When the political becomes the spiritual
There is a great philosophical marriage that could happen in our life times.
It is a marriage that has never happened before.
And that is the marriage of Eastern spiritual philosophy with Western political philosophy.
Let me explain.
For tens of thousands of years, Eastern thought has focused on the inner spiritual experience, and in providing a mindset and a philosophy for people to lead a good life that is harmonious with society and the universe.
There are thousands of religious traditions in the East. Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism are but three large umbrellas.
The philosophical tradition in the West has its source in political enlightenment: theories of how a society should be governed in order to best activate the good life. This started with the Greeks: there is a direct line from Aristotle and Plato to the present.
What if we could combine the best of both of these traditions, and develop philosophies that could merge the insights of Eastern thought with the recommendations of Western political theory?
Could we start to imagine the best forms of government that would enable us to live a deep, spiritually fulfilling life?
Our conceptions of democracy and freedom are about to evolve. They are about to reach the next level.
We are all going to discover very soon that the things that make us deeply happy, the things that produce the finest qualities of joy, are all tied together with the health of our societies and governments.
And that we can develop forms of government that prioritize deeper meaning, purpose, and the flourishing of consciousness.
We speak about political freedom and spiritual freedom as if they are different things. They are not at all different things.
They are merely different facets of an underlying motivation in each one of us to fully develop, explore, and express our unique consciousness in a way that brings joy to ourselves and to others.
We can absolutely develop ways of life that permit this type of expression.
In fact, building these ways of life may be the only way to survive the challenges of the future.
Democracy means more than elections. It means more than a bill of rights. It means that every person has been given the resources to cultivate and express their individual genius in a shared and safe political environment. And to do so in a way that brings spiritual joy.