Self-Improvement

How To Use Spiritual Practice As A Form Of Activism

The world can feel overwhelming. Dark. Scary. Like everything is working against us, not with us. But for as much pain and suffering as there is in the world, there’s love and light. Hope. Community. To feel one side of this deeply is to feel the other deeply as well. These paradigms exist at once, and the goal of our spiritual practice isn’t to remove ourselves from our corporal body and go off to meditate in the mountains, but to find the grounded, compassionate strength we need to be able to move through this world mindfully and powerfully. This is where spiritual activism comes in.

Spiritual activism isn’t a replacement for calling or writing your senators, or volunteering, or voting, or going out in the street and marching (if this is possible for you- privilege intersects everything.) Instead, it’s the first step in doing any sort of social justice work. To effectively create change outside of ourselves, we need to make sure that we are taken care of. We need to make sure that cup overflows, so we’re not depleting ourselves of nourishment, of life, of energy, of productivity. Spiritual and energetic activism is a way for us to know ourselves. To honor where we are, to give ourselves what we need. It’s the idea that by honoring our own needs, we are healing the collective. By showing up for ourselves, we can more effectively show up for others. We are all connected, whether we like it or not. When we take the time to create space for mindfulness, whether it’s through breath work, meditating, yoga, journaling, therapy, spending time in nature, or something else entirely, we’re honoring our own needs. We’re healing ourselves, so when we do the irl activism work, we can show up and be more effective, more productive, more plugged in.

So how do we start?

First off by remembering that we aren’t perfect. That we don’t have to be the best or greatest to be worthy. This sort of one track thinking can leave us feeling overwhelmed, which can cause some major anxiety and freeze us from doing any work at all. Baby steps are key. How can you honor yourself and your healing so you can make a bigger difference in the world around you? Start by asking what you need. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or ungrounded, try logging off social media. Spend time outside, barefoot. Write in a journal. Meditate. If you’re feeling emotional and uneasy, breathe. Coming back to yourself is important. Breathe into your body. Take a bath with Epsom salt. If you’re able to, go to therapy. Take baby steps to remember that you can only meet the world where you’re at.

Commit to small things you can do regularly. There are many ways to do this! Pick one topic you’re extremely passionate about. Email or call your senators about this. Text resistbot. Sign petitions. You can also schedule time to volunteer or protest. Besides this, you can also use your spiritual and magical practice to help send energy to those who need it. You can create an altar for healing for someone, or for a group of people. Decorate with white and gold, placing candles, photos, talismans, crystals or whatever else speaks to you on a flat surface. Light the candles and meditate on your intention, sending the person, or peoples, you created the altar for love and healing. You can pray to whatever deity you believe in. You also do this without the altar, dedicating a candle (white is always a good choice for healing and positive energy) to a specific purpose and meditating on the flame. You can charge a crystal for healing, (amethyst, clear quartz and fluorite would be a good choice) and hold it as you meditate on sending out love to someone (or even a specific issue.)

The goal of spiritual activism is to help you feel empowered and in control, it’s a reminder that we are all human beings doing this together. It’s a reminder that when we harm someone else we’re harming ourselves; what we send out comes back to us. By giving ourselves what we need to feel our fullest and then sharing this and paying it forward by helping others, we’re able to create changes in this world more effectively than if we didn’t take care of ourselves first. After all, you know what they say; put your oxygen mask on before helping anyone else. The only way we’ll change the world around us is if we change our inner world as well. TC mark

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I've been a practicing witch for over a decade. Follow Gabriela on Instagram or read more articles from Gabriela on Thought Catalog.