The connection between spirituality and politics

…is that each needs the other.

To start, let’s define the terms. Politics, for me, is reading, listening, thinking, talking, and acting in almost any sphere. Spirituality is anything you think it might be that isn’t pre-canned, spoon-fed organized religion. A principled atheist (sometimes called a “humanist”) can be spiritual, whether he or she knows it or not. Conversely, a rote Christian, Jew, Muslim, or whatever who never thinks independently and/or demonizes other groups is not, at least in my book.

Politics without spirituality lacks grounding in values, caring, and a sense that we’re all connected and connected with the earth. Spirituality without politics (caring about what’s happening in the world and doing something about it) is solipsistic navel-gazing. More than one of my friends and much that I read tell me that peaceful meditators, even if they do nothing else, are contributing to the welfare of the world. If their meditation practice gives rise to inner balance and calm in the rest of their lives, that may be true in a narrow sense. They may be more loving and patient, and people who encounter them may come away feeling calmer and happier too. All good. But undemocratic and unequal global and national political/economic systems go right on destroying and hurting. Spiritual practice could gradually lead to more people questioning the right and necessity of these systems continuing to exist, but making spiritual practice the source for and temporary refuge from direct political – hopefully revolutionary – activity would be a whole lot better. That’s what I do, and what I hope you’re doing, too.

About (They Got the Guns, but) We Got the Numbers

I'm an artist and student of history, living in Eugene, OR. On the upside of 70 and retired from a jack-of-all-trades "career," I walk, do yoga, and hang out with my teenage grandkids. I believe we can make this world better for them and the young and innocent everywhere, if we connect with each other and create peaceful, cooperative communities as independent of big corporations and corporate-dominated governments as possible.

Posted on September 15, 2011, in 9-11, Introductory, Meditation, Politics, Spirituality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi Maggie,
    I’m on the same page with you in my 9-11 sentiments. I would even go so far as to say that the collapse of the twin towers was an inside job (even as I saw the first videos, I couldn’t help but shout that it was a DEMOLITION of those buildings — done neat and clean by EXPERTS!)

    But regardless, what appalls me the most is that the media is continuing to shove 9-11 out there as if America itself — so perfect and upstanding in the world community — received a blow of unmentionable proportions. Some citizens are still enthralled by this image, but I have a feeling many of us are ready to put it behind us.

    And as you included in your piece:

    “Ten years into the post-9/11 era, haven’t we had enough of ourselves?”

    By all means, let’s let those who lost loved ones remember, grieve, and let’s support them in rebuilding their lives. In the memory of those who died, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the monuments we built were a stronger more democratic process, and a national infrastructure that supported sustainability and well-being for EVERY American? My favorite dream! :)

    However, we know that the powers in control of our government and nation aren’t interested in that so I won’t beat a dead horse. So, as you say in your title, we must rely on “Change We Make Ourselves.” We can do it.

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