In an odd way, the last couple of years has been such a rollercoaster; both in terms of simply observing the turning of a stone, always suspected but conveniently filed as “under-control”, and, more-so, in coming to the realisation that (self-proclaimed) spiritual activity does not equate, in any way, to a progressive, caring, empathetic political compass.
Perhaps it was naivety, or an over-weening belief in the “goodness-of-heart” emanating from those on a path of self-analysis, discovery and development. Yet here were, self-exposed, many considered the “great and good” of their particular (RH) path, exposed as vocal advocates of reactionary policies. Misogynistic, homophobic, racist, nationalistic, xenophobic, alt-religion types, unexpectedly spewing their preferred vitriol, without a hint of irony, alongside their usual output of “Love-is-all”-memes.
I’ve kind of come to terms with the revelation of the inner heart of such false messiahs, but have to admit to a deep level of political-fatigue engendered by it. Losing so many “assumed” allies, in such a condensed timespan, has so shocked an erstwhile conviction of the spiritual-political dynamic that I’ve been forced to much introspection of that dynamic, and how it can (apparently) throw up such wide disparity in outlook amongst those who claim to be active “seekers” on a spiritual path.
Perhaps I just need to “grow a pair”, come to terms with the discovery that there are as many reactionaries within spiritual circles as there are progressives, and simply allow that friction of personal “expectation” to run its course; “let it be”.
Notwithstanding, the spiritual path can never be trod in isolation. Social, economic, and political reality must necessarily affect, and be affected by, the spiritual expression of the individual. When that spiritual expression avoids the social, economic, and political, it becomes a mere denial of responsibility in the broader sense.
As John expresses in this piece, “…individual spiritual practice in isolation from engagement with the world will never lead to real personal development and thus never lead to positive social change.”
Get out in the world. Stand against. Stand for. Stand with. Stand apart. To do otherwise, seems unimaginable…
“No one ever told us we had to study our lives,make of our lives a study, as if learning natural historyor music, that we should beginwith the simple exercises firstand slowly go on tryingthe hard ones, practicing till strengthand accuracy became one with the daringto leap into transcendence …– And in fact we can’t live like that: we take oneverything at once before we’ve even begunto read or mark time, we’re forced to beginin the midst of the hardest movement,the one already sounding as we are born.”— Adrienne Rich, “Transcendental Etude”
In light of the hate and violence seen this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, I feel it’s important to raise again an issue which is frequently debated both in Pagan and Religious Naturalist circles: the relationship between religion and politics or between spirituality and activism.
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