Everything is Not OK
The tendency to see spirituality as separate from other domains, like economics, politics, and culture, is the very thing that keeps it neutered and inauthentic.
To speak of spiritual concerns (i.e. matters of deep and ultimate meaning) in a truthful way, it’s necessary to get into these other messy areas of human activity. For society is where and how our collective fears and desires are expressed.
What this inevitably generates is a critique, because all is not well with our way of life. This sort of thing can make people in spiritual circles uncomfortable. There’s an attitude that spirituality is all sweetness and light, and its purpose is to soothe, uplift, and improve us as individuals.
So much in the way that spirituality is presented these days is personalized. Practice is personal. Beliefs are personal. Progress on the path is personal. This individualization of experience is a very strong pattern in our culture. And it’s part of the problem. It keeps us isolated in our little bubbles and narcissistically focused on ourselves. This is the dominant way that our culture teaches us to be, in every aspect of life. Spirituality is no exception.
And this is a big part of what needs to change: our isolation, narcissism, and learned obliviousness. I believe that anything that helps us shift towards connection, humility, and a critical understanding of the social, political, and economic structures of our world is helpful, and ultimately spiritual. This must include connection with nature, and taking responsibility for our actions in the context of this larger organic reality.
Spirituality is nothing more than a comforting escapism if it fails to motivate us to change our world for the better.