By Jack Adam Weber L.Ac., Dipl. C.H.
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
There are many forms of spirituality. Anybody can call anything they do part of their spiritual path. And they are right. Everything in life, every experience can be meaningful and sacred. To add to the conundrum, there is no real consensus or definition of what spirituality is. So, if we speak of spirituality generally, we have to define the word, and look at spirituality in context.
While all spiritual paths are valid, some might be more appropriate for our times than others.
What are the qualities or ingredients you deem essential for spirituality? For me they are (a) to address one’s self, humanity, and the planet collectively (b) to be rooted in compassion (c) to create healing (d) to extend beyond, and include, one’s self (e) to embrace paradox, light and darkness, and transformation (f) to be internally coherent and largely non-contradictory.
I consider the most appropriate spirituality for our times to be rooted in our relationship with the natural world, specifically in light of the threat of disastrous effects from climate change, not the least of which includes the increasing toxicity of our environment and the growing possibility of our own near-term extinction. I think our spirituality needs to revolve not just around our own bliss, comfort, and positivity, but challenge us to act and contribute to the ordinary wellness of the world and to live with a good dose of blessed unrest.
We need not only to see the goodness and beauty of the world and so to fall in love with and to care to preserve it, but we also need to see the dark side of the world and to feel its suffering. Just like with an ill patient, the more we learn about their condition, the better we can address it. When we can allow ourselves also to feel the effects of illness on our patient, we feel empathy, which helps the healing process in myriad ways, if only for its motivating power to help as much as we can.
Some forms of spirituality act directly to heal our ailing planet. Others do not. For myself, I choose to use my gifts, talents, and resources to contribute to healing our global rift with nature and our continuing slide towards more chaos. This spirituality recruits my intellect, emotional integration and resilience through shadow work (seeing what is hurt, ugly, hypocritical, and wounded), passion and courage, knowledge and experience as a holistic physician, creativity, writing skills, nature-based lifestyle, and activism.
Spirituality in Practice
To shed light on the appropriateness of various spiritual paths in today’s world, let’s consider an example. You are at the beach. You notice someone next to you meditating. Some others are on Facebook with their cell phones, sharing photos of the day. All of a sudden, someone in the water cries for help; someone is drowning. Not only someone, but the farmer and head cook for your community (imagine you live in times past)! You notice that some people ignore the calls for help, others begin to pray, some rush to the rescue, others throw their arms up in despair and do nothing, some send photos of the event to friends, the meditating man nearby remains seated with his eyes closed.
What would you do in this situation?
The drowning farmer-cook represents our planet — provider of nourishment for our survival. She is in peril. How does your spirituality help the situation? Does it respond in the same way to the collapse of the environment as it does to the drowning woman? Some spiritualities respond directly to the emergency by working and doing all they can to save us from the forces at work to throw natural balance beyond the tipping point. They act urgently, similar to saving a drowning woman.
We could say that each person responds according to a combination of her/his abilities, calling, beliefs, and availability. While this is likely true on one level, to what degree do wwe respond out of unreasonable fear, habit, apathy, and denial? Could each of us stand to wake up to the urgency of our collective situation and respond more directly to save the woman — our planet and humanity — if saving her is what is self-evidently the correct thing to do?
Try on this reality: imagine if it were your own child, or yourself drowning. What sort of spirituality would you want present at the beach with you? Would you want someone to pray for you, meditate on a different realm, or to jump in and keep you from drowning?
We are every part of this Earth. We depend on it, as every bit of it depends on each of us. I invite you to determine what you think is the underlying cause of planetary crisis, then recruit your personal gifts and talents, challenge your comfort zone and beliefs some, and respond as you see fit. I love you; we are all in this together.
The Nourish Practice
Jack Adam Weber’s “The Nourish Practice” is an easy, guided meditation-Qi Gong practice in radical gratitude and self-love. It is an Earth-based, body-centered practice — at once physiological and mythological — that is deeply relaxing and replenishing, especially for modern-day burn-out syndrome, and requires little physical effort.
The Nourish Practice “resets your nervous system” and fosters a rich inner life. You can purchase The Nourish Practice as a CD or Digital Download here.
Previous articles by Jack Adam Weber:
- Relationships: The Costs of Staying When We Should Leave
- Emotional Work
- Choosing a Partner – How to Avoid Relationship Suicide
- Re-Thinking Love: Why Our Hearts Must Also Be Minded
- Spirituality – Reality Check
- 11 Crucial Tips for Better Digestive Health
- Shadow Work: Becoming a Sustainable Light Worker (Part 1)
- Oneness in Action: The GMO Eradication Movement
- After the Hurricane: Lessons from the Heart of Nature
- Relationships: How They Can Make Us Happier
- Heartbreak – Loving Ourselves Through Difficult Times
About the author:
Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac. is a Chinese medicine physician, author, celebrated poet, organic farmer, and activist for body-centered spirituality. His books, artwork, and provocative poems can be found at his website PoeticHealing.com. He is also the creator of The Nourish Practice, an Earth-based rejuvenation meditation. Weber is available by phone for medical consultations and life-coaching.