“A spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal juggernaut of history. On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual and psychological self-awareness and rooted in divine truth, wisdom, and compassion will only perpetuate the problem it is trying to solve, however righteous its intentions. When, however, the deepest and most grounded spiritual vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic, and social institutions, a holy force – the power of wisdom and love in action – is born.”
What is a spiritual activist? A proactive force of awakened cosmos; the personification of a walking meditation. A spiritual activist is a fusion of intelligent courageous action meets wise radical love. Spiritual activism is being all-in, and giving oneself totally, as a force of nature first and an individual second, in order to serve the enlightened evolution of humanity. Most importantly, it’s not being afraid. It’s putting a spiritual charge to the following words by Zlavoj Zizek, “The true task of radical emancipatory movements is not just to shake things out of their commonplace inertia, but to change the very coordinates of social reality.”
1. Your spiritual activism is not about religion or dogma.
“Courage is knowing what not to fear.” –Plato
The most effective activism comes from the heart and works its way out through existential thresholds, societal platitudes, and political obstacles. Similarly the most effective spirituality comes from the soul and works its way out through spiritual gauntlets, cultural clichés, and religious hurdles.
As a spiritual activist, you understand this. You have achieved authentic spiritual power over religious pseudo-power. Your spirituality is no longer weighed down by the parochial burden of religious baggage. Nor is your activism weighed down by the outdated heaviness of political propaganda. They have both been fused in a third fire called Providence. Having been burnt to ashes, and thus cleansed of all hand-me-down cultural conditionings, the Phoenix of your spiritual activism rises through providence and you gain initiation into cosmic heroism.
2. You are spiritually activated and actively spiritual.
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” –Pericles
You are tapped into the source. You have heard the “call to adventure” loud and clear, and you’ve heeded that call. No fear. Fear is kindling for the fire of your own “Hero’s Journey.” You have a clear and penetrating vision about your place in the world. You are able to translate a “language older than words” into a language others can understand.
Aware of the interpenetration of spiritual and material energy interlaced between worlds, you are able to use that energy as medicine in this world. Hence are you actively spiritual, transforming the pseudo-power of religion into the real power of spirituality and teaching others how to do the same.
3. Your compassion flows from an interconnection with all things.
“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.” –Thomas Merton
Solitude and meditation are your bedrock. Out away from the things of man. You immerse yourself fully and deeply into the inner-workings of Mother Nature so you can hear what others cannot. You mindfully meditate in order to achieve no-mind, to the extent that your entire life becomes a walking meditation. You are compassionately able to “walk” the wisdom found through such meditation back to the people like Prometheus stealing fire from the gods.
You actively practice the art of social alchemy using the highest frequencies of love. You are the walking, talking, protesting, insurgent personification of compassion-in-action. Having stolen fire from the gods, you are proactive about spreading that fire through a passion of the most high, born of a fusion of courage and insouciance mixed with disobedience and tough love.
4. You proactively epitomize the change you wish to see in the world.
“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” –Khalil Gibran
You are the epitome of a trailblazer. You are willing to lead by good example. Or even bad (amoral) example, if need be. For you understand that change isn’t easy, and being the spearhead of change is even more difficult. Especially in a world run roughshod with inflexible societal-political infrastructures and rigid cultural-religious paradigms.
Thus are you an amoral agent par excellence. Having surfed the amoral wave through any and all moral and immoral obstacles, after penetrating the lies spouted from both sides, you lead the way, realizing that the only thing better than being a beacon of light in the pitch dark is being a beacon of dark in the blinding light. Like Leslie Fieger said “Any fool can run toward the light. It takes a master with courage to turn and face the darkness and shine his own light there.”
5. Your activism is synergistic and holistic.
“I’ve found that friendship, not money, is real security. Most Western poverty is psychological. Real independence is interdependence.” –Mark Boyle
You come from an interdependent stance. Having overcome the clinginess of codependency and the selfishness of independence, your interdependent view oversees all. Because of this you have cultivated a courage-based lifestyle despite the rampant fear-based lifestyle of others. From this courageous interdependent birds-eye view of the world your activism has become spiritually charged.
You understand that activism need not be a take-no-prisoners, cutthroat insurgency. You realize that in one circumstance patience may be needed; in another, conviction; in another, discernment; in another, forgiveness. Your mercy and compassion can come on just as passionately as your ruthlessness and determination, but just as compassion does not imply passivity, “love does not imply pacifism (Derrick Jensen).”
6. Your spirituality is radical and rebellious.
“Sacred activism is the fusion of the mystic’s passion for God with the activist’s passion for justice –creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing.” –Andrew Harvey
Spirituality does not imply serenity. Spirituality can just as easily come from the shadow as hate can come from the light. One becomes more spiritually robust by rebelling against the blind entrenchment of either. As a spiritual activist, you are the epitome of this rebellion. From this ever-fluid, ever-flexible, non-dogmatic, Middle Way stance, your spirituality can never be pigeonholed. You’re consistently able to use a radical approach in order to shatter spiritual paradigms and stretch sacred comfort zones, so as to never become just another member of the status quo.
You understand you were born into a cultural paradigm not of your making within which you must find your own way, have your own adventures, and write your own story. But, as a catalyzing agent of spiritual transformation, you’re taking it a step further and daring to rewrite the cultural paradigm itself.
7. The journey is the thing, not the destination.
“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” –Alan Watts
You don’t focus too much on “answers,” because you know that answers are meant to be questioned. Similarly, you don’t focus too much on destinations, because destinations are, at least in part, up to destiny. Just as the journey is the thing, not the destination; the question is the thing, not the answers. And so you go with the flow, consistently taking Alan Watts’ advice, “For what one needs in this universe is not certainty but the courage and nerve of the gambler; not fixed conviction but adaptability; not firm ground whereupon to stand but skill in swimming.”
At the end of the day, your most potent defense is your profound sense of humor. You carry it like an invisible shield of absolute vulnerability against an invulnerable world. You’re the radical stance against the Tiananmen tank of aggrandized humanity. Your sense of humor keeps the journey in perspective.
If, as Epictetus said “life is a wisp of soul carrying a corpse” then your corpse is your cape, and adventure follows with it. Life is short, and you plan on living it to the nth degree, questioning all things and living in the moment with a humor of the most high.
From the glowing horizon of your spiritual activism you can hear the wise words of Friedrich Nietzsche resonating through the static, “Only now are you going your way to greatness. Peak and abyss, they are now joined together, for all things are baptized in a well of eternity, and lie beyond good and evil.”
Read more articles from Gary ‘Z’ McGee.
About the Author
Gary ‘Z’ McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
This article (7 Signs You Might be a Spiritual Activist) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary ‘Z’ McGee and WakingTimes.com.
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