I used to groan when I heard the word politics. I used to run a mile when I smelt a whiff of politics in an organisation or group. But over the years I discovered that where two or more people are gathered together there are politics, and I stopped running away, because unless you become a hermit, there’s nowhere to go! Any relationship, if it is to be more than superficial, runs into politics – by virtue of being human we have different views and opinions, and we have to negotiate, compromise sometimes, refuse to compromise at other times, give in, stand firm and so on. Likewise in a group. It is simply naïve to think that a group of people can run anything without sometimes disagreeing or needing to negotiate. Rather than pretending politics isn’t relevant to spirituality, I think it’s time for us to recognise that it is an integral part of it, since politics is about being human. If you’re having difficulty with this, change the word to community. World Politics becomes the World Community and the difficulties and challenges it faces. We all know now that we are one People on one Earth and if we’re not careful we might just mess the whole thing up completely.
In the times we live in, there is a powerful sense that we stand at a crossroads – at a threshold in the story of humanity. Suggesting that this is of no concern to us, or that as spiritual seekers we shouldn’t be concerned with politics seems very much like denial to me at this point in our history.
But how on earth do we engage this issue without it degenerating into us all standing up and shouting out our different political opinions?
I wrote those thoughts sixteen years ago – you can read the rest here. Perhaps we are always standing at a crossroads. But no – sixteen years ago we had 9/11 and we are still living with its legacy.
The question for me now is, how can I face the world without fear? When it can seem that the patients are running the asylum, only a strong sense of being rooted in a reality beyond the world of appearances keeps me from despair. And a small voice whispers: “We shall emerge out of this darkness.”