Spirituality, Politics and Activism – All About Transformation


Marianne Williamson said recently: “We are not here to ignore the illusion; we are here to transform it.”  She’s been fiercely political lately and so have I.

As a spiritual teacher, I am often asked why I am so passionate about politics and world events. Isn’t it better to rise above all that?

I say jump in.  I’ve learned that being spiritual does not mean retreating into a cave of obliviousness. Being a spiritual person does not mean we must ignore current events.  If I ignore what is happening in the world, those things do not simply vanish.

Awareness is a necessary part of spiritual growth – even when it is uncomfortable or when there are ugly things to look at. We are called to be in the world to heal and to help.

To be clear – I am not advocating getting overwhelmed by news and consuming it 12 hours a day. But, some connection with world events is necessary.  Why?

First of all, being aware helps me understand the energy that is swirling and unsettling – those currents pulling at my heart and disturbing my sleep. Knowledge helps me take appropriate self-care steps.

Second, if I am aware, then I know what place may have suffered an earthquake or where innocent people are being bombed. I know about an oil spill polluting a river and the sacred work of Water Protectors. Knowledge points me in a spiritual direction. It shows me what ceremony to offer, where to focus my prayer and intentions.

And, lastly when I am aware I can take appropriate, helpful action.

Spiritual people have been called on for centuries to lead – especially in times that are most difficult. There is a long list of spiritual leaders who took political action or led oppositions against oppression and injustice. Martin Luther King. Gandi. Teresa Urrea. Lozen. Joan of Arc. Chief Arvol Looking Horse.

Healers, priestesses, shamans, reverends – by virtue of who they are and where they stand in society – are at the front lines of opposition. Their visionary power and ability to unite spirit with the physical realms is called on to create positive change.

It is this that makes the spiritual political.

serpent-mound-deb-drum

Drumming and offering ceremony at the Great Serpent Mound, Peebles Ohio, November 2016. Prayers for the election and the future.

 

serpent-mound-dms-from-towerClarissa Pinkola Estes famously wrote “We were made for these times”.

She speaks to each of us when she writes “We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater? Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

 

 

Our world needs dedicated people who seek justice – leaders who call for action and stand for compassion.

So, I ask that you become aware. Allow some small measure of pain and sadness to enter your heart so that it might be transformed.

Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. Don’t get stuck in it. Do not let your heart be broken beyond repair. But, please don’t shy away from the news, from ugliness, need or despair. These are like a beacon showing where you are needed most.

Notice those things which are most disturbing to you. These are the issues closest to your heart: Animals. The environment. Children. The way our elders are treated. Prejudice or bigotry. Women’s rights.

Let your frustration, pain or anger be fuel for action. Let turmoil open a doorway. Reach through, step in. Offer prayer.  Create change. This is how we mend and heal.

 

“Pick a worthy cause, like education, the environment, racial justice, and seek out where you can volunteer your time and energy. Start local, where face to face involvement can have a multiplying effect. Join your forces with family and friends to create a culture of encouragement.” – Dan Rather, journalist