We often say spirituality and politics have nothing to do with each other. But they do, at least the way I understand spirituality. There are two meanings in which I’ve seen the word “spiritual” used: One in the sense of esoteric, metaphysical - matters relating to spirit. Another is in the sense of bringing heart to the table of life. The heart is the great equalizer. (Some people say guns are — but I’d say the heart is.)
To me, spirituality is the understanding that all things are made of God. If I want to love God unconditionally, I want to love life unconditionally — independent from whether what it brings me is a challenge or a delight. In the flow of life, the flow of experiences both pleasant and unpleasant, spirituality to me means to stay focused on one thing: A heart-full, “whole-hearted” presence with all of it.
Therefore I define “spirituality” as bringing heart into the matters of life, bringing heart into the “mundane.” “Mundane” comes from latin mundus, and it means “world.” The “world” is the sacred expression of God.
God cannot easily be understood directly, therefore I find it difficult to bring my heart to the abstract thought “God.” But I can love God by understanding that all I perceive is God, made of God, expresses God. The world is the expression, the “light”, of God.
According to my current understanding, the world comes into being through a refractionation of consciousness — basically a “trick” of light, an optical illusion of consciousness. “God” has actually never changed; but our consciousness perceives it as if God has changed and become various forms. I am not clear yet how exactly this occurs. Currently it looks to me that by taking a perspective, a way of seeing, automatically correlating other perspectives come into being — such as that you can’t take a bite out of a whole apple without now having an apple with a bite missing, and a piece of apple between your teeth. The apple is still whole — but your experience of the apple is of having a separate piece in your mouth. The same way, by taking a perspective, we’re taking a bite out of the wholeness of God; and now we experience God as “the bite in contrast to all the rest of the apple.” And so you can see that the entire world is still God — everything we experience, every bright light, and every dark darkness, and every dynamic and transaction between all of these now as if separate aspects.
While I can rarely grasp the Infinite, Ultimate, “God” directly, I can grasp the world, I can grasp whatever I experience in front of me. And I can aim to love this – what I see, hear, sense, taste, whatever I perceive. Instead of failing at bringing heart to an abstract thought of the Ultimate, I can love God through loving the world, through loving all of life, all of experience.
Through this, I come to love God in any and all form it takes. The question no longer is: Does God love me unconditionally? The question now has become: Do I love God unconditionally?
And because the world is God-as-if-having-taken-form — a refractionated perception of the whole due to a trick of consciousness —, therefore the “mundane” is the same as the “sacred.” If we want to bring our hearts to God, then bringing our hearts to all of life, to our world, to the “worldly” aspects of our being, is a sacred act. For this reason bringing consciousness and love to our shared governance, aka “politics”, and to the medium by which we share in each other’s life-force, aka “currency,” is a sacred act.
Thus, economy and shared governance are a matter of heart, of spirituality.
When we know what works and doesn't work for us in regards to our shared economy, we can participate in it from empowerment and clear intent. When we meet ourselves and others with clarity and empathy, we can make wise and peaceful economic choices.
The more we participate with clear intent and love, knowing what we want and need in our shared economy, the more our economy will begin to reflect our spirituality and deep humanity. And the more our economy reflects our spirituality and deep humanity, the more we are able to sustain a true democracy, a democracy that is shaped by and serves the needs of the people.
May we employ our knowledge and power with wisdom and love.
One thing is clear to me:
We are rebuilding our economy. Beyond rebuilding, we are restructuring and redefining it. We are restructuring not only the external pathways of commerce, but we're rerouting our inner pathways, the way we think, about commerce, economy, and the means of communicating value: currency (which frequently is money). In short, we are re-e-VALUE-ating our approach to our personal, interpersonal, and global economies.
As human awareness of each other expands through communication and information technologies, we are starting to see something we've never seen before: the true reality of other people. Thus they start living as real people in our perception, versus just a vague sense in our minds' eyes. And as we see ourselves in their shoes, we can't but care. Thus many of us recognize that we want to share prosperity and happiness amongst all of us, and that we can't leave any one person or sentient being behind if we want the whole that we feel part of to thrive.
We recognize that often quantity of money applied does not equal quality of life stimulated, and we don't like the discrepancy. Particularly, as global citizens, I believe more and more of us share the desire that the resources we contribute and circulate serve the wellbeing of every being of this earth. It's not a choice anymore: Feeling our tribal nature and innate empathy naturally expands the definition of value received for money given to include more than just oneself.
Life stimulated, aliveness inspired, is what I equate with "value." Providing goods and services is what I equate with the human need to contribute, "to make life wonderful," as Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication, puts it. The instinct to engage in trade and commerce is based on our needs to stimulate life for ourselves, and to make life wonderful for our community. In other words, our need for everyone to thrive, to share and experience companionship in our experience, and to live this earthly life to the fullest.
When money given and life (value) received are within reason of each other, sanity settles. We relax, rest our bodies onto this beloved planet, and money becomes a natural earthly means instead of an abstract, alienated entity accessible only by a fearless or ruthless few. Now money can become a friend to those of us who are sensitive, who need it to come lovingly, who insist on circulating it with an open heart, clear mind, and confident choice.
We further recognize that commerce isn't all about profit, and safe-guarding ourselves: It's about connection. I get to meet you, and you get to meet me, through the contribution we make to our world, through the exchange of our goods and services and ideas. Suddenly, commerce becomes a sacred means of sharing our humanity. A sacred means of respect, curiosity, and mutual exploration. And thus an ancient aspect of human interaction becomes a new and primary dimension of economic relations: Enjoying each other. Friendship. Fun.
Thus I envision an economy where everyone feels comfortable participating. Where the joy of sharing diversity through commerce and trade inspires everyone to partake meaningfully. Where people effortlessly recognize how to express their spiritual integrity within the web of human sharing. (Incomplete sentences are common place in my German native tongue. I like them, so you will see many in my writing.)
I believe economics are at the very root of human evolution. Money, originally of the earth, has gotten a bad reputation, because it's been abused. A basically spiritual essence, closely tied to Gaia, I want money to become a worthy representation on the altar of the Goddess. A representation of our earth, of our interconnection with each other, of sharing respect, and beyond respect, a representation of a deep celebration of sharing this sentient existence on our earth. A representation of sustenance through meaningful exchange. Instead of complaining that money has become a God, I want to celebrate that money, like everything that exists, expresses God.
Participatory Economy, Democratic Economy
A recent experience made it crystal clear to me how the history of our economic affairs completely repels some of my human siblings from participating in it:
A few months ago, I drove up from Santa Cruz, up Highway 1, enjoying a sunny coastline. Three young hitchhikers were waiting for a ride, and I pulled over a few hundred feet past them. While they were walking toward me, I made room on my passenger and back seats, stuffing everything in the trunk (not easy, it's a gypsyesk commutomobil). Two young men and one young woman wandered up to me, with tattoos, creative hair, and spiraling expressions in their eyes, and I knew immediately I would be safe taking them. (Just tapping them gently would probably have been enough to knock them over, had the need arisen.)
As they were settling in, the young woman in front, and the two young men in the back, and we were getting to know each other, I found out that they were on a super-heroic trip up North to get five-fingered green leaves for their deprived friends at home. I was announced as the superhero of superheros for helping them on their mission. When I mentioned that I'd been reading 5 people's tea leaves over the weekend, they immediately explained that tea leaf reading was my superhero power, and dragoncat (as in Dragoncat Music) was my superhero name. I thoroughly enjoyed their delightfully sweet and unpretentious company.
And I discovered a new insight hearing their main pastime, which sounded was to get stoned, and, during the occupy movement, to camp out on the streets: These people did this job for me, did this job all of us. These three young people, stoned out of, or rather, into, their minds, were doing the dirty work toward a sane economy and true democracy. They were willing to sit there, camp out for weeks, put up with the all the crap and bullshit, and make a statement, for all of us, a statement for which I am grateful. The statement that is now changing our world.
This also had me realize that our current state of affairs simply isn't palatable to many people. The reason they weren't participating through "work" in our economy is simply because it's not working for them. I can see that their choice is their way of participating, of contributing to the creation of a world economy that works for all.
I have to respect the resolve with which I see these young people live: They simply won't participate in our mainstream economy until they've been able to shape it into a quality of trade and commerce that works for them. Until then, they will do the dirty work for me and all of us, the dirty work of living without money, and sitting on the streets, exampling the things that need changing, integrating, lifting into a functional approach to our economics and our democracy.
"Thank you for doing that. Because I wasn't going to risk my citizenship application, or my physical safety, or my client relations. Yet I want the effect this movement has brought. Thank you for doing this."
In appreciation for the ride, one of them gave me a most beautiful pendant from blue/grey agate, foaming like the sea meeting the coastline, and brass wire lace. He told me he'd been making it while we were driving, and I can only conclude that his lucid drug state allowed him to see straight into me, because the pendant exactly matched my inner landscape.
This experience has expanded my understanding. I now recognize how everyone contributes to the shaping of our economy and democracy. We can't but be part of it, and each of us gets to choose how. I believe ultimately we all want to participate the way that works best for our deep inner truth. This gives me hope, and passion for what is to come, and what we are to become.
I am reading a book on Money by an occult writer, Frater U.D. Money Magic - Mastering Prosperity in its True Element. (His more interesting book is on sex magic, btw.) The author correlates wealth in the form of real estate and land clearly to the magical element of earth, but considers financial transactions a means of communication, becoming meaningful and valuable only in the act of exchange, and therefore correlates it with the magical element of air. Money isn't really bulky enough to qualify as earth, for example when a $ 20 bill flies out of one's back pocket. Even the credit card that dropped out of my back pocket into a toilet bowl last night - more on the airy side.
From this perspective, the interesting, important and valuable thing about money is its power of connection, exchange. In fact, money is the very act of exchange, of trans-action. "Humans are the only living creatures known to have developed this specific form of social interaction." (p.28 of the First English Edition) Regarding exchange via money as a social transaction, this currency becomes vibrant, alive, and filled with the qualities of the exchange it carries.