People on a spiritual path (personal growth, spiritual practice, recovery, yoga, and so forth) are the last people who should be sitting out the social and political issues 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 the masses as well; if you know what makes one life change, then you know what makes a nation change because a nation is simply a large group of people.
People involved in the inner journey discover the value of the feminine, the spiritually receptive and inclusive aspect of human consciousness. Everyone, archetypally, is a parent to future generations. 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. 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 infantilized by a counterfeit version of enlightenment. No true search for enlightenment ignores the suffering of other sentient beings. Ever. We simply need to create a way to address that suffering while remaining in a blissful center.
Albert Einstein said we would not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. We need more than a new politics; what we need is 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 U.S. 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 percent, 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. 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.
Currently, the U.S. Congress is comprised of 16.8 percent women. Our state legislators are comprised of 23.6 percent women. Would our legislative priorities be what they are today —tending always in the direction of serving those with economic leverage first – were those legislative bodies anywhere near gender equal? I like to think not.
Yet, there are understandable reasons for the lack of female participation in our electoral politics, not the least of which is that the entire political system is contrary to everything a feminine heart stands for. It lacks inclusion. It lacks poetry. It doesn’t nurture. It doesn’t love. And without those things, the feminine psyche disconnects.
Where does that leave us, though, if we simply shudder at the thought of politics and then ignore it altogether? Talk about being co-opted by a patriarchal system! We will have gone from men telling us condescendingly to not bother our pretty little heads about important things like politics, to not bothering our pretty little heads without even being told not to! The suffragettes struggled and suffered so much on our behalf; what a travesty of everything they stood for, if we simply look away as though we can’t be bothered.
And yet we should be bothered. Our challenge is to not look away, but rather to transform the field; to create a new political conversation, our own conversation, out of which we can speak our truth in our own way.
As we awaken individually, we will act more powerfully collectively. In the absence of our engaging the political system, we allow it to become something other than what we are. That, in fact, is what has happened, but it’s also what we can change. For what we engage, we transform. And what we engage with our hearts is transformed forever.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said that the desegregation of the American South was the political externalization of the goal of the Civil Rights movement but that the ultimate goal was the establishment of the beloved community. He said it was time to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of human civilization. He wasn’t called a New Age nutcase or considered an intellectual lightweight for saying such things, and neither should we be. I don’t think making love the new bottom line is naïve; I believe that thinking we can survive the next hundred years doing anything less, is naïve. I think those of us on a spiritual journey can help create a new conversation, a new America, and a new world.
Marianne Williamson hosted an event called SISTER GIANT: Women, Non-Violence and Birthing a New American Politics, on November 10-11, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. For more information, visit www.sistergiant.com