Editorial: In Search of a Spiritual Revolution
Life is a blissfully short, Spiritual Journey. We're meant to be celebrating each and every day. We should be grateful for consciousness, the planet, and the sacrifices of our Ancestors; preserve the planet and each other. Instead, we're on some kind of race to the bottom, driven by fear, anxiety, and the notion of scarcity. I believe there is a Spiritual component to this and that a pandemic won't go away until Humans become less self-serving. I worry that in the absence of community-oriented compassion, we're going to self destruct. Our fragmented response to the coronavirus epidemic is an example of how our habits are killing us. People’s needs aren’t political, economic, artistic, or religious. They are first and foremost, Spiritual. People need love, faith, and a sense of connection to each other and the Divine. In this regard, ours is a tale of cosmic disorder that begins when an extremely civilized culture met its insatiable Children.
All of Humanity can trace its origins to Africa. This includes the Europeans who colonized the African continent and the Crusaders who forcefully converted Africans + Indigenous Peoples into Christians and Muslims on the continent and in the Americas.
Our Children didn't know how to properly tend to the new land they had inherited from their Holy Wars. After rejecting our religion, culture, and erasing our monuments, they did the unthinkable: our Children captured us and took us to a foreign land to live as slaves. Back home, they continued to return; pillaging as they pleased as colonial masters in Africa. Mother Africa’s Children have become wealthy from looting their parents’ coffers, while their parents of African descent, live in fear and poverty. Their lack of compassion for those with less power has left a majority of people in the world defenseless. At this time, we need as many people as possible to cooperate and achieve the end of global poverty by ushering in a period of Spiritual Enlightenment. Everything appears shambled as the waves of this upheaval have rippled through the very core of our society, leaving a seed of discontent and abuse sown in our hearts and memories of pain and trauma scorched in our psyche.
These images replay in our minds as we traverse an inhospitable world. We're getting the necessary help and attempting to talk through this trauma with social workers and psychotherapists, to heal our minds. Some of us seek out the Pastor: healing souls is his work. Yet, we find that even our Religion, our Spiritual alignment, and relationship with the Divine is funneled through the lens of our Children's sins. As Africans, we found God in nature, as did the indigenous Americans, Dravidians of India, Japanese practitioners of Shinto, and countless other civilized peoples. We found our current way of worship by the blade of a sword, or from missionaries who taught us their new Religion in classrooms. The process of becoming Christian or Muslim was a bloody one for most people of color. We have resigned to refrain from arguments about the color of our savior’s skin. We have reinterpreted religion, Spirituality, and mysticism to forge a relationship with God that exists outside the entanglement of dogma with history.
We seek salvation from the past, even as we offer prayers in a foreign tongue forged in us by our wayward Children. As we continue to shed the shackles of the identities that were forced upon us through slavery and colonialism, we fear losing ourselves, and our tethers to Spirituality become less taunt, yet the cords are more strained. If we do incantations and pour libations at the beginning of a march, some of us must also seek forgiveness for these supposedly “sacrilegious” beliefs and rituals. If we call upon our Ancestors to help us overcome strife, as we did in the past, we worry about raising the dead. When we meditate and ask for inner strength and guidance, we're left worrying if a demon will answer or if we will be possessed.
However, in the news, we keep reading about ritualistic child abuse, torture of detained immigrants, and other travesties that the justice system alone cannot redress, so we must pray. We have to ask someone to help because we clearly don't have it figured out down here. We have dings and dents that we carry with us as a result of Human condition. Whenever we feel like we've lost control, we often utilize toxic energy to regain it. That is the tragedy of the Human condition: to be a Divine being constantly having to discover our Spiritual mandate while contending with Human imperfections. What makes us feel better, is working in line with our Higher Self. When we accept that we are subject to a higher order that we cannot control or negotiate with, it forces us to let go of ego, anger, a desire for retribution, greed, ignorance, and a lack of empathy towards others.
I don't profess to have the answers. I don't know where this journey started for you or how it ends but I know that you will encounter Death at some point in the future. In everything I do, I’m mindful that Death is around the corner, so I aim at having clean hands and a clear conscience to cultivate some semblance of inner peace. Don't wait until your Deathbed to make peace with yourself in this Life. Make room for a Spiritual Life. As much as we are all crusaders for revolution, intellectual solutions alone will overwhelm and confound the mind. This is bigger than politics, economics, or public safety. We need a revolution of the Spirit. If we don't change the way we think and reclaim our core values and personal belief systems from the media, political parties, and corporations advertising endless materialism, all solutions to our present conditions become nebulous and unsustainable. No matter what, remember that we are Spiritual beings who are here to learn to live in peace with other beings. Don't be distracted by media and spend your entire Life trying to buy into delusion. Go outside, spend time with your loved ones. Live.
Ekwensu and Èshù Elègbará are deities of confusion and disorder that destroy societies, according to African Spiritual beliefs. These gods are the basis of the "devil". This archetype repeats itself endlessly throughout the world. I don't believe that confused, misinformed people can choose leaders who reflect anything other than their own shortcomings. If you believe that power is external and something that is imposed upon you, that you can only bargain with from a position of fear and anxiety, your leadership reflects that. Our eyes deceive us. Our ears deceive us. Even our hearts deceive us. Right now, the Media, our government and so many other people are manipulating our perception of reality to influence us into giving them the power to "save" us from various calamities. Sadly, the greatest “threats” to Human existence are the lies we tell ourselves about our very nature.
We need to contend with our refusal to confront our past and our unwillingness to take personal responsibility for our communities, rather than abdicating our power to institutions that abuse us. Ask anyone who ever has ever had to leave an abusive lover. You can't think, fight, buy, beg, or talk your way out of it. Something has to change in your Spirit that gives you the courage to leave.
If you ignore the Spiritual Truths in Life, thinking you can just seek forgiveness on your Deathbed, you will cheat yourself of the gift of experiencing transcendental Human consciousness. Your ego and Human mind have been programmed to ignore this loss, while your Spirit laments. No one is getting out of Life alive. In Death lies many of the answers to the questions that cause us confusion in Life. Start having that Deathbed conversation with yourself now, so that you can apply the lessons, rather than sharing them with your Children as regrets and cautionary tales. It can take decades to turn a mind, minutes to turn a heart, but it only takes a second to stir the Spirit and since the Spirit is the seat of hope and evolution, with Faith, nothing is lost as long as we have even a moment left in time.
Artwork by Nick Cave, Zanele Muholi, and Simone Leigh