The Messy Negotiation: Terrorism and Spirituality


We often idealize the spiritual path as one of quiet contemplation, peaceful reflection and ever-present tranquillity.

In truth, real spirituality is a messy negotiation with our world, one that requires daily diligence and significant navigational skill.

Certainly, blissful moments within the path of awakening wax and wane. Yet for those who choose to live in the world, rather than in seclusion, we sign up for the challenge of conscious engagement with our world. And that’s not easy.

Conscious, in that we are present and awake, open for business, and not numbed and rendered ineffective by the world’s deluge of polarizing messages.

Engaged, in that we look at the circumstances of each day and ask: “How may I interact with these circumstances and best support positive outcome?” Especially when it’s unpleasant and messy.

Thus, as terrorists and police rain gunfire, as brothers and sisters die, I look toward inspiration, with a discerning eye, amid chaos.

Be the change you wish to see in the world is an oft-quoted phrase. Yet, it isn’t perched atop my list of evocative passages at this time.

If it were, I’d be in delusion, hoping my self into a myth as it relates to a spiritual perspective of terrorism. For, my personal spiritual practice does not have the ability to change terrorism during my lifetime. My meditation and blessings, no matter how lengthy and heart-felt and mind-blowing, will not neutralize people who kill simply because my quiet, open-hearted worship is perceived as insult to their god.

Instead, I favour another quote from Mahatma Gandhi: Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good, shared during his trial after arrest for advocating resistance to British rule.


The messy part of conscious engagement within our world arises when, as we become the resonance and embodiment of peace, we organically favour harmony and integration.

We, truly, do become the change we wish to see in the world: more loving, more compassionate; less interested in physical might; more compelled to align with the laws of nature.

This space of transformative change is satiating and deeply healing, for we no longer carry the burdens of asserting, of forcing, a dominant position, our right-ness or our righteousness upon others.

Yet, as we are carried within this greater consciousness field, and relinquish the burdens of our right-ness, we often forget–and even deny–that we are powerful beings. We are designed to be a force in this world of cause-and-effect, a force on behalf of evil, of meh, or on behalf of good.

For those dedicated to stepping into authentic power, we must recognize the delight of relinquishing our former, adrenal-depleting habits of asserting ego-based dominance and then fully infuse our understanding with the newfound clarity nurtured through regular immersion in the space of consciousness.

Focused clarity, I call it. A powerful, self-nourishing clarity, that includes an ability to take powerful action on behalf of goodness.

Peaceful inside. Motivated outside. With power to weave more refined awareness within a slower, grosser–yet no less profound–vibrational spectrum.


I accept–but do not condone–that terrorism is on the world’s landscape. And, as I review today’s messy negotiation and inquire as to how I may best support positive outcome, I acknowledge that:

  • Non-cooperation with evil is an important daily spiritual practice.
  • Non-cooperation with evil can be vehement, passionate, angry, and forceful in its expression and effort to generate change.
  • Non-cooperation with evil requires engagement with critical thought and a willingness to dissolve spiritual delusion in favour of a greater, inherent power.

In Tantric wisdom, this powerful energy of dissolution continues, unrelenting and unabated, until all limited beliefs dissipate and there is nothing left to assimilate but our original life force­–in its ever-abundant power.

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