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Spirituality and society are intertwined

Spirituality is often seen as separate from society, or that too much focus upon societal concerns will detract from spiritual growth.

A lot of this thinking comes from the idea that the world has so many temptations that we cannot possibly achieve true enlightenment while immersed in it, so we have to disconnect from it as much we can. There is also a thinking that pushes that we cannot really change the world unless we get our own life in order. The problem with both these ideas is that we as individuals are not separate from the societies in which we live, so that problems in a society impinge on our personal lives, and sometimes so much that we cannot ignore them.

Some actions at a societal level can lead to such severe disruptions that we cannot pretend to be indifferent to them, because we know that they will create harm to ourselves and many others if we do not work together to curtail them, or make other changes that benefit the many. Often, it is only through these cooperative actions that we understand ourselves enough to be a force strong enough to change our lives and thus those of all we come in contact with. Ours is a shared learning.

We are born into being an integral part of society, even if many would seek to silence us or keep us disenfranchised and powerless from changing it for the better. Individual spiritual growth enlightens those around us, and societal spiritual growth enlightens all. We interact and we change each other, and that ripples out. This is not the same as imposing a religion that many are trying to do, as that works against freedom and stifles individual expression and societal evolution.

It is in the face of such imposition of constrictive thinking that we must not abandon our seat at the table of societal life, for we not here just for our own advancement, but for the advancement of all, and that cannot wait until we have fully conquered ourselves.

For the many to benefit from spiritual growth, we need a society that not only does not prevent it, but also encourages it. We need to look at educational systems that support it rather than just train us to be fodder for others' aggrandisement. We need the means to support ourselves that does not tokenise away our worth so much that we are buried in fear. We need to ensure we are all fed so that we are as capable as we can be. In many ways, spirituality has more in common with humanism than religion, which often denigrates and subverts human agency.

There are many who are currently trying to deny us of all these things, and make us think we can just ignore what is happening around us so we can spend all our time down our own rabbit hole. If society is unstable, we cannot really have stability in our own lives. However, as we take each step to stabilise our own lives, we can use what we learn and understand to help others do the same. We can find forms of expression through which we can present and manifest another version of society that does honour our duty of individual and collective spiritual growth.

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