Over the years, many people on a spiritual journey have asked me why I keep going on about politics, and many people involved in politics have asked me why I keep going on about spirituality. Today however, more and more people seem to sense, as I do, that each holds a gift for the other.
People on a spiritual path -- personal growth, spiritual practice, recovery, yoga and so forth -- are the last people who should be sitting out the social and political issues of our day. And there's an important reason for this: People on such journeys are adepts at change. They know that the mechanics of the heart and mind are the fundamental drivers of transformation. This doesn't just apply to one person, but to masses as well; if you know what makes one life change then you know what makes a nation change, because a nation is simply a large group of individuals.
People involved in the inner journey discover the value of the feminine, or spiritually receptive and inclusive, aspect of human consciousness. Everyone archetypally is a parent to future generations. And a motherly love -- putting the care of children before every other consideration -- is the ultimate intelligence of nature. Yes, women are homemakers -- and the entire earth is our home. Yes, we are here to take care of the children -- and every child in the world is one of our own. We have evolved to a point to be ready to say these things, in a meaningful way and with a collective voice. Making money more important than your own children is a pathological way for an individual to run their affairs, and it's a pathological way for a society to run its affairs.
But people often say to me, "I don't want to get involved with politics because it makes me upset. What am I supposed to do with the anger, the rage, the cynicism?"
Well, I know what we shouldn't do. We shouldn't use our own upset as an excuse for not helping. We shouldn't come up with a pseudo-spiritual excuse for turning away from the pain of the world. There is nothing spiritual about complacency.
These are very serious times, and serious people need to be doing some serious thinking. The last thing we should do is allow ourselves to be infantilized by a counterfeit version of enlightenment. No true search for enlightenment ignores the suffering of other sentient beings. Ever.
What we need to do is start a new conversation.
Albert Einstein said we would not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. We need more than a new politics; what we need is a new worldview. We need a fundamentally different bottom line. We need to shift from economics as the organizing principle of human civilization, to humanitarian values as the organizing principle of human civilization. And women, en masse, should be saying so.
The U.S. incarcerates more of its people than any nation in the world, or any nation in history. Our military budget is almost twice that of all other nations of the world combined. At 23.1 percent, our child poverty rate is so high that it is second only to Romania among the 35 developed nations of the world. Seventeen-thousand children on earth die of starvation every single day. We are the only species systematically destroying its own habitat. And two billion people -- almost a third of the world's population -- live on less than 2 dollars a day. There's a lot more to those statistics than a simple "To Do" list can fix. Those facts will only change when we bring to our problem-solving a far more committed heart.
Currently, the U.S. Congress is comprised of 16.8 percent women. Our State legislatures are comprised of 23.6 percent women. Would our legislative priorities be what they are today -- tending always in the direction of serving those with economic leverage first -- were those legislative bodies anywhere near gender equal? Would the "war on women" exist as it does now? Would child poverty -- or poverty, period -- be given such short shrift? I like to think not.
Yet there are understandable reasons for the lack of female participation in our electoral politics, not the least of which is that the entire political system is contrary to everything a feminine heart stands for. It lacks inclusion. It lacks poetry. It doesn't nurture. It doesn't love. And without those things, the feminine psyche disconnects.
Where does that leave us though, if we simply shudder at the thought of politics and then ignore it altogether? Talk about being co-opted by a patriarchal system! We will have gone from men telling us condescendingly to not bother our pretty little heads about important things like politics, to not bothering our pretty little heads without even being told not to! The suffragettes struggled and suffered so much on our behalf; what a travesty of everything they stood for, if we simply look away as though we can't be bothered.
And yet we should be bothered. Our challenge is to not look away, but rather to transform the field; to create a new political conversation, our own conversation, out of which we can speak our truth our way. This will be an act of magnificent social artistry, and a special weekend event in Los Angeles on Nov. 10-11 called SISTER GIANT: Women, Non-Violence and Birthing a New American Politics will contribute to the cause. See www.sistergiant.com for more information.
SISTER GIANT speaks to the intersection between consciousness and politics. It will be an incubator for the emergence of a new field of political possibility, covering everything from psychological and emotional issues to a spiritual perspective on politics, to actually training women to run for office. It will speak to women who have never considered running for office or being involved in a campaign, but who in the quietness of their hearts might think, "Why not me?"
As we awaken individually, we will act more powerfully collectively; legislation and political campaigns will embody a new kind of thinking only if we engage en masse. In the absence of our engaging the political system, it becomes something other than what we are. That in fact is what's happened, but it's also what we can change. For what we engage, we transform. And what we engage with our hearts is transformed forever.
Martin Luther King Jr., said that the desegregation of the American South was the political externalization of the goal of the Civil Rights movement, but that the ultimate goal was the establishment of the beloved community. He said it was time to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of human civilization. He wasn't called a New Age nutcase or considered an intellectual lightweight for saying such things, and neither should we be. I don't think making love the new bottom line is naïve; I believe that thinking we can survive the next hundred years doing anything less, is naïve. SISTER GIANT is a place for anyone who agrees with that. It will, I hope, contribute to a new conversation, a new America and a new world.
Follow Marianne Williamson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/marwilliamson