The Inner Work of Democracy

The Inner Work of Democracy

We tend to think of Democracy as a set of laws or we might think Democracy is something that other people do on our behalf.

In our vision of healthy democracy, we talked about all of us working on behalf of all of us. Even if that seems too difficult to imagine, you might agree that the health of the people we elect reflects our own health as a society, which is made up of individuals and reflects the health of those individuals.

Our individual abilitiesto think things through, notice our own egos and biases and extend kindness even when we hold different opinionsare the foundation of a healthy and peace-loving society.

Thus, we believe we need to encourage and facilitate opportunities for people to do their inner work. As we all do our own work, we naturally create new ways in supporting those around us to be safe to do their work too.

A new framework was just introduced that I find fascinating. It is a collective effort among educators worldwide. It is called the Inner Development Goals (IDGs). It breaks inner work into  five Major Categories with 23 skills.

  • Being – Relationship to Self
  • Thinking – Cognitive Skills
  • Relating – Caring for Others and the World
  • Collaborating – Social Skills
  • Acting – Driving Change

There are thousands of ways to do inner work and find the ones that resonate with you. I find the best kind are the ones where they are not promoting a rigid dogma, allow you to come to final decisions for yourself and are not overly engaged in selling products.


  • Thich Nhat Han book The Pocket Thich Nhat Han – wonderful short excerpts from his many books.  Poetic and impactful.
  • Inner Development Goals (IDGs)
  • Michael Singer book The Untethered Soul – Singer explains Buddhist concepts in a modern, resonant way that helps people find inner peace
  • Richard Rohr book The Naked Now   Rohr takes concepts from The Bible and explains how to find inner freedom