Consciousness Is Politics


In this highly charged political season, I would like to share a few thoughts on politics and consciousness. We are approaching an evolutionary crisis for humanity. I speak often about the crisis for individuals brought about by the egocentric psychological paradigm of modern times, but the psychology of individuals is really only an extension of the psychology of the society. We are looking at the micro-dimensional and the macro-dimensional of the same phenomenon. That phenomenon is consciousness.

Our profit-based economic system and its accompanying belligerently competitive social attitudes are unsuited to addressing the issues we face moving into the 21st Century.

I offered in one column, a new political philosophy termed “spiritual secularism” that I hope will stir new thinking. It attempts to reconcile what appears to be a contradiction, but I hope will come to be understood as merely paradoxical, striving toward a new wholism in our social and political thinking. I am quite convinced that if our secular policies are not informed and inspired by spiritual principles like inclusiveness, humility, compassion, peace, beauty, tolerance and personal responsibility to the totality of Creation, humanity’s presence on the planet will become like a virus that transmutes into a lethal pathogen that kills its host, and in the process, itself.

Politics is consciousness. It always has been. The end of hereditary aristocracy, the struggles against racism and sexism, and for workers’ rights are all examples of a new, more expansive consciousness transforming the political landscape. And if we are to have a new politics, we must bring to it a new consciousness. We must expand our consciousness to enfold the entire planet in a vision of kinship, peace, sustainability, aesthetics and universal responsibility for even “the least among us”, not only the poor, but the animals, the plants and the earth itself.

Globalism, is indeed the overriding issue of the day, but not as it is being presented. The issue isn’t the globalization of the American capitalist-consumer economic system and whether this is a threat or boon to our own original model. The issue is the ramifications for the health of all humanity, including Americans, of continuing down a path that extols power and wealth, but that I am convinced has humanity, like lemmings, headed over a cliff.

We must enlarge our American vision from ours as the land of unbounded individual financial opportunity to one that enfolds every person in the basic dignities of peace, personal freedom, civil liberties, meaningful work, home, health, education, respect and caring within the bosom of a healthy, beautiful and sustaining environment. Our economy must refocus into meaningful jobs that support this vision and that shares its wealth with compassionate generosity, not concentrates it in the hands of the most ambitious, leaving far too many without dignity and security in their lives. The corporate/bureaucratic stranglehold on American life must be broken to avail more opportunities for small shop businesses where people have more individual choice and control. Careers in the arts, culture, small farming and human services must be made more viable.

America likes to think of itself as a very religious nation. Perhaps the religion of churches that preach exclusion, war, intolerance, “God wants you to be rich,” parading piety in the public forums and focusing on selective moral issues emanating from a culture dead two thousand years ought to give way to a fundamental spirituality that reminds us that, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Jesus spoke of the blindness of personal greed and arrogance that seals a person, a nation, Humanity from its essential soul. I belong to no church. I am not a religious person. I am, however, a deeply spiritual one, and I pray that my nation may embrace spirituality in its secular doings, to become “a light of the world, a city set on a hill” that shows the way, not to a culture of unlimited personal riches and license, bankrupting the planet, but that will “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works”. I pray that we may wake up from our gluttonous and greedy dream to lead the world into a new era that takes us to the 22nd Century as a healed, beautiful, creative and prospering planet, not a dying one.

Bill Walz has taught meditation and mindfulness in university and public forums, and is a private-practice meditation teacher and guide for individuals in mindfulness, personal growth and consciousness. He holds a weekly meditation class, Mondays, 7pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood. By donation. Information on classes, talks, personal growth and healing instruction, or phone consultations at (828) 258-3241, e-mail at

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