Spiritual Activism


The October conference at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY — Enlightened Power: How Women Are Changing the Way We Live — was magnificent. Speakers included Yolanda King, Marcia Ann Gillespie, Loung Ung, Marianne Williamson, and more. Twenty-three women joined me for a 90-minute Gutsy Women workshop. Their comments were enthusiastic!

Marianne Williamson closed the conference with an inspirational talk on spiritual activism. She presented a shining example of an articulate, self-validating, no-apologies woman.

One comment she made particularly piqued my interest. I believe she referred to the Course in Miracles in saying something like "seek power not in the body but in the spirit."

I'm not familiar with the text of the Course in Miracles, so I may have missed the full meaning of this line. As I heard it, the line seems to enforce a distinction between body and spirit, highlighting the spirit and denigrating the body.

But denigrating the body does not serve us. Rather, we must acknowledge and value the power we actually embody. It's an enormous power, a magnificent power.

As women and men around the world have known — as the witches and pagans of pre-Christian Europe knew — the life force concentrated in our body's center links us to the Power of Being that creates, sustains, and transforms the world.

The power within women's bellies is procreative, giving birth to new generations of humans. At the same time, to the extent we claim it, our belly-centered power is pro-creative: it's the power to promote creation in any dimension we choose, according to our intention.

In this light, the history of Western civilization is the attempt first to participate in and then to control, usurp, and exploit women's pro-creative power.

In Asian traditions, the body's center is known as Energy Garden, Sea of Vitality, Luminous Pearl, the Gate of the Mysterious Female. The Hopi call it Throne of the Creator. Although Western culture has shamed women's bellies and nearly banished our awareness from the body's center, this one-point remains the meeting place of body and soul. This one-point is the fusion of body and spirit. As we live through the consciousness implicit in our body's center — expressed as authenticity, creativity, instinctive wisdom — the distinction between "doing" and "being" disappears. Living through our center of being, we are spirit in action.

Over the years, I've developed a practice of dynamic yoga moves that activates and directs the life force concentrated in our body's center. The practice concludes with a body prayer aligning our belly-centered power to promote creation — our Source Energy — with our soul's purpose, with Universal Spirit, and with the planet's center.

Moving through this prayer, we become a conduit between Heaven and Earth, inviting Spirit to accomplish its purpose through us. Our core life force aligns with and participates in the Power of Being that animates the world. What greater power could we wish to realize?

Perhaps "seek power not in the body but in the spirit" means to direct our attention away from the force we might apply to dominate others. Perhaps these words point us toward the energy we can cultivate to revitalize our own domains, making them expanding realms of acceptance and affirmation, beauty and truth. As we live through our body's center, the union of body and spirit, each of our domains becomes a palace of creation.

© Self-Health Education 2006


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