Embodied Spirituality

Moments of serenity in deep meditation 
Moments of intense anger, when we refuse to be humiliated and abused any longer  

Moments of confidence when we find our selves:
notes thrown into the universe
by its improvising, intertwining rhythms

Moments when we weave community
percolating our identities
incarnating a politics of love.

Cooking dinner with mindfulness.
Having a life-changing conversation.
Ten thousand other experiences. 


These are the phenomena that many of us call "spirituality".

Some might add words like "radical",  or "anti-oppressive"  to the term spirituality in order to distinguish our goals from those of the corporate self-help gurus, new agers who disrespect indigenous cultures, predatory priests, or fascists calling for a return to a uniform mythic past.

Unfortunately, many people have turned spirituality into a hustle or an exercise in reactionary narcissism.  This laces conversations about our deepest experiences with anxiety and mistrust.  More broadly, the spirituality-and-self-help-industrial-complex aims to make us well adjusted to a society that is destroying life on this planet, instead of sustaining us in a struggle to change that society.  To reject these conformist spiritualities, and to heal ourselves,  some of us might try to reclaim spirituality, and others might reject it as oppressive.

In either case, experiences of depth and soul keep happening to us, and we keep creating them.  We remain open-ended like the universe, seeping through the limits of our explanations.

The fact that so many of us are having these "spiritual" experiences suggests something invisible but powerful is happening all around us and within us.

These experiences are aromas given off by the world as it changes. They are traces left by history, like an animal leaving its scent behind as it marks its territory.

But history is not a disembodied spirit stalking the world.  It is all of us living, loving, working, and struggling.  So when we track history through its spiritual aromas, we are tracking our own becoming.  We are trying to catch up with our desires and actions as they weave uncharted paths into the future.

Several posts on this blog are part of an evolving analysis of spirituality that I hope to eventually turn into a 'zine or book.

The first piece argues that:

The experiences we call spiritual are in fact real, embodied social experiences; they are connected to the politics, economics, and culture of the broader society we live in, though they can never be reduced to them.  We call these experiences spiritual precisely because they don't fit neatly into the identities and roles this society has set up for us, so they appear to be exceptional, or even sacred.  In other words, spirituality is one of the terms we use to describe the anomalous and mysterious aspects of capitalist society, the ways in which society cannot contain our desires and activities. 
These anomalies are potentially subversive, or even revolutionary; some of them point in the direction of communization, anarchy, and the destruction of capitalism.  However, our spiritual anomalies are also co-opted back into capitalism through society's spectacles, including religion, consumerism, new age self help cultures, and even some quasi-religious aspects of social movement activism. 
For this reason, we often find spirituality on both sides of the barricades in contemporary social conflicts.  And this is significant because those barricades and conflicts aren't just in the streets; they are in our very minds and bodies. (to read the rest, click here

Let's Find Each Other

We are the dispossessed who meditate with our eyes open, especially when we take to the streets. Our mindful breathing is a small part of the planet's climate, overheated by capital's reckless death drives. This blog maps some traces of the non-escapist, active spirituality that we are creating together; it is a medium we can use to find each other.