of your good distractions. Make a list of your numbing distractions. Reflect on how that balance might be shifted in favor of a stronger awareness of social injustice.

3. Develop a plan to read the four Gospels-the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John-and in your journal note passages that pertain to the need to address social injustices. We can be strengthened by an awareness of Jesus's concerns both for the less fortunate and for the systems that oppress. Reflect on the impact Jesus's ministry might have on your life.

Walking This Practice into the World

As you go about your daily activities and see the faces of other people, practice saying to yourself, "I am seeing the face of the Holy One of Being." As this becomes a habit you will be making use of your spiritual practices and preparing yourself for social activism with a spiritual foundation.

Don Mackenzie in Finding Peace through Spiritual Practice by Don Mackenzie, Ted Falcon, Jamal Rahman