America Calls for a Spiritual Awakening

The polarization of political debate today calls on all people of good will to see what can be done to forge common ground. That common ground is, for Pathworkers and other people of good will, based on spiritual principles.

Spiritual principles, at their most basic, are about the connectedness of all creation. We are inextricably connected, one to the other. The Pathwork makes no distinction between people of all races, or between men and women, when it comes to their value. The Pathwork has no place for discrimination based on the idea of racial or ethnic superiority. The Guide’s spiritual law of brotherhood (and sisterhood) underlines our responsibility to confront impulses of hate, separation, and mistrust. The idea that other races or ethnic groups are fundamentally different from us has no place in the Pathwork. The idea that one must preserve or protect one’s own ethnic or racial identity – the motivation behind the recent mass killing rampage in New Zealand – is a fundamental misconception.

In the clash of values between liberals and conservatives, the Pathwork also has a lot to say. The Pathwork, in the Guide’s lecture on political systems (Lecture 242), places democracy as the most spiritually advanced, because it gives primacy to the ability of the individual to pursue self-transformation. But the Guide also cautions that “the distortion of capitalistic democracy is again very obvious in that the abuse of power by the few stronger, more willful individuals may then impose disadvantages on those who are not willing to stand on their own two feet.”

This addresses a basic polarization between conservatives and liberals around the idea of self-responsibility. The Pathwork is uncompromising about the need for everyone to work as diligently as possible for self-development and self-transformation. We are also united in the belief that no one can legitimately blame anyone else or “life” for their difficulties. At the same time, just as the Guide says in the above quote, people can abuse power and hurt others – but those who are hurt bear responsibility for their state. This apparently paradoxical truth is a key Pathwork concept.

When a conservative says that “liberals want to give people free stuff,” and benefit those who don’t work for what they get, the Pathwork answers with the spiritual law of self-responsibility, and the fact that what one gets out of life is exactly what one puts into it. The Pathwork places responsibility on the individual to create a better world, and recognizes that society is the sum total of every individual’s positive or negative intent and action. To quote Lecture 12, “If only a small part of humankind sowed the seeds of peace, wars would not exist, in spite of a few unscrupulous politicians.”

The Pathwork is clearly not supportive of totalitarian systems that would take away the autonomy of the individual. Yet it also instructs us not to hurt each other and to help where we can. This is another apparent paradox – that help and support for others are an obligation we share, even while we respect everyone’s autonomy and the fact that they have created their life circumstances. Lecture 26 says: “To be able to open your heart to another brings spiritual help you could not receive by yourself,” and Lecture 18 says, “Your present freedom or lack of freedom depends entirely on your past deeds, thoughts, and inner reactions.”

— Alan Saly, Chair, Pathwork Press Committee

 


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