A recent dialogue at the Cambridge University Divinity School impelled me to dig a little deeper. With the world in fresh disarray, the crowd was on top-form in firing doubts and suspicions about what spirituality could bring to the table. Many opined that spiritualists can’t meaningfully engage with the world as tangible changemakers since they are inherently too ‘other worldly.’ Here were the three top arguments:
Doubt: Spiritualists tend to prioritise their inner life of prayer and meditation over practical and tangible service to humanity
My response: Global revolutions begin with personal resolutions. Powerful engagement with the world begins with transforming the ecology of our own heart. If we’re not living representations of the character, values and saintly qualities we seek to share with the world, how much impact can we really have? The core solution to humanity’s problems is an upliftment of consciousness, deeper sensitivity, and a genuine vision of spiritual unity. The humble spiritualists trigger that revolution of consciousness from the inside out – they see themselves as doctors and patients simultaneously – working for the world, and also working on themselves.
Doubt: Spiritualists see the world as hard-wired for suffering, and their pessimism in solving global problems reinforces those same problems
My Response: Not being in full control doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference. Understanding that the world will never be perfect actually empowers our efforts to contribute, rescuing us from any frustration arising from unrealistic expectations. Spiritualists enthusiastically help with practical solutions, but they take it a step further, knowing that those solutions have their limitations. They deliver deep spiritual wisdom, teaching people the art of how to find perfection despite being surrounded by imperfection. They endeavour to improve the ‘outside’ but put the emphasis on empowering the ‘inside.’
Doubt: Spiritualists develop a detachment from the world that lacks the emotional involvement to make a heartfelt difference
My Response: The most powerful change-maker is the one who seeks no personal benefit from it. US president Truman summed it up when he said: “It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.” In that sense, the detachment of the spiritualist generates a selflessness that translates into incredible levels of uninterrupted service. Immature and misapplied detachment leads to heartlessness, but true detachment can foster the deepest sentiments of kindness and compassion since ego has been removed from the equation.
The world needs conscious changemakers – spiritual changemakers. As Einstein said, you can't solve problems with the same type of thinking that created them.