Mysticism and Politics

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76 Almanac by Michael Williams

Oh, oh. Now we are headed into dangerous territory. Nothing, with the possible exception of religion, is more divisive than politics. But, we live in a world saturated with it, and as enlightened Christians, we have to have an understanding of politics, one that is reasonable, effective, and fair. In other words, like mysticism, our politics have to be based on principle and not merely what we like. The challenge is to integrate our mystical experience into the world, because the only sustainable way to get to heaven is to bring it down to earth.

Enlightened politics is based on mystical principles. Here are some of them:

The good of all

Caduceus

Unless everyone benefits, no one benefits. Like the human body, the world and its people comprise a whole system. You cannot neglect one part without adversely affecting the rest. Mysticism recognizes the oneness of the human race and the natural systems that support it; it supersedes partisan agendas and competitive interests. Generally speaking, there is nothing superfluous in the human body or the body of the earth. Acting as if there were can only bring disaster.

The rule of law

Principal among the foundational myths for Western Mysticism are the Arthurian Legends. In them we find the phrase, “Right is might, not might is right.” No one is above the law. Not everything that can be done should be done. The New Testament admonition to only use “righteous judgement” points to adherence to the spirit of the law and the absence of malice as the guiding principles in vindicating a person accused of wrongdoing. In order for the law to evolve, we must look to the spirit that informs it.

Respect for the individual

Holy Grail

The Holy Grail

The highest form of government is self-government. It is not enough to obey the rules. What is in our heart matters more than merely refraining from acting out. We are more than intellectual/instinctual creatures; we have the capacity to place principle above self-interest. This is the “continue unto death” – the laying down of one’s life (ego/survival instinct) for the sake of the good. In the first and final analysis, we are answerable to God alone. But, in between we are answerable to each other.

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The dynamic balance between competition and cooperation

The human nervous system has two competing elements, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. One speeds up, the other slows down. Health depends on their dynamic balance. Business thrives in a competitive market, but only when there are adequate regulatory laws and enforcement of those laws. If either gets too far ahead of the other, system failure is inevitable. Vibrancy is key. The surest sign of life is movement.

Spiritual gender

Holy Family

Intuition and intellect – the interior and exterior modes of knowing – form the basis of epistemology in science, religion, and the arts. It is what we are here to learn. Some say that the only worthy goal is to escape the world altogether, but Christian mystics know that The Redemption depends upon integration, not escape. One can read the iconography of Christ on the cross as spirit affixed to matter, holding the tension of the opposites, the birthing of the new out the squaring of conflicting energies. This is the via dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, the mystery of the Rebirth. Out of two comes one, and together they make three. The Holy Family. This is the driving force behind all evolution.

Politics is a difficult subject. But reasonable people with differing opinions can bring about changes that neither could imagine without the other. It is only when dialog ceases, when gender turns into polarization, that trouble begins. Civil society is a work in progress, and it depends upon letting the creative juices flow. When one side thinks it knows all the answers, we begin the downward spiral into certain destruction. Christian mystical understanding is the balance point.

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10 Responses to Mysticism and Politics

  1. patrick rainford says:

    Conservatives, the ‘ right wingers’ energy is centripetal inward toward themselves; that is toward their ego and care very little for the less fortunate in their communities and country.
    Conversely those holding to progressive views; the liberals, their energy is centrifugal, expansive; they care more for their less unfortunate neighbors. In Qabala these two energies are represented by the Sephiroth Geburah and Chesed, the left hand path, Geburah and the right hand path, Chesed respectively.
    “It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to go to heaven. “

    • Conservative and Progressive ideologies are two ends of one spectrum. Neither is all good or all bad. And rarely will you find someone who is all of one and none of the other; we are all a mixture. Some are conservative in matters of home and family but liberal when it comes to workers’ rights. And some are liberal in politics but conservative in religion. Caring and forgiveness are balanced by discipline and accountability. Which of these are right or wrong? I say that sometimes you need one and sometimes the other. Wisdom is knowing when, where, and how much.

  2. Pam Welch says:

    My favorite phrase from the Arthurian legend says it all. Parsifal, in beholding the illumination of the Grail is asked, “What is the secret of the Grail?” He answers, “the King and the land are one” “And who does the Grail serve?” he is asked. “Thee, my Lord” he replies. The outer and interior experience are one, the outer is merely a reflection one’s interior relationship with God and Self. It is by responding in a spirit of Love and service to God and humanity that the world will be transformed.

    • I like the word “embodiment.” When Mara asked Buddha, “Who is your witness,” Buddha touched the earth and said, “The earth is my witness.” As with electricity, current will not flow until there is a path to ground, until the circuit is complete. Joseph Campbell says that Jesus on the cross is the Christian counterpart of the Buddha touching the earth. Similar, to my way of thinking, is the saying, “Nothing changes until it becomes what it is.”

  3. Dear Mystical Christ,

    I am sure you know that we need to bring earth to heaven, not the other way around. Men have been trying to make themselves into gods for quite some time now and their religions are a testament to the fallacy of bringing heaven to earth. It can’t be done.

    Involvement in politics, without universal compassion, is fruitless. Unity is only possible on higher ground where all is one. Therefore, our involvement in politics must embrace miracle-mindedness which sees no enemies, which takes separation-based suffering and gives love-based unity. It is a healing ministry if t is a ministry at all. Right is not might, right is not the issue. Unity is the issue and it is found in heaven.

    • I believe that mysticism has nothing to do with religion, except that religions spring out of it. People will usurp anything powerful for their own ends. Mystical experience renders one humble, while religion is mostly a horse race to moral superiority. Mysticism comes clothed in compassion; religion wears either a policeman’s uniform or carries a firebrand. Politics based on religion leads to war, mysticism to peaceful, intelligent cooperation.

      Mysticism un-applied is useless. “Thy kingdom come” is an invocation to bring heaven down, an injection of grace and spiritual intelligence into the earth. Transformation is the goal, not escape. Blessing is by definition bringing heaven down to earth. The Magician reaches up to heaven, but his attention is on the four elements – earth. Out of the green earth of the Empress, new life is born. “God so loved the world that He sent…

  4. Hmmm…the nature of earth is duality. The nature of earth is duality. When we bring things to earth they become earthy, dual. We lower their vibration.

    The nature of heaven is Unity. Unity does not know division, nor can It. If It did, It would not be Unity. Unity knows; it does not have any questions; it does not debate issues. It is non-dual. Unity knows us because It created us like itself. It does not know our separated, dualistic world because It does not think like that. Its Thoughts are eternal, non-dual.

    We who appear to be on earth must raise our consciousness to experience Unity, and that is bringing earth to heaven. We must awaken from this dream of separation, but, even then, the best we can hope for as long as we appear to be here is a “happy dream,” seasoned with the memory of Unity. As long as we appear to be here, we will have only glimpses of Unity and will rely on our senses to perceive what we will often think is real, our mystical experiences to the contrary. Everything that appears on earth is dual. It will always be this way, by definition.

    • By the way, Christ is real. Christ is you, Christ is me. We are all Christ, and there is only one Christ. There is no differentiation, no typification, in Christ. Christ is non-dual, heavenly, not of this world. Christ is reality, eternal, unchanging, whole, complete. We may know Christ even while we appear to be here, but It will never be here because It is forever unlimited. We may think we are here but we are deluded. We may think this world is real but it has no basis in reality. It is a dream of separation. God is not dual.

      If this sounds inconceivable that is because It is inconceivable. If It were conceivable, It would not be God.

  5. patrick rainford says:

    Bringing Down the Light
    Jason Lotterhand used to say; ” Once you reach the top of the mountain, { Unity} the only thing left to do is bring the experience of Illumination back to earth {Duality}.
    The experience of Mystical Union {the apex of the mountain} transforms. It allows us to strike the balance in all things great and small.

    • Thank you for your comments. Politics should be about service, which I believe was its original intent. We still say, “He served two years in office.” But politics has devolved into self-serving opportunism. Spiritual attainment often resembles politics in this way. It too should be about service, but often than turns into self-seeking, moral superiority. Nothing engenders humility as much as service, and being humble is by definition being spiritual. A teachers are always learning, and most of all, they learn from their students. Unfortunately, politicians have become the “students” of the corporations that put them in office.

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