Engaged Spirituality

Healing Our World, Our Politics, Our Economies, Our Environment

At this Engaged Spirituality section of Enlightened-Spirituality.org, we explore how the power of Awareness can heal the manifest situation of all-of-us-together, by bringing Divine compassion and justice to our politics. Politics—making enlightened policy together—is not to be ignored by spiritually-oriented persons. Enlightened, intelligent policy-making is essential for insuring a fair economy, healthy environment, a peaceful world, and liberty and justice for all beings.

You can read excerpts from the Preface to a manuscript I wrote years ago but never published, Healing Our World: Crucial Solutions for Urgent Problems (A Call for EcoWisdom, Social Justice, and Spiritual Liberation). I may in the future find time to put this entire manuscript at this site for free reading, but it would need extensive up-dating and my involvement in a few other massive projects over the past decade has prevented that thus far.

One way in which every human being can make a small and healthy change with HUGE ramifications for a happier, healthier and more just and sane world is by eating more ethically, compassionately and intelligently ... That is to say, making food choices that honor our bodies and our genetic heritage, that preserve (and hopefully save!) our planet's ecosystems, and that help reduce the slaughter of HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF ANIMALS MURDERED worldwide each year. This means "eating low on the food-chain," a healthy, tasty, plant-based (vegan) diet, not a diet based on death, distress and disease.

Here, too, is a long, no-holds-barred interview from The Sun magazine (a respected literary publication) featured in the April 2003 issue. This interview has Timothy Conway speaking to Arnie Cooper on Engaged Spirituality and Mystical Spirituality, the two most powerfully transformative forms of spirituality available to us. Among many other insights presented are Timothy's very powerful explanatory model, "The Three Levels of Truth," to account for such things as help and harm, kindness and cruelty, justice and injustice (level 3); along with the idea or perception that "it's all perfect," that life is an exquisitely-scripted "Divine Comedy" (level 2); and the deepest mystical realization that "nothing is really happening--only God/Awareness" (level 1). And mature, balanced spirituality sees all three of these levels as simultaneously true, no one level is to be overvalued or undervalued at the expense of the other two levels.

At level 3, the level of justice and injustice, it helps us to know of the extremely important and often misunderstood liberation theology movement within and beyond the Catholic Church, and also the equally important and often completely ignored official economic doctrine of the Catholic Church, commencing way back in 1891 with Pope Leo XIII (actually, it goes right back to Jesus' "social gospel" and the more ancient Jewish tradition of tzedek, justice), and which has been echoed by other major institutional religious bodies over the decades since then. This extremely progressive-liberal Catholic economic doctrine asserts that the goods of the earth are created by God for the good of all, not just for the privileged few. Read here an important essay on liberation theology, Catholic economic doctrine, and important teachings from Pope John Paul II (d.2005) that were largely censored by the U.S. mainstream media, but which are powerful, valuable sources of inspiration and clarification for any justice-minded persons within any of our spiritual or religious faith traditions.

I am happy to report that the present Pope Francis (elected to the papacy in March 2013) is not only renewing but amplifying that same message of socio-economic justice, egalitarianism, loving-kindness and compassion, as I have written about in a Dec. 2013 article for Common Ground magazine, comparing him to Saint Francis of Assissi. You can read that article here.

For more inspiration on this way of engaged spirituality and justice, we can turn to the exemplary life and wonderful teachings of one of the greatest modern-day heroes of peaceful, nonviolent resistance to injustice, somone who did so much to overcome evil with love, that true Mahatma (Great Soul), Mohandas Gandhi. I have posted extensive teachings from Gandhi and outlined his methodical points for staging a peaceful but formidable satyagraha ("truth force") campaign against any injustice.

In Gandhi's spirit, I have also posted a widely-read op-ed piece on understanding the terrorist phenomenon and intelligently, nonviolently responding to it (you see, it's not about being "tough on terrorism" but smart on terrorism). This long op-ed piece was written several days after 9/11, shortly thereafter posted by others to the Internet (where it was distributed widely), and also published by the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. Many readers kindly reported that this was the best op-ed piece they read about 9/11 and our responsibilities. I am pained to have to say that the many pressing problems discussed by that essay have only gotten much, much worse in the aftermath of the tragically misguided Iraq war launched in 2003. But there is always great hope that things can be turned around—by Divine Grace! "Inshallah"—God Willing, as our Muslim friends customarily say.

Here is an another excerpt from Timothy's old book manuscript, Healing Our World on the deeper rationale for this more compassionate way of life in solidarity with all lives, what has come to be called Deep Ecology or Ecosophy (Earth Wisdom) or Eco-Psychology, etc.

Meanwhile, for one of the better sources of articles, essays and op-ed pieces on understanding current events and longterm trends, albeit most of these pieces written from a secular-liberal position (not coming from as purely a compassionate, empathetic, and nondual viewpoint as one might like), see www.commondreams.org. For a consistently more spiritual stance on such matters (from a progressive evangelical Christian viewpoint), see articles at the excellent www.sojo.net online magazine created by Jim Wallis' Sojourners news magazine and activist/charitable spiritual community of the same name, and also Rabbi Michael Lerner's Tikkun magazine of spiritual politics for the Jewish Renewal movement at www.tikkun.org.