Spirituality and Politics: Light Worker, Shadow Worker

“Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals” (2011) by Manuel Marín. Via Flickr.com @manuelmarin. Creative Commons.

Recent social events and divisive politicians have motivated many public figures in the spiritual communities to step forward and comment about politics. Almost every single one will receive a vitriolic remark about staying “within your own lane” and just stick to spirituality; don’t be “low vibe and low energy” by talking politics or social consciousness.

Likewise, there are an equivalent number of public figures in the spiritual communities who have built their branding and image on compassion, love, and lightworking, and yet they have remained eerily silent on issues of social injustice, hate, hate crimes, and, well, quite frankly, political issues that they don’t think personally affects them, but are literally killing others. Which is odd, for someone spiritual who believes as above, so below, as within, so without, and we are all One…

Those who actively seek to walk a spirituality-dominant path for personal development have two options. First, they can develop spirituality inward, and focus on themselves. The goal here is personal transcendence. How can you, you, transcend? The second option is to develop spirituality outward, and focus on the collective. The goal here is collective or social transcendence, to use what Divinity has gifted you with to make a difference in the world around you so that the world can, collectively, transcend, or at least take another positive step toward transcendence. Those are the two core objectives of spirituality. It’s either about your transcendence or it’s about your collective’s transcendence

To talk about which one of the two paths everybody should take is an unproductive conversation. Both paths serve a larger purpose beyond what we are able to understand in our moment. Also, one path is the other, and vice versa. Evolve yourself and you do evolve the collective. Evolve the collective and you will evolve yourself. So both are equally compelling spiritual paths.

That’s why for someone to say to a spiritualist that you should not involve yourself in politics or comment on political matters is, well, short-sighted. It’s in effect asserting that the first path is superior (personal transcendence) and spiritualists need not and should not seek collective or social transcendence.

If you’re seeking self-improvement at the moment and using the vehicle of personal spirituality to do so, which by the way is the definition of shadow work, then yes, perhaps turning inward and detaching from the political and social landscape of your world at the moment is the prudent path. If, however, you are a lightworker, or a self-professed lightworker, well then, lightwork is defined by shining your light out into the world so that you can uplift your community. The lightworker cannot do that effectively by summarily ignoring politics and social issues. Politics and social issues are intertwined with the conditions of your community.

To heal a body, you have to find what is rotting, diagnose the problem, and eradicate the problem area so that the healthy part of the body can begin the healing process. No one disagrees with that or finds such an assertion divisive. Yet when our society is sick and everyone, no matter which side of the aisle you stand on, can acknowledge something is rotting, why aren’t we working toward diagnosing the problem and eradicating the rot? Sure, we can disagree on what the problem is and what the solution ought to be, and that’s common in any area of expertise. But if the team of medical experts are going to heal the patient, then even when they disagree with the diagnosis, they had better do so by working together, collaboratively and in harmony, or else that patient is going to die on the operating table.

Let’s also address how spiritualists take many forms, and serve different roles. Some are rhetoricians, the messengers. Others are warriors, our gladiators. We’ve got those who are physical healers, who heal us mind, body, and soul, one by one. There are those who traverse to other realms or channel entities from other realms, and bring to us important messages so the rest of us can do our jobs better. Then we’ve got the teachers, who preserve the body of wisdom we’ve attained up to this point by passing it on to the next generation of messengers, warriors, healers, and mediums. Understood in that way, it seems silly for the rhetorician to tell the warrior not to fight, or that the healer should take up arms and slay on the battlefront. That being said, if one is a self-proclaimed warrior, then one had better take up the cause and fight the war when called. You can’t call yourself a warrior and then run away from the draft.

To be political and social is part of some of our spiritual paths. Let’s honor that. Likewise, certain defined spiritual paths necessitate its adherents to be political, and yet so many of those who profess to follow such paths are too afraid of their own shadows to do what needs to be done. You cannot be an adequate lightworker if you do not walk out of your own comfort zone in search of the darkness, to find where you most need to shine your light. Do you have to be a lightworker if you are spiritual? No, you don’t. Not all spiritualists are lightworkers. But I am perplexed by those who say they are and yet who refuse to engage in political discourse.