IS THIS THE ERA FOR PASSIVE CONSUMERS OF LIFE?

This piece, written for yoga teachers, was originally published on Teach.yoga

by rosie von lila / seva

I grew up attending Burning Man and living in a culture where strangers are helpful to each other. I’ve spent 16 years participating in the event, and three years working internationally for the Burning Man organization, learning how tremendously adaptable and resilient humans are, and how we can create anything — particularly when we invite others to join us in our endeavors.

Inspiring people to engage in the world as powerful creators of solutions to build stronger communities and vibrant cities that flourish is easy if you know where to start.


When I look at the state of our world, there are massive challenges that concern me. I often remind myself that the biggest issues of our day are not problems — they are questions seeking an answer.

Poverty. Overpopulation. Pollution. “Is this the world I want to live in?”

Climate change. “Am I content to not help?”

Violence. Terrorism. “Do I want humans to treat each other this way?”

Corruption. Injustice. “Am I willing to ignore this?”

These are not problems — these are questions seeking your answer.

The world’s grand challenges require all of us who are capable to help with creating and implementing solutions, both globally and locally. Many people may passively wait for authorities to clean up whatever the situation may be, but this type of mindset can be transformed. Is this the era of cultivating and replicating cultures that value participation and contribution? It can be. If we make it so.

To support engaging more people in communities around the world, I created a framework that does two things: first, it inspires people to become solution-makers; second, it builds the human network and social ecosystem, recognizing that the way we make stuff happen — our projects, our businesses, our solutions — is through the people we know.

As a teacher, as the leader of a sangha, you have the opportunity for inviting people to engage in something larger than themselves. Your community comprises powerful creators who love to contribute. How do we know this? Because every human is inherently potently creative. And humans are driven to self-actualization, the pinnacle of which is seva.

When you look at the problems facing your local area, what questions do you see? Do you see the question “What can we do about this, together?” Do you see “Are we willing to collectively accept this as it is?”

Changing the world begins with asking yourself, “What do I want?” and “What can I do?” As a person in a position to lead dialogues with your classes, you can do a lot. You can ignite the immense potential of your students.

People love to participate, they love to help. Often times, all they need is an invitation to get involved. When you look at your community, are you asking yourself, “What will I invite them to be part of?”

“Passive consumers of life” are not-yet-empowered people who haven’t recognized they have value to give to the world. Building a movement of change agents, inspiring people to wake up to their power, begins with identifying what you want to see in the world, and then inviting others to get involved.

To learn more about The Von Lila Framework and building participatory cultures: vonlila.com.