“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” – that was about the fact that the first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you’re living, the way you move. Gil Scott-Heron
Gil Scott-Heron, a poet, jazz musician, and spoken-word artist, died Friday. His piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” first recorded in 1970 and often revised, has been referenced extensively in pop culture. It begins:
You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.
That was about the fact that the first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you’re living, the way you move. … The thing that’s going to change people is something that will never be captured on film. It’ll just be something you see and realize, ‘I’m on the wrong page,’ or ‘I’m on the right page but I’m on the wrong note and I’ve got to get in synch with everybody else to understand what’s happening in this country.
You do have to change your mind before you can change the way you’re living. And how do you do that? You meditate. You sit. You watch what arises in your mind. You look at it – how do you respond to the thoughts? What emotions arise? Where do they come from? Can you investigate them without acting them out? Are you your thoughts or something more?
Noah Levine, founder of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, often describes Buddhism as a path of personal (which leads to social) revolution. “The Buddha’s teachings are not a philosophy or a religion,” he writes in “The Heart of the Revolution: The Buddha’s radical teachings on forgiveness, compassion, and kindness. “They are a call to action, an invitation to revolution.”
When you change your thoughts, you change how you act – and react – in the world, which changes how you relate to people, which has ripples that go out beyond what you’ll ever know.
Actions have consequences. That’s the essence of karma – you reap what you sow. You cannot get the result for which you have not planted the seed.
If you sit on your couch and watch TV, surf the Internet, tweet your outermost thoughts, you will never find happiness that outlasts your deodorant. You have to put all that aside and go inside.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.
The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.
Will you be there?