How Does it Affect You?
The spiritual implications of social and political issues are a topic of much discussion. Social and political beliefs are not unrelated to your spiritual beliefs. They are intertwined and integral parts of the essence of your being. The combination of spiritual, religious, social and political beliefs make up who you are, and who you want to be. Everyone has an opinion on every issue, whether or not they choose to share those opinions. My stance on most social and political issues has evolved over time, as I have become more aware, compassionate, tolerant and spiritual. One of the major contributors to my evolution of understanding was a co-worker. Many years ago, I was in an animated discussion with that co-worker about a socio-political issue. We had opposing views and at one point in the discussion, he said “How does it affect you?” With each of my counter points, he parroted the phrase “How does it affect you?” As it turns out, each of my points were rooted in either fear, ego, judgment or controlling the actions of others. The issue didn’t really affect me. That conversation took place many years before my spiritual awakening but the phrase he used still resonates with me on both a human level and spiritually. To take it one step further toward living a highly spiritual existence, I also ask myself “How does it affect others?” Every social and political issue has winners and losers. From each decision, some people will gain and some will lose on a human level. Those who gain financially or through control of others, rarely gain anything spiritually. That is because the driving force behind a highly spiritual being is love. Love of the true self and love for all others. Love is the only emotion we are born with and the only emotion we take with us when we transition back to pure energy. All other emotions not rooted in love are learned human behavior. It is easy to justify a particular stance by excluding people or groups of people from those deserving of our love. That exclusion is usually rooted in negative human emotional reactions, such as greed, ego, control, judgement and pre-judgment (prejudice). My method for overcoming the temptations of those negative emotions is to ask myself how it affects me and also “How does it affect THEM?” If I can step beyond my own ego and understand how people who are without power or a voice are affected, my stances become more compassionate, tolerant and understanding. Finally, I ask myself if my position on an issue is selfish or selfless. There are more than seven billion people living on this earth and I am just one. My existence is no more important that any other. We all have a purpose in our lifetimes and we all have opportunities for selfless spiritual growth. If we choose to ignore those opportunities, the life journey becomes more emotionally troublesome, leading us away from a path to happiness, fulfillment and peace.