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Over the years, many people on a spiritual journey have asked me why I keep going on about politics, and many people involved in politics have asked me why I keep going on about spirituality. Today however, more and more people seem to sense, as I do, that each holds a gift for the other.
People on a spiritual path – personal growth, spiritual practice, recovery, yoga and so forth – are the last people who should be sitting out the great social and political questions of our day. And there’s an important reason for this: people on such journeys are adepts at change. They know that the mechanics of the heart and mind are the fundamental drivers of transformation. This doesn’t just apply to one person, but to masses as well; if you know what makes an individual life change then you know what makes a nation change, because a nation is simply a large group of individuals.
“We stand by as children starve by the millions because we lack the will to eliminate hunger. Yet we have found the will to develop missiles capable of flying over the polar cap and landing within a few hundred feet of their target. This is not innovation. It is a profound distortion of humanity’s purpose on earth.”
—Senator Mark Hatfield
America keeps trying to fix itself by moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic. Clearly this isn’t working, and people in the consciousness movement have some important clues why — and what to do about it.
People involved in the inner journey discover the value of the feminine, or spiritually receptive and inclusive, aspect of human consciousness. Everyone archetypally is a parent to future generations. And a motherly love – putting the care of children before every other consideration — is the ultimate intelligence of nature. Yes, women are homemakers — and the entire earth is our home. Yes, we are here to take care of the children — and every child in the world is one of our own. We have evolved to a point to be ready to say these things, in a meaningful way and with a collective voice. Making money more important than your own children is a pathological way for an individual to run their affairs, and it’s a pathological way for a society to run its affairs.
But people often say to me, “I don’t want to get involved with politics because it makes me upset. What am I supposed to do with the anger, the rage, the cynicism?”
Well, I know what we shouldn’t do. We shouldn’t use our own upset as an excuse for not helping. We shouldn’t come up with a pseudo-spiritual excuse for turning away from the pain of the world. There is nothing spiritual about complacency.
These are very serious times, and serious people need to be doing some serious thinking. The last thing we should do is allow ourselves to be infantalized by a counterfeit version of enlightenment. No true search for enlightenment ignores the suffering of other sentient beings. Ever.
Albert Einstein said we would not solve the problems of the world at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. We need more than a new politics; we need a new worldview. We need a fundamentally different bottom line. We need to shift from an economic to a humanitarian organizing principle for human civilization. And women, en masse, should be saying so.
The US incarcerates more of its people than any nation in the world, or any nation in history. Our military budget is almost twice that of all other nations of the world combined. At 23.1 per cent, our child poverty rate is so high that it is second only to Romania among the 35 developed nations of the world. 17,000 children on earth die of starvation every single day. We are the only species systematically destroying its own habitat. And two billion people – almost a third of the world’s population – live on less than 2 dollars a day. There’s a lot more to those statistics than a simple “To Do” list can fix. Those facts will only change when we bring to our problem-solving a far more committed heart.