School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: April 2012
What has spirituality got to do with politics?

By Susannah

I would say that most spirituality comes to the same point in essence; “we are one”; we come from the same source, the same spirit moves through us and in us. What we do to each other we do to ourselves. So if we are all linked with everything, part of the same family, then how we organise ourselves, the big movements of law, economy and moral priorities which politics are part of, and which come to effect each one of us, becomes a concern of us all. Democracy can end when you put your paper in the ballot box, or it can be an attitude of global citizenship which effects how you think about the world, how you feel and what you do. If you know that what you do is part of the great inter-connected system of life on earth, what you do, or don’t do, what you buy, or don’t buy, where you bank your money, all have meaning and significance, along with the subtler levels of prayer, meditation and direct personal contact with others.


From a spiritual perspective, there is an alignment which happens when what I do, what I say, what I feel are in one accord. I sing about loving the earth and I recycle the aluminium container I was given lunch in. I see and feel how I participate in the web of life, energetically and physically. I make the links. As above, so below.  On earth as in heaven. I make the effort to bring my actions in line with my beliefs.

Three ideas contribute to my understanding about this:

1)    The saying that “a people gets the government it deserves” (which I first heard from Jake Chapman). This does not mean a people are to blame for everything a government does, but that the will and participation of the people is a necessary part of government.

2)     The idea that a government cannot move its policy very far in advance of where the critical mass of its population is.

3)    And a speech I heard from Ed Milliband several years ago. Ed Milliband is now the leader head of the Labour party in the UK, and was then the minister for Energy and Climate Change. He said something that deeply affected me, which I remember as this: “We, the politicians, know what’s going on (re climate change). We’ve seen the science. We’ve got the picture. We know what is needed. But that actually is, is so radical, so bold, that we (politicians) don’t have the courage (yet) to go for them, because we don’t yet feel that you, the public, have woken up to the urgency and scale of the task. Please, please, if you understand this, make a much bigger noise! We need to feel the public’s support urging us on, mandating us to do what we know is necessary.”

Please forgive me Mr Milliband, if I have misquoted you. This is my translation of the spirit of what I understood him to mean.


So what happens if a percentage of people who are “tuned in” to awareness, love, creativity, care for the earth and care for humanity, “tune out” of politics, and assume that nothing of worth or value can be done there. I would say it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is a generation of us who have become so cynical about politics that we leave it to others, and thereby don’t put our input into the systems which otherwise would benefit and be influenced by our holistic participation. I recognise myself, and many of my network in this, and at the same time the urge to connect and make our contribution. 

I was talking to one friend about the One World Mosaic, and how it had a real chance to present the passion and mandate of people from all over the world to take care of earth and its future, to the politicians and negotiators at The Rio Climate Change Summit. He said “well, I think most of us are sure that Rio will come to nothing”…. If I had not censured my real answer, it would have been something like: “Of course it won’t if we, collectively, have already given up on it! That is self-fulfilling, smug despair. Even politicians are people with souls who (like you and I) need the support of others to come into their best, most courageous selves.  I too know this cynical despair place, and how I have tried to save myself from the bitter pain of disappointment by not risking too much of myself in the first place. There is no way of knowing what will happen, but what we do, or do not do will be part of what creates that outcome. We have a choice to risk ‘throwing our hat into the ring’ seeing ourselves as participants in the evolving dialogue about our shared future. In this we become vulnerable. That is simply the nature of choosing the empowerment of action”.

I believe that in politicians there is, as in each one of us, a dialogue between self-interest and care for the whole. I believe that what drove many politicians into that arena was a genuine wish to make the world a better place, and that the seductions of power are huge and difficult, but that a strong mandate from the people can awaken their dedication to service. For me, we denigrate our species, our spirituality and our common humanity when we decide that a whole group of people and a whole arena of activity (politicians and politics) have nothing to offer and are nothing to do with us.

I feel and believe that, in terms of the future, there is still everything to play for. In the words of the Lord of the Rings, “the quest balances on a knife edge”. Nothing is too little to matter. Each of us has a part to play, if we are willing, in the great turning. And what is needed, it seems to me, are people strong in their own integrity, alignment, creative flow, able to imagine “into” the space of what has not been before, able to (in the words of Martin Luther King) “make a way out of no way”.  People able to collaborate, improvise, and operate as intelligent, empowered, autonomous parts of a larger, interconnected system.  People whose motivation and reward is love and the joy of being part of evolution. People who are life long learners, able to play many roles, to lead and to follow, and to say “yes” to the mysterious arisings of co-creation. And you, (yes you!) are part of this web of interconnectedness, and your own, never to be repeated being, essence, actions and creative possibility make a difference. In which direction this difference goes, depends on what you choose, moment by moment and day by day.

We heartily inviter you to participate in the following projects that we are part of:

The One World Mosaic project here you can make your statement (with picture and with words) for the Mosaic to be shown at the Rio Climate Change Summit and beyond.

Musical Mosaic Down loading some of the beautiful music from the Musical Mosaic supports the One World Mosaic come to its full potency as does buying anything from the 

The CD from the last Long Dance 21 Gratitudes is sold in aid of Survival International, and the Long Dance itself raises money and prayers for life on earth in many forms.

I’ll end with these words from Swami Niranjan (whose wonderful words we discovered in South Africa behind the sun visor of Samantha Brauer’s car, (thank you Samantha!)


“What is spirituality and what is the role of spirituality in our lives?

For many people, spirituality can take the form of meditation, the form of prayer or the form of a belief.

But what is the meaning of spirituality in its true sense?

We know that human beings function at three levels: at the level of the head or intellect, at the level of the heart or feeling, and at the level of the hands or performance.

True spirituality manifests when the head, heart and hands are in harmony with each other.”

Swami Niranjan

Wishing you faith, courage, connectedness, mutual support and the joy of co-creation with life on your own path and look forward to dance with you when next we meet!





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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.