–by Gangaji (Jun 2, 2016)
Someone asked me recently about the connection between spiritual awakening and the actual state of the world. I don’t see any disconnection there. The root of political and social activism is freedom, and the root of spiritual awakening is freedom.
Freedom is really just the beginning. We need social and spiritual freedom to consciously evolve. We need to be free of the burdens of dogma and social constraints (internal or external) to consciously discover. We need to be free as spiritual beings and we need to be free as human beings inhabiting a planet with other human beings as well as other species.
We are at a critical time, and we have both the capacity and necessity to examine the way we have done things for most of our individual and collective human past. We must tell the sometimes hard truth about what no longer works, however well it may have worked in the past. We have been experts at making war: our internal war, war with what is foreign, with what is other, war with what we disagree with. Our tendency as humans is to attack whatever is either within ourselves or in others that we perceive as threatening. We have the power to destroy and this power is now destroying us, as it is destroying other species and our planet, our home. Our power to conquer has circled back on us.
The true spiritual invitation is a call to surrender. It is a call to open the mind and discover peace. This surrender is neither passive nor active; it is reflective. It is not in opposition to an activist point of view, but it also does not champion an activist view.
And yet creative and inspiring activism arises from surrendering points of view and opening the mind to conscious discovery. To be willing to discover what an answer may be, we first must give up our preconceptions of what that answer is. If we cling to spiritual dogma or political and social idealisms, we continue to live lives bound by dogma and idealism, however we may identify ourselves at any particular time. […]
When I discovered that what I really wanted was the truth, I was ready to meet my true teacher. He instructed me to stop, to retreat from every concept I had of what is true, what is activism, what is spiritual, what is the world, what am I, what are you – and be left with what remains when everything is released. In order to really let the world into my heart in the deepest, truest sense, I had to be willing to retreat from everything that I thought of as the world–all of my mental, emotional, experiential versions of it.
From being with my teacher I had the freedom to ask myself if I was really made to be an idealized anything. The liberating answer was no. With that answer I could discover what I was made for: free of all idealizations. It is only our ideas that separate us, and without them—for even a moment—we discover that the world is already alive in our hearts. Then we have the choice to open to it all more fully, to retreat from it, or to continue to be at war with it in different ways.
Our concepts of the world tyrannise us. I am not suggesting that you let your concepts of the world into your heart. I am suggesting that you can retreat from all concepts, especially the world as you think it. Step in closer than your thoughts, and then discover what is already in your heart, in the core of yourself, the deepest part of yourself, without which there would be no you.
I am inviting you to step back from your thoughts of the world to discover what remains when you retreat from all thoughts of the world. Then if the world reappears, it is discovered to be one and the same with what was discovered when there was no world. When you let what is true into your heart, you realise it is your heart that is true. You realize that the world is not separate from that.
This is why we have come together. This is our opportunity. If we remove the dogma from both our spiritual/religious life and our activist/political life, we are left with non-prejudiced seeing. If we don’t have the constraints of what should and shouldn’t be investigated we can actually tell the truth about what we support, what we want for ourselves, and for all of humanity.
What do you want for our Planet, for our community? If what you want is peace and cooperation and love, and if you are willing to really not know how that will come about, then your mind will open to discover.
–by Gangaji excerpt from the article Letting the World into Your Heart: Gangaji and Political Activism [Illustration offered as an anonymous gift :-)]