One of the tensions in my life, especially since doing a Sociology degree in college, has been between spirituality on the one hand and social engagement on the other.
A part of me (Libra Moon, some would say) has always been concerned with issues of justice. I’ve always come down on the side of the underdog, knowing intuitively that the “have-nots” are continually screwed by the “haves,” and that the “haves” will do just about anything to maintain their status as overlords. At the same time, I’ve known intuitively that, should a “have-not” somehow scramble out of the muck and into the rarefied stratosphere occupied by the “haves,” this new arrival will most likely take on the behavior of his new social class, so that the oppressed is now the oppressor.
With all of this in mind, I have in the past spent a lot of time and energy keeping up with the drama played out between “haves” and “have-nots.” I purchased and devoured books on the following:
— The Cold War
— The Vietnam War
— The JFK/Malcolm X/MLK/RFK assassinations
— The CIA
— The Spanish Civil War
— The Federal Reserve
— U.S. Intervention in Latin America (and beyond)
— The Red Scare
— The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
— AIM and the Black Panther Party
— Conspiracy Theories around all the above, plus
— Danny Casolaro and The Octopus
— The New World Order
— The War on Drugs
And so forth… you get the picture.
At a certain point – say, around the year 2002 – I looked at the many piles of these books that had mushroomed in my office – some of them already read, most of them waiting – and I asked myself, “What is the point in all of this?”
I’d spent all that time thinking there was an answer to the who, what, when, where and how of our political history. The same names popped up, going back centuries – the same families, same money interests, same bloodlines. I thought that, if I just studied this stuff diligently enough, there would come a time when a light would snap on in my head, and I’d finally emerge into an intellectual clearing – and I’d be able to tell others about my discovery, thereby rendering thousands of years of human ignorance obsolete, so that we may all move forward into a Golden age of total honesty and mutual assistance.
Instead, I came to that moment in 2002 – having already spent years in meditation, studying holy texts and engaging in nonstop spiritual dialog – when I understood that these conspiratorial (or not) machinations were not going to end just because someone like me thought he’d stumbled onto “their” game. It occurred to me that, even if all the worst aspects of all the conspiracy theories – that royal bloodlines are connected with extraterrestrials, that bankers are the new slave drivers, that the New World Order will turn humanity into a Borg hive of soul-less automatons – there is no amount of screaming and hollering and “revelatory disclosure” on my part that is going to bring measurable change. The more you shout CONSPIRACY, the more marginalized you become – laughed at, ridiculed, pushed straight out of “respectable” conversation, relegated to Internet forums filled with other nutjobs who you’d otherwise not touch with a mile-long pole.
It’s not been, however, a matter of simply ignoring my passion for social justice in order to escape into spiritual practice. Rather, it’s been a matter of slowly shifting the emphasis from screaming and hollering (i.e., complaining) about the degenerate state of the external world, migrating toward greater and greater inner awareness, withdrawing from my anguished projections onto the world mirror and allowing something more essential (as in, of my Essence) to bubble up to the surface of my worldly presence.
In other words, I decided to elevate meditation, study of the sacred, and spiritual dialog to occupy larger and larger parts of my daily existence, so that when I now take a look at the horrors of current events, I’m able to honestly assert myself as “not that” — as an antidote, a solution, a reason for hope.
And in the process, I’m meeting many others who’ve come to a similar place. They’re no longer sniveling, playing the victim and waiting for the worst. They are making of themselves living examples, trusting that as a collective expression, millions around the world will form a wave of positive change from within. They trust that external circumstances stand no chance of holding back this wave.
So hey… vote for your favorite Presidential candidate. March for change. Slap bumper stickers on your car. Write to the Editor, to your Representative, your Senator. Sign petitions. Hold placards on street corners. Argue your point of view. Give your two cents. Participate.
I’m for all of this.
I just hope that we all remember: our Paradise is already here, right now, beneath our feet, in our hearts. It’s been here all along; it was never gone. We just have to live it from where we are, no matter what our external circumstances may be. We have plenty that we can do to build-up our Paradise. We can meditate. We can eat right. We can walk instead of drive. We can love instead of hate.
The point is, life’s too short to spend it in opposition to the world around us. With the time we’ve been given, how can it hurt to assert our own Paradise every moment of every day? All those Players of the Game – teach them by your example! They know not what’s best for them, as they are bought into a set of values born of television. Love them, even as they wave weapons in your face. They may not know it, but they are not separate from you.
In this way, the bridge between social justice and spirituality is maintained. In this way, the puzzle is solved… and we are free to get on with just living.