Anonymous asked: What's the point of meditating? Isn't it just navel-gazing? Taking action (like using magic/spells) is a better way to change the world and fight against injustice.
Meditation and magic aren’t opposites, they’re two sides of the same coin. Seeing them as opposites sets up a false (and potentially harmful) dichotomy. On the one hand, meditation (or any other contemplative practice) that doesn’t support or inspire real-world action is just passive navel-gazing; but on the other hand, taking action without grounding in meditation can lead a person to make ineffectual reactionary decisions. There is nothing about contemplative spirituality that automatically makes it passive or ineffectual. But there is also nothing about magic, or political activism, that automatically makes it effective and helpful (regardless of our good intentions).
Contemplative spirituality done right is deeply radical, from the original use of the word, meaning “rooted.” Working for change requires us to ground in contemplative practices that foster self-awareness, self-care, compassion and receptivity. If we don’t, our choices — whether in magic and spellwork, or political activism and social justice — can quickly lead to burn out, or spin out of control in escalating reaction instead of rooted response. Contemplation nourishes our ability to respond creatively rather than merely reacting — it enhances our response-ability.
Given the state of our society — with its ever-increasing, all-consuming obsession with speed, consumerism, action, anger, reaction, force, noise, impatience, instant gratification, efficiency, and streamlined mechanized progress that would cut away anything that doesn’t serve its single-minded goals — sometimes the most radical act a person can do is embrace silence and stillness. (This is the Taoist concept of active non-action, the usefulness of uselessness.) How else can we even begin to claim to hear the gods above the roar of our burning desires?
As with most aspects of our lives, it’s important to work towards balance and integrity in our spiritual practices. Each person is unique, with certain gifts and talents and passions that inspire them. We celebrate these differences and the diversity they bring to our communities. But we can also cultivate diversity within ourselves as well as embracing diversity around us. Pagans-of-action who are focused on activism (whether magical or political) to the exclusion of contemplative work suffer from an impoverished relationship with the gods and the world if they expect other people to do their thinking and meditating for them. We cannot outsource these aspects of our spiritual lives — they are an integral, essential part of who we are.
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