How We Create the Beloved Community

Meditation and "How We Create the Beloved Community" Talk. Part of a series of talks on creating a global beloved community. Get more details at: https://www.boundlessloveproject.org/creating-the-beloved-community

Posted by Freeman Wicklund on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

VIDEO OPTION: The content of this article was shared and video-recorded at a recent group meditation. The video starts with a guided meditation, but if you wish to only hear the talk, scroll to minute 34:50. Please push play; sit or lie down in a comfortable, energizing position; close your eyes; listen with an open heart and mind, and enjoy!

What is the Beloved Community?

All people, beings, and other life forms want to be happy, peaceful, safe, and healthy. All life wants to thrive. A global beloved community is a world where these wonderful aspirations are realized. In a global beloved community all life is valued, appreciated, and allowed to thrive. 

What if I Can't Imagine It?

Some aspects of this beloved community may be clear to us: in the beloved community there will be no violence, war, prejudice, human-created climate change, homelessness, hunger, or poverty, and we will live sustainably on the planet. Other aspects may not be clear to us: what will a sustainable culture look like? What forms of government will there be? Will we still have cars, planes, malls, or computers? I don't know. 

Although we don't know all of the specifics of what the beloved community will be like, thankfully, this is not necessary. When I hiked the Appalachian Trail I had no idea what Mount Katahdin looked like. Still, I knew I wanted to get there, and I knew the path to take to get there. Only as I got close enough to see Katahdin with my own eyes, did all the details of the mountain become more clear to me.

The same is true with creating the beloved community. Working to end human-created climate change, violence, war, prejudice, homelessness, poverty and so on is plenty to keep us busy for several lifetimes. Haha! So that is our path. 

As we walk this path, and get closer to our destination, the other specifics will become more clear. Until then, we can be at peace with the mystery, equanimous with the "not knowing," and have faith that what needs to be revealed to us, will be revealed to us when it is needed. At the same time we can calmly contemplate what a global beloved community will look like, and recognize it as our ultimate goal. 

Inner Reform Leads to Outer Reform

However, all of this talk of ending problems, keeps us focused on our external reality, which is not where the root of these problems lie. Our inner world drives our behaviors, and those behaviors create our external reality. Thus, if we want to reform the outer world, we best reform our inner world first.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives." To create a beloved community we will continually be reforming our inner world of thoughts and emotions, to reform our behaviors, which will then reform our external reality. All of these aspects will dynamically interact with each other.

What If I'm Not a Social Reformer?

Even if you have no intention to be a social reformer and you plan to never call a congressperson, attend a protest, or do activism of any sort, by doing the inner work, you will still be creating the beloved community. By doing the inner work, you will come to embody the beloved community in the way you think, speak, and relate to others. And the power of your example will benefit everyone who comes into contact with you. Through that alone you will help usher in the beloved community. 

The Beloved Community Pledge

To help us do the inner work necessary to embody the beloved community, the Boundless Love Project has created a Beloved Community Pledge. Our pledge has been copied word-for-word, or at other times, heavily based on, the pledge that nonviolent civil rights protectors used in Birmingham, Alabama during the 1950s and 60s. 

All protesters had to read the pledge and seriously evaluate if they could commit to it before signing it. If you did not sign the pledge, you were not allowed to protest. Protesters might face verbal abuse, arrests, and beatings, and they needed to bear these indignities nonviolently without responding in kind. 

Supporters who did not commit to the pledge, helped the movement in other ways that would not put them into conflict and confrontation. 

Because many people in the civil rights community faithfully lived up to the pledge, many began to embody and experience the peace and joy of the beloved community. They found love, connection, and joy, despite the prejudice and persecution they faced from the wider society. The same can be true of us today. 

By using their pledge as a template for our own, we seek to honor, appreciate, and celebrate the wisdom, courage, sacrifice, love, and noble objectives of the brave people of the civil rights movement. 

Pay More Attention to the Meaning Instead of the Words

The pledge is made up of ten commitments. These commitments work together to support and reinforce each other. They help us walk the path to the beloved community more skillfully and with ease. 

Before sharing the pledge, we want to emphasize that the meaning behind the words are more important than the actual words themselves. Thus, individually and organizationally, we may feel free to change, adapt, and alter the pledge’s words if doing so, helps us better communicate their fundamental meanings to ourselves. 

Each commitment is a short sentence to make reviewing and memorizing them easy. But each simple sentence points to a much greater meaning. The rest of this article unpacks the deeper meaning behind each commitment. 

1. TRUST and OBEY My Conscience as the Highest Authority. 

This commitment requires us to take personal responsibility for our ethical conduct. We refuse to simply conform our ethics to the standards of the people we live, work, or worship with, or to the laws of the land. These minimal standards will never bring us lasting joy or help us create the beloved community. Nor do we uncritically follow the teachings of wisdom teachers or wisdom texts, as history has shown us repeatedly that heedless obedience can lead to injustice, violence, and suffering. 

To trust and obey our consciences, we must first recognize that two contrary forces operate within us: the ego and our conscience. The ego represents all in us that is false, conditioned, upsetting, unskillful, changing, and temporary. The ego is the false self, it is the source of our suffering and our unskillfulness. We follow the ego to our own detriment and the detriment of others. 

In contrast, our conscience embodies all in us that is true, unconditioned, peaceful, skillful, unchanging, and eternal. When we follow our conscience, we feel peaceful, fearless, and joyful, and we effortlessly behave in a loving, skillful, and wise manner.

The conscience goes by many names: true self, higher self, intuition, inner wisdom, the formless, soul, spirit, or divine nature. Religious people view it as the God of their understanding dwelling within them. Whatever you call it, it is the source of all life, wisdom, love, creativity, and skillfulness. Most importantly, it is who we are at our most fundamental level.

To trust and obey our conscience, we must learn how to distinguish between the thoughts of ego, and thoughts of conscience.

First, we can use our body as a compass to distinguish between false, unskillful, egoic thoughts and truthful, skillful, thoughts of conscience. When we believe thoughts of conscience, the mind feels balanced, spacious, and inspired; the heart feels warm, open, and connected; and the body feels peaceful, fearless, and ready for action. Be wary of thoughts and impulses that arise when the mind or body are tight, restless, angry, frustrated, impatient, or emotionally disturbed. Such thoughts and impulses typically lack wisdom and arise from ego.

Secondly, because the primary source of ego is language, we must appreciate the inherent falsehood of our language-based thoughts, and prioritize experiencing the truth of reality as it is directly with our senses. (For more on this read the article Trust and Obey My Conscience). Because of the my-thoughts-are-true bias of the mind, we need the qualities of mindfulness and focus to see thoughts as thoughts, rather than mistake them to be the truth. When we no longer mistake our thoughts to be the truth, they no longer cause us needless mental and emotional suffering, and we are able to rest in our true self; experience our inner love, peace, compassion, and joy; hear, trust, and obey our conscience. 

2. MEDITATE Daily for the Benefit and Welfare of All People, All Beings, and All Life Forms.

When we live from our egos or false selves, as most of us do much of the time, our lives are at the mercy of our impersonal conditioning. We are cut off from our inner wisdom, and much needless mental and emotional suffering results. 

Meditation is one of the best means to train our minds, open our hearts, and develop the vital skills of mindfulness and concentration necessary to study our inner lives. The skills of mindfulness and concentration allow us to investigate our inner life and help us distinguish between what is false, egoic, and unhelpful in us, from that which is true, wise, and helpful. 

When we see this clearly and mindfully, we will effortlessly become more wise, loving, peaceful, compassionate, and joyful. 

The more we embody love and wisdom, the more skillful our actions become, and the more easy it is for all life to thrive. This is one way that our meditation practice serves all life. 

Another way our meditation practice serves all life is by helping us eliminate our unconscious prejudices. Mindfulness and concentration help us penetrate and see previously unconscious prejudices within ourselves that cause us to act unskillfully in a way that harms ourselves and others. By developing mindfulness and concentration, meditation helps us to see and then weed out these prejudices. This benefits us and all whom we interact with. 

Your liberation is everyone's liberation. Everyone's liberation is your liberation. Thus you do your best to meditate daily out of love and goodwill for all life, including yourself. 

Meditation practice will aid you in keeping all of the other nine commitments. It will also help you appreciate the temporary, impersonal nature of thoughts, emotions, and sensations.

3. CONTEMPLATE, STUDY, and LEARN the Ways of Love on a Daily Basis. 

Contemplate love with an open mind and heart, and with an understanding that there is always more to learn. What is love? What qualities make up love? How does love feel in the body? When love is present, how does it inspire me to behave? What are the qualities of loving thoughts, words, and actions? How can I modify my behaviors so they are more loving? How can love be my fundamental nature when I don't feel it all the time? When love is not present in me, where did it go? Is it possibly still there, but just buried under the ego? We patiently and diligently seek the answers to these wonderful questions by using mindfulness and concentration to explore our inner lives.

We gently reflect on the relationships in our lives where love most easily arises, and pay attention to those moments when love is present. We use these experiences of love as a template to study, learn, and grow our love in other areas of our lives. By doing this, we will relate to more and more people, beings, and life forms with an attitude of love. 

By studying our inner love, we will learn how love is made up of the four qualities of kindness, compassion, peace, and joy. And from these qualities many other beautiful qualities arise such as wisdom, mindfulness, courage, resolve, persistence, forgiveness, generosity, patience, honesty, genuine humility, appreciation, service, renunciation, and more. 

Through this investigation we can experience how love feels in the body. We feel love in all of the subtle, pleasant, spacious, energizing, and connecting sensations that we feel when the mind is balanced and peaceful, the heart is open and connected, and the body is calm and as relaxed as possible given the situation. 

Through this investigation we see how these loving sensations inspire us to behave skillfully, creatively, flexibly, generously, patiently, and joyfully. We see how loving acts help, benefit, support, and serve others and ourselves at the same time. We see how love never seeks to harm or injure anyone. 

We contrast this study of love, with the study of our ego. The ego arises in us as false thoughts and beliefs in the mind. These falsehoods are subtle and easy-to-believe, and both culturally and individually, we all fall prey to them. But these falsehoods, when believed, are the source of all of our mental and emotional suffering. These egoic falsehoods are also the source of all of our unskillful actions. (Learn more about these specific falsehoods by taking our free Mindfulness Fundamentalscourse.) Thus by studying the ego, we study the absence of love, and learn about love indirectly. 

In addition to studying love in our own life, we can study the loving examples of the saints and sages of various wisdom traditions and from the numerous nonviolent social reformers. With our conscience as our guide, we can disregard those aspects in these wisdom teachers that were unskillful, while still letting their loving examples inform and inspire us. 

Our contemplation and study of love will lead us to meditate daily; take meditation classes, attend places of worship, or listen to mindfulness talks or podcasts; serve others people, animals, and life forms; read wisdom texts; journal; listen deeply to others; and much more. 

Given the many ways to study and contemplate love, there is no excuse to not commit to studying the ways of love every day. By studying and contemplating love in these ways on a daily basis, we will learn the ways of love. As we learn the ways of love, we will better embody the ways of love in our own behavior and actions. Arguably, nothing will help us live a more peaceful, loving, and fulfilling life than learning and embodying the ways of love. 

Arguably, nothing will help us create the beloved community faster than learning and embodying the ways of love. That is why we make studying, contemplating, and learning the ways of love a daily priority. 

4. RECOGNIZE the Inherent Worth and Value of All Life and TREAT Both Friend and Foe with Courtesy, Dignity, and Respect. 

Commitment four seeks to cultivate the mental attitude that all life is inherently valuable and worthy of our kindness, compassion, and care. If a life form did not serve a purpose in this great tapestry of life, they would not exist. The fact that they occur, means they have a positive role to play, even if we do not know or understand it. 

Commitment four encourages us to see what is worthy, skillful, good, beautiful, and praiseworthy in all life: people, animals, and both animate and inanimate life forms such as trees, insects, rivers, and sky. We recognize our own inherent value. We also recognize the inherent value of all other life forms living or dead; past, present, or future. Nothing and no one is excluded. 

From this attitude that all life has inherent value, we do our best to then treat all life with kindness, respect, and common courtesy in a way that honors their inherent dignity. We do this for people, beings, and life forms that we like, as well as for those we dislike, and even to those who harm us or our loved ones. We also respect future generations, taking their needs seriously and modifying our behaviors to ensure their health and wellbeing. 

In other words, this commitment reminds us to allow our love to be unconditional and boundless. It encourages us to allow our love to express itself in the way that love wants to be expressed. 

5. WALK and TALK in the Manner of Love, for Love is Our Most Authentic and Fundamental Nature.

Our external actions, mirror our internal life. When our mental attitude is one of unconditional goodwill and friendliness to all, it effortlessly leads us to speak and act in a loving manner -- with gentleness, calmness, patience, tenderness, kindness, honesty, empathy, and compassion, and at other times with courage, boldness, persistence, and determination.

If our behavior is lovingly done with ease and calmness, then our mental and emotional world is guided by our conscience. If, however, our behavior is not loving, or harms ourselves or others physically, mentally, or emotionally, then it reminds us to "wake up," be mindful, see how the ego is running our life, and refrain from doing anything while the ego is in charge as our actions will continue to be unskillful. 

Thus we can use our behavior to help us explore our mental attitudes and see when we are living from love and conscience, or from falsehood and ego. 

Through mindfully exploring our inner world, we eventually discover the fact that unconditional love is our fundamental nature, and it is always with us. Unfortunately, when we believe the falsehoods of the ego they generate unpleasant emotions and stress that hide and obscure our inner love from ourselves. Thus, we continue to work to train and reform the mind, and concurrently train and reform our actions until they embody our authentic, loving self. 

Alternate wording: Walk and Talk in the manner of love, for God* is love. (*Please insert the name of the God of your understanding here: Great Spirit, Allah, YHWH, Jehova, Brahman, Universe, Source, Being, Life, etc.)

6. REMEMBER Always that as We Peacefully Create the Global Beloved Community, We Seek Peace and Reconciliation, Not Dominance and Retribution. 

Commitment six encourages us to release all desire to harm people who do unskillful actions. As Mohandas Gandhi wisely said, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." Because we all have engaged in unskillful actions, retribution creates an never-ending cycle of violence. By mindfully reflecting on our own unskillfulness, we can develop more empathy, understanding, and compassion for those who act unskillfully. 

Commitment six reminds us that the means we use to create positive change must be as loving as the ends we seek. The path we walk determines our destination. Violence, revenge, retribution, humiliation, and the abuse of power do not exist in a beloved community, and thus we do not walk that path. That path leads us away from our destination. Instead we walk the path of peace, love, and nonviolence, because that is the only path that leads to our destination of a peaceful, loving, and nonviolent world. 

Therefore, we commit ourselves to learning the ways of peace and nonviolence. Conflicts arise at every level of our society: within ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation, and between nations. How do we respond to conflict, violence, and injustice lovingly in all of these situations so as to bring about healing, reconciliation, and harmony? 

As part of our effort to learn the ways of love, we learn how to overcome and transform violence and injustice with love and compassion. We learn this by following the examples of those who have gone before us. We learn this through experimentation. We also learn this through our mindfulness practice. When we mindfully respond to our inner conflicts with love, patience, and kindness, we experience how this transforms them into peace and wisdom. 

Learning the ways of nonviolence empowers us to lovingly reform those who engage in violence and injustice. It also helps us lovingly reform our own communities, societies, and nations. Unskillful acts do not happen in a vacuum. Systemic inequalities, unwise laws, and collective prejudices often encourage or enable people to act unskillfully. Thus we nonviolently reform our community to better ensure that all people, beings, and life forms get their needs met so they can thrive, making them less likely to behave unskillfully. 

7. REFRAIN from the Violence of Mind, Heart, Tongue, and Fist. 

This commitment reminds us to renounce all judgement. We define judgement to mean believing someone is less worthy--or not at all worthy--of our love, care, and consideration. Judgement always demeans, denigrates, or devalues life by ignoring their inherent value and worth. 

Of course, it is important that we have discernment. Discernment is the ability to see clearly what actions cause harm and what actions do not cause harm. However, unlike judgement, discernment determines this while also recognizing the inherent value of all who cause harm.

This commitment encourages us to be discerning, but not judgmental. Other common words often have a judgmental tone to them. The words "right" and "good" are often used to describe people who are seen as more deserving of love, resources, and special treatment. The words "wrong," "bad," "evil" to describe people who are less deserving of our love and compassion, or even deserving of abuse or death. 

This is why we use the words "skillful" and "unskillful." These words describe actions, not people. All of us do both skillful and unskillful actions. Just like with discernment, these words contain no value judgment about the person, but recognizes the inherent value of all life. 

To renounce violence of mind, we renounce judgmental thoughts. When judgmental thoughts arise, we remind ourselves that they are not true. Judgmental thoughts incorrectly defines others by their worst aspects, while ignoring all they do that is skillful, noble, and good. Judgmental thoughts, by devaluing life, deny the truth that all life is inherently valuable. Judgmental thoughts, by seeking to harm wrong-doers, deny the truth that all people, beings, and life forms wish to be peaceful, happy, and safe. Thus, we see the lie in judgmental thoughts and do not believe them. 

To renounce violence of heart, we renounce the judgmental emotions of hatred, anger, bitterness, and vengeance that arise when we believe a judgmental thought. When these emotions arise in us, we use them to remind us we to wake up and become more mindful because the ego is in control. We then renounce acting out these emotions through violent words or deeds. Instead, we use the energy of these emotions to do something skillful like vigorous exercise, yard work, or house cleaning.

To renounce the violence of tongue, we refuse to share our judgmental thoughts verbally with others. In addition, we learn the skill of how to share our thoughts and opinions in a way that recognizes the inherent value of all life. 

To renounce the violence of fist, we refuse to commit any act of physical violence. We remember that violence does not exist in the beloved community so we refuse to partake. If we have been successful at reforming the violence of mind and heart as suggested, it will help prevent the violence of both tongue and fist from arising. 

The more we renounce violent thoughts, emotions, words, and deeds, the less frequently they arise in us, and the more we purify our hearts and minds. As we purify our minds from these harmful thoughts and emotions, the more skillful we become, and the more our fundamental nature of boundless, unconditional love shines through.

8.SACRIFICE Personal Wants and Desires for the Benefit and Welfare of All Life.

This commitment is about renouncing the mental delusion of greed. Greed is an unskillful mental state of mind that we all succumb to from time to time. We use the word nonjudgmentally to simply point to a factual state of mind. Synonyms for greed include wanting, lust, craving, and clinging. 

Greed can be understood in a lot of ways. Internally, we can think of greed as an unpleasant mental tightness or clinging in the mind, that makes us rigid, inflexible, and trapped. Greed arises, when we believe a thought in our mind about what we need to be happy, peaceful, or safe. Externally, greed can be thought of as seeking "personal gain" at the expense of someone else's wellbeing.

Greed keeps us longing for our relationships and good times of the past, and greed tells us we can only be happy once we achieve our goals in the future. By keeping us focused on the future and the past, greed prevents us from appreciating and enjoying the present moment, which is the only moment we ever have. Because greed ignores the truth that the now is all there is, that is one reason why it is delusional.

Greed disguises itself as the motivational friend we need to help us achieve our dreams so we can finally be happy. But in reality, greed is the root cause of our psychological and emotional suffering. In moments where greed is active in the body, the mind not only feels tight and rigid, but the body feels unpleasant emotions such as stress, fear, anxiety, loneliness, grief, jealousy, envy, impatience, frustration, and so on. Because greed is not what it claims to be, this is another reason why it is a lie. 

Through meditation, we will develop the mindfulness and concentration necessary to experience the truth of this clearly. Then, for our own happiness and wellbeing, we renounce the mental state of greed. 

This commitment is also about renouncing unskillful actions. Due to conditioning outside of our control, we engage in activities that harm others. Maybe we tell prejudicial jokes; litter; abuse our power over our spouse, children, or colleagues; unknowingly purchasing products created by slave labor; or so forth. Unskillful actions arise from greedy thinking about what we need to be happy. Greedy thoughts value pleasure, convenience, power over others, apathy, pride, and similar principles over the welfare of others. This commitment reminds us to equally value the welfare of ourselves and others over all else. 

Thus, we compassionately and mindfully take inventory of our behaviors to see how they intentionally or unintentionally harm others. When we find actions that harm others, we explore, consider, and experiment with replacing them with other behaviors that are more skillful, more kind, and more compassionate towards all life. 

Thus we sacrifice personal wants and desires for the benefit and welfare of all life. The goal is for us to get our needs met in a way that both allows and encourages all life to thrive. If we make such sacrifices in a spirit of love and compassion, we will actually feel more joyful, connected, and grateful to be alive. This makes sense when you fully understand the definition of sacrifice: giving up something of lesser value for something of greater value. 

This commitment also inspires us to willingly make sacrifices for the creation of the beloved community, and to bear those sacrifices with as much peace and ease as possible. For example, civil rights activists in the 1950s and 60s valued the creation of the beloved community so much, that they were willing to suffer insults, threats, jail time, beatings, and other violence without retaliating in kind. We too, may be called to make such sacrifices. If so, we must bear these sacrifices willingly, compassionately, and peacefully, that others may benefit. Under these circumstances, our suffering buys others' wellbeing and freedom. 

9. SEEK to Lovingly Perform Regular Acts of Service for Others.

Commitment nine tells us to actively look ways we can serve other people, animals, and life forms in the present moment. Right now, how can you make the lives of those around you more wonderful? When we see an opportunity to serve others, we do it! By doing this, we benefit others, strengthen relationships, and through empathic joy, it makes us happy too.

Commitment nine is also about seeing everything you do as an act of love and service. Of everything you do, ask, "how is this an act of service?" When we do this, we connect with our loving intentions behind the activity. 

Loving intentions transform chores like washing the dishes, washing the clothes, and mowing the lawn into an act of love for your family. Work becomes an act of love for all whom you serve. Walking the dog and cleaning the cat litter pan becomes an act of love for your animal friends. Recycling, turning off lights not being used, biking, and hanging the laundry to dry becomes an act of love for the earth and future generations. 

By being clear on the loving intentions behind our actions, our actions are done with more peace, skill, and joy. 

If we do an action that doesn't seem to serve anyone, then refrain from doing it. It is most likely unskillful. 

Of course, your acts of service can also serve the health and wellbeing of your own body and mind. Meditating, taking a nature walk, eating a vegetable salad, dancing in your bedroom, watching a meteor shower, and so on, can all be a generous act of love and service for yourself. 

You are equally worthy of your love. This truth brings us to our final commitment. 

10. ENDEAVOR to Maintain Good Mental, Emotional, and Bodily Health. 

Commitment ten is about treating our own body, mind, and heart with love. There is no one more worthy of our love than ourselves. This is because all life is equally deserving of our love, kindness, compassion, and care. 

Thus, renounce all judgement towards yourself. When judgmental thoughts directed towards yourself arise, see the lie in them, and don't believe them. Commit to speaking to yourself in a kind, compassionate, tender, and loving manner. Let love--not judgment--be the motivation behind eating well, exercising, grooming, and other practices of self care. 

Commitment ten is also about caring for the body that life has given us. We do our best to give our bodies the socializing, nutrition, water, exercise, and proper sleep they need to thrive. 

Commitment ten also tells us to set and enforce healthy boundaries. We treat ourselves with love, compassion, and care, and encourage those we interact with to do the same. When people mistreat us, we do our best to kindly and nonjudgmentally explain how their behavior affects us, and calmly explain how we would prefer to be treated. If they repeatedly violate our healthy boundaries, we take kind and nonviolent measures to enforce them. 

Commitment ten recognizes that each of us is unique, special, and worthy of love, just as we are. Thus we offer ourselves love, care, compassion, and kindness. 

How to Relate Skillfully to the Pledge Commitments

Another way we can offer ourselves kindness is by how we relate to these ten commitments. That is expressed in the final words of the pledge:

I recognize that adopting these worthy commitments is a journey and not a destination. Thus, whenever I break these commitments, I will FORGIVE myself, RECOMMIT to them, and PERSIST in following them for as long as it takes to embody them fully and create the global beloved community within myself and the world around me.

Having seriously considered this decision, I sign this pledge with the DETERMINATION to PERSEVERE.

These final words are to remind us to not get greedy about these commitments. The mental delusion of greed can arise around all kinds of goals, even highly skillful, noble, and worthy ones. Be mindful of how you relate to these goals (and any other goals you may have). Do they cause you stress, anxiety, frustration or impatience? In moments like this, you relate to them with greed and ego. Or do you relate to them with mental balance, patience, persistence, and kindness? In moments like this, you relate to them with love. Do your best to relate to them with love.

These words also point to the need for us to be forgiving and kind to ourselves. These commitments set a high bar, and we will not live up to them all the time. The goal is not to be perfect, but to do the best we can and keep making progress on the path. Therefore, in those times when we violate these commitments, we will forgive ourselves, do what we can to make amends to anyone whom we have harmed, and then start again. Keep going. Never give up. With our commitment and dedication, progress to creating a global beloved community is inevitable. 

Integrating the Pledge Into Your Life

After you do some soul searching, we hope you decide to make these commitments. If you do, here are some ways to make this pledge a part a living part of your life:

• Maintain a daily meditation practice. 

• Review the commitments daily or at least weekly.

• Memorize the ten commitments. 

• Reading one of the ten explanations each day. Then read a new commitment each day so you review them all in ten days. Keep cycling through them like this. 

• Work intently to fully embody one commitment for a week or longer. This focus will help you to go deeper and gain much wisdom and understanding. Then do the same with another one until you have worked through all ten. Then continue to repeat this.  

By working with the commitments in this way, you will see steady progress. Remember, however, that spiritual progress is rarely linear. It has a cyclical nature with the average of the highs and lows slowly going in an upward direction of progress. 

When the lows happen, when there is backsliding, when you are overwhelmed by apathy or disappointment, remember that these states are temporary. Do your best to remain skillful, focus on self-care, and keep going. When you come out the other end, start again. If you don't give up, you are bound to be successful. 

Summary

The beloved community pledge helps us overcome our own suffering, and helps us do our part to peacefully create a global beloved community where all life thrives. 

All ten of these commitments work together to support and encourage each other, and guide us forward towards our own liberation and the liberation of all life everywhere. 

Please seriously consider taking this pledge. Do it out of love for yourself and all life. We wish you peace, love, compassion, joy, and success.