How To Be "Spiritual" During Chaos

Do you find it challenging to maintain a positive outlook when news is negative and opinions seem to be overwhelming facts?

Fear and outrage are in the national diet these days, and apparently it’s profitable to capitalize on them.

What we put our time and attention on increases in our experience. Does that mean we should avoid passionate activism? Isn't focusing on what isn't working the wrong approach to creating change?

Should we avoid taking action on something we have strong feelings about, even when we believe that change would contribute to a world that works for everyone?

On the surface, it seems like the answer for spiritually committed people would be yes.

But let’s consider how we might be activists for change, without immersing ourselves in anger and frustration, and without having a personal cognitive dissonance crisis! 

In the spring of 1990 I had a subscription to ReVISION Magazine. Deena Metzger wrote an article in it called Personal Disarmament, in which she described a peace activist in a personal disarmament workshop who had had to confront his extreme distrust of others. In the article, she said,

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“I suggested that the officials who sat at that table trying to reach agreements were as distrustful, suspicious, and injured as he was. He was broken by this realization and confessed that he couldn't (in their place) conscientiously advocate weakening the defense system; yet he had advocated disarmament all his life.”

Similarly, those of us with spiritual practices who advocate for values we believe in need to recognize the sincerity and the struggles of people on both sides of the issues, and the difficulties of trying to create legislation that matches some values without dismissing opposite viewpoints.

Are we listening? Do we treat others as we wish to be treated? Do we look at the issues and discuss them without putting those who disagree down? It's tough, isn't it, when what's under discussion affects us, or our loved ones, personally?

Ernest Holmes, the Founder of Centers for Spiritual Living, wrote in his book, The Science of Mind, “…we do not have to move the world–it is going to move anyway. This realization does not lessen our duty or our social obligation. It clarifies it. It enables us to do joyously, and free from morbidity, that which we should do in the social state.”

These are two powerful cues for how to act from our hearts, remain centered, and still advocate for changes we believe in:

    ❖  Recognize the difficulties involved in what we want, and don't be tempted to  

         oversimplify the issues or condemn those who disagree with us.

    ❖  Act and advocate, but stop dwelling in fear or anger. Trust the unfolding of

         circumstances to the Infinite Intelligence of Spirit, do our best, then let go.

Fear and anger hold the circumstances of the moment in place. Releasing negative attitudes and feelings creates more elbow room around finding solutions that suit more of us.

This is a tall order, I know. Perhaps our conscious, sincere intention and practice can open us further into this type of transformative leadership. I'm still in training, but I'm willing. How about you?