Reflections on Sane Spirituality

Sane Spirituality and the Political Context

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I've been pondering what sane spirituality has to say in the political realm. We articulated much of that in the Call to Global Spiritual Citizenship, which we invite you to read and sign if you haven't already. But that's abstract, and we need to articulate what it has to say today, right now.

One clear and present danger to the US and the world situation is the financial situation. The US is running up a deficit, the mere payment on which will approach 1 Trillion dollars by 2020. Eventually people will lose trust in US bonds, and our debt load will expand nearly exponentially; leading to a financial meltdown of historic proportions

The Republicans and the Tea Party adherents talk about reducing the deficit but seek to restore the 400 billion in Medicare cuts. The newly minted libertarian senator Rand Paul talks of reducing Medicare, but not payments to doctors like himself. And this group is determined to protect tax rates on the very wealthy, for (dare we say?) these will cost them and their funders money. And they are patently unwilling to compromise.

The Democrats seem ready to reject the report from the Deficit Reduction commission and indicate they are unwilling to reduce benefits to their constituencies, i.e. seniors, the unions, etc. Though perhaps less stubborn than the other side, they too show little willingness to compromise.

What is obvious is that politicians, by design, respond to constituents. They cannot lead here, for they will lose the votes of those constituents who are attentive only to their own self interest. When narcissism and partisanship rule the day, our political conversations become zero sum battles for one groups narrow self-interest against another’s. When all we see is rich against poor, straight against gays, liberals against conservatives, established against immigrants, we will only squabble, endlessly.
Thus it is left to us, ordinary citizens, who are grown up enough to reach beyond our own self interest towards the greater good. What needs to be done is for us to grow up, to recognize that if we are to thrive as a nation and a world, we will have to work together beyond our particular self interest to foster the common good.

Here is where sane spirituality may be able to help. If the spiritual path offers anything, it offers training and practice in stretching beyond one’s own self interest, one’s own ego. We are far from perfect at self transcendence, but what we practice is to look beyond personal fears, beyond personal interest, and to stand in what is larger. Sane spirituality invites people to rise up to their best and highest selves.

Only when we are courageous enough to look beyond our own beliefs and personal wishes can we see and work beyond our own narrow self interest.

Only when we live up to our higher selves, and see beyond our tribe and our unconscious attitudes will we be able to collectively solve our nation’s and our world’s problems.

Only when people rise together with sanity will we reach beyond “my interest,” “my answer” and “my beliefs.” The sane spirituality community is not a silver bullet, but the values we seek to foster can help.



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