I hear a lot of people say, especially during this time of global pandemic, that they don’t follow the news because if they do, they can’t maintain their spiritual mindset. But is that true? Does a deep engagement in spiritual practice require turning away from the ills of society? After all, two of the greatest modern improvements in increased freedom–the liberation of India from colonial rule and the success of the civil rights movement in the US–were accomplished through social movements led by deeply spiritual people: the Hindu Mohandas Gandhi and the Baptist minister Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
James O’Dea, who is one of the great peacemakers of our time, believes that any dichotomy between spirituality and activism is mistaken thinking. In fact, argues O’Dea, who began life as a Christian and is now an interfaith mystic, those of us who seek global transformation must address that goal on both the spiritual and social activist levels.
During the month of April, my spiritual center, the Triangle Center for Spiritual Living, will be exploring this idea through a series of free online talks focused on O’Dea’s book, The Conscious Activist. The talks will be on the five Wednesday nights this month, running from 7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, and available on Facebook Live and Zoom. The talks will be led by our Lead Minister, Rev. Dusty Rippelmeyer and myself, a Licensed Spiritual Practitioner.
The book incorporates perspectives from many different multicultural and interfaith sources. Much of it is drawn from O’Dea’s first-hand experience of a life that concurrently drew him to a mystical communion with all that is as well as to leadership as a social activist (for example, he was the Washington DC head for Amnesty International as one of his many activism positions). However, it also integrates wisdom from Sufi masters, ancient African myths, the culture of Earth-based indigenous people, Buddhist and Hindu teaching stories, quantum physics, Abrahamic religious traditions, and much more.
O’Dea begins his inspiring book with these words:
Activists and mystics are pioneers and adventurers. They leave the safe territory of comforting spirituality and charitable service and venture to the edges of personal and social transformation.James O’Dea, The Conscious Activist, p. ix
If this sounds like you–or who you would like to be–then I hope you will join us tonight and for the following four Wednesday. Or, if you can’t make the live sessions, they will be available on our TCSL website at: https://trianglecsl.org/index.php/services/ or on our YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQX4E7p2aVz55kbdRir0KOA .
To access tonight’s talk, join the Facebook Live stream at: https://www.facebook.com/TriangleCSL/videos/204758844084564/
or the Zoom meeting at: https://zoom.us/j/2610739740