One of the most significant hurdles to our development as 'whole' human beings is our attachment to the false separation made between what is considered 'practical' and what is considered 'spiritual'.
It is a dichotomy whose origins can be traced back to the invention of Religion: as a man-made vessel in which to encapsulate the spirit, and as a formal statement of belief in one faith or another faith; one temple or another temple; one god or another god. In other words, to that point in history when our nature and spirit led celebrations of the miracle of life were superseded by the intellectualisation and compartmentalisation of such experiences under the specific control of an authoritative body: i.e. a priesthood attached to a church.
Tragically, this false compartmentalisation of the spiritual has played a key role in keeping mankind locked away from the universality of spirit which is our birthright and true potential. So much so that it has been possible to foment crusading wars in the name of all-powerful sectarian gods and the blind faith which devotees hold in them. Millions have been, and continue to be, murdered in the name of the leading religions of our era, stretching back for centuries. For those who see themselves as free from 'religious' persuasions, money and power provide the latest totem of worship, but in truth this totem is followed with all the same blind belief as that to be found in religious cults.
When we are mere babies, those of us who were born into the Christian faith are initiated into the protective institutional arms of the church by the ritual known as 'baptism'. Here, the mark of the cross is symbolically drawn on our innocent foreheads by the priest whose finger is first dipped in sacred water deemed to form a direct link to John the Baptist's initiation of Jesus Christ in the waters of the river Jordan some 2,000 years ago. In the eyes of the church – we are then one of its children. A condition which can later be endorsed by participation in the Christian confirmation ceremony of our early teens.
All this, of course, is supposed to provide a kind of insurance policy against falling prey to the forces of evil. Against the powers of darkness enslaving our souls to the doctrine of the devil.
However, the net effect of taking out this insurance policy (by our parents initially) is to be signed up to a definition of life which gives little room for free thinking or exploration of what 'the spirit' really is or what it has in mind for us. Religion and the church having already defined the scope of our spirit for us, so that all we are supposed to do is dutifully follow the script.
Millions do take this road through life, as can be witnessed in the 'bible belt' area of the US and amongst devout individuals and communities throughout the world. So strong are the allegiances formed around 'religious beliefs' that when any two or more clash the inevitable result is conflict which all too soon leads to out and out war. Just witness the current vilification of Islam (and by extension Iran) by the Judeo-Christian warmongers of Washington who use such vilification to incite hatred which in turn provides a useful alibi for establishing acts of military aggression.
So, as a precursor to further examination, it is very important to recognise how religion and spirituality are often confused with one another. While there can certainly be cross-over between the religious and the spiritual, the reality is that one is a dogma and the other a universal force which can be tapped by all of humanity and which is free of dogma.
The big question is: how to refocus human attention on the true manifestation of the great spiritual force which has the power to transform our daily lives and to counteract the forces of oppression that keep a great part of the community of man in a state of somnolent slavery?
Many adherents of the various 'spiritual paths' on offer in to-days world, seem to feel that it is not their place to get involved in taking direct action on behalf of this Great Spirit. In fact, they misguidedly see activism as contradictory to maintenance of the spiritual path. Many appear to feel exempted from having to take action to ameliorate the wrongs perpetrated upon our physical, mental and political World. This is a great error of judgement in my view. While personal spiritual pursuit may cause a bright light to shine in one's own world, it nearly always fails to turn that light onto our oppressors in the physical world. It is due to this failure that our oppressors have largely got away with carrying on unimpeded in their progressive enslavement of mankind and the destruction of the environment which supports all life on earth.
A theory held by many spiritual aspirants is that 'confrontation' produces a negative vibration which detracts from spiritual development and only adds to the negative karma already present in society. However, to actively campaign for political, ecological or material change for the better requires that we confront the reality face to face, in order to know exactly what it is we are up against. Holding a fear that taking such a position might become an impediment to maintaining the peaceful vibratory levels achievable for example, in deep meditation, provides a false assessment of the truth.
In such cases, 'Peace' is wrongly defined as an essentially passive state largely free of any kind of friction. Spirituality thus takes on the appearance of a cosseted precious gem stone or delicate flower, the outward expression of a protective inner world which shuns contact with that which appears to be at odds with its supposed state of inner purity.
Adopting as a life philosophy such an inward 'frictionless' approach, has the net effect of leaving an open door to those who have no hesitation in exploiting the vacuum thus created. Free rein is given for negative forces to do their worst. At the extreme end these take the form of fascistic, totalitarian oligarchies that hold an almost total dominion in banking, big business, food and farming, health and education, politics, the media, the military and even the church. While such cartels are busy wielding their destructive powers upon our planet and upon our daily lives, those on the supposed path of 'higher awareness' all too often do nothing to apprehend the imposition of such a regime. Wittingly or unwittingly, they remain complicit in supporting the status quo: a way of life based on aggressive competition, consumerist indoctrination and violence.*
This is an innately hypocritical position: to preach peace and yet support violence – the violence that lies at the heart of our psychotic, capitalistic, consumption obsessed, Western societies. Leaving the forces of corruption unchallenged is simply not possible if one is truly following the spiritual path. On the contrary, the entre onto the spiritual path is achieved through committing to do one's utmost to free our planet from bondage and to protect that which is our Creator's work in all ways possible to us. If this means unmasking and exposing that which is blatantly dishonest, then this is what must be done.
It is my contention that by engaging in the direct defence of our basic freedoms and becoming active in the prevention of our collective enslavement, we discover the true means by which our largely dormant spiritual strength is most fully awakened. This way we become emissaries of a universal higher consciousness and are repaid a thousand times over for our efforts. Only when the inner work of spiritual practice is coupled to the outer work of activist involvement can we find the balance which once again unites the spiritual and the practical and makes us whole. Both must be entered into fully, for in reality they are two parts of one whole; just as an inhalation of breath is not separate from its exhalation. Why do we need to divide? That is the route of our oppressors.
Inner strength leads to outer action. Outer action leads in turn to more inner strength.. and so on ad infinitum. The resolution to the false state of separation made between these two states is ours for the making. The longer it remains sublimated within one or other of what we call 'spiritual' or what we call 'practical' there will be no respite for our divided world and no resolution to the sickness that holds back planetary rejuvenation.
What we call spiritual is actually the vibrant life force present in all matter, in all life. It is the composite energy expressed by the billions of swirling atoms that comprise all material and non material objects at all times. At the quantum point of engagement every cell in our body is now recognised as an intelligent being in its own right. A being having all the same intelligent faculties as the individual human being, but in microscopic form. The spirit courses through these cells in a manner indiscernible and inseparable from their cellular atomic structure. Everything that exists is at once spirit and material in simultaneity. The material is simply a third density expression of spirit.
Whereas spirit is simply the fourth, fifth and sixth density expression of the material.
When we humans fully 'come alive' it is said that we can also become invisible. The vibratory rate of our physical body merges with the vibratory rate of universal energy and at that point we are one and indistinct from the cosmic energy from which we once materialised.
So, in essence, spirit and material are one and the same. It is only because we have not yet catalysed the true potentiality inherent in us that we fail to recognise the oneness of energy/matter matter/energy and therefore the oneness of spiritual/material material/spiritual.
Once fired up to to take the sort of actions necessary to bring radical change into the unharmonious and downright destructive mechanisms of our ailing society, our cellular tissues literally tremble with rising energy.
The passion to breathe new life into that which has been callously rendered lifeless raises the spirit (in us) from a largely dormant state to a vibrantly active state. The word 'activist' expresses this condition.
The sense of rightful indignation that burns in us when we are witness to, or the object of, a blatant act of cruelty, deceit or callous indifference, is the spirit rising up (in us) in spontaneous defence of that which is wronged or humiliated. Rightful indignation is a powerful tool in activism. The will to 'right a wrong' is one of the main catalysts to taking action, and it is, I would argue, the natural response for sentient humans. I am not describing the 'vengeance' sought in the case of “an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth” but the burning pain one feels out of empathy and compassion for a sentient life force which is being subjected to unreasonable exploitation.
This pain is the response of the universal spirit which vibrates through all of us and which grows in strength the more we follow its call. Thus, those who see great wrongs being committed on this planet and respond by taking action to defend and ameliorate that which suffers and thereby to bring the true spirit back to life, are truly following the spiritual road to consciousness, awareness and enlightenment. Their actions are the spontaneous expression of all that is Godly in us. To ignore, suppress or subvert such a response is to deny the free expression of this higher calling.
It's more than time for everyone to become an activist.
Julian is a British pioneer organic farmer, writer and activist. He is currently president of the 'International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside' which is leading the fight against GMO in Poland. He is author of "Changing Course for Life - Local Solutions to Global Problems" www.changingcourseforlife.info
Read other articles by Julian Rose here.