The Vital Dimension of Social Change

Everything that we experience as material reality is born in an invisible realm beyond space and time, a realm revealed by science to consist of energy and information. This invisible source of all that exists is not an empty void but the womb of creation itself. Something creates and organizes this energy. It turns the chaos of quantum soup into stars, galaxies, rain forest, human being, and our own thoughts, emotions, memories, and desires. What creates and organizes the energy and information in the universe? What is it that quickens the successful transformations in social change efforts? The answer to both questions is spirit. In this article I describe the value of incorporating the spiritual dimension in social change. What is Spirit and Spirituality? Spirit is energy alive within all of us, a connection to something greater than ourselves, a connection to each other, to the Earth, to our ancestors, and to our deepest self. Spirituality is about how we orient and live our lives in relation to the spirit. David Tacey says that spirituality seeks a sensitive, contemplative, transformative relationship with the sacred and is able to sustain levels of uncertainty in its quest because respect for mystery is paramount. He contrasts this to fundamentalism which seeks certainty, fixed answers and absolutism as a fearful response to the complexity of the world and to our vulnerability in a mysterious universe. Awareness of spirit supports a shift in consciousness, fostering new ways of interacting in the world and a greater sense of connectedness. A spirit-filled social action group is able to access the inner resources needed to be the change they wish to see in the world (Gandhi). Inviting spirit can support and inspire activists to live out their highest values and possibilities.

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