How to Stand for Spiritual Justice Amidst Devastation

We can no longer avoid it. The fact is staring us in the face, everywhere, that we are living in a time of reckoning and it is bringing about massive and growing devastation — both of our planet and of our societies. Not only are more and more youth dying of drug overdose, while children are being bombed and raped in Ukraine and whole countries are fighting for their existence, but fascism is on the rise, and human life is once again called “dirt” to justify atrocities.

Our perplexity and avoidance just won’t do. Nor will waiting for the world to awaken to its oneness. We each are participants in what is unfolding. And if we continue to be in denial, the horrors will only mount.

As an example, the horrors in Ukraine were presaged by the horrors in Syria to which the world responded with avoidance and numbness. To go even a bit further back in history, the five decades of atrocities of communist totalitarian regimes were never internationally prosecuted after the fall of the Berlin Wall and many former agents of terror became successful capitalists welcomed in the West. Now we see many of them perpetuating new horrors. Similarly, the two-year paralysis of the COVID-19 pandemic was presaged by SARS and MERS, but we did not mobilize to address those first warnings. And things escalated.

Many people still try to live out their ordinary daily lives thinking it is somehow possible to insulate oneself and one’s family from a reeling world. That’s a delusion. The human psyche only thrives to the extent to which it is internally integrated, as well as in meaningful integration with its social environment. Just look at the fellowship of marathon runners above — of every age and body constitution, the majority running for a cause they find worthwhile. When people have a meaningful purpose, somehow the whole human system mobilizes and optimizes itself, steered by the human spirit. In that state, the impossible becomes possible. Why?

Because the spirit of life is one of integration and interdependence. And the human spirit aspires toward nobility, manifests generosity, creativity, and love, creates civilizations, and rises with courage in times of need. To do justice to this reality is to stand for spiritual justice.

This spiritual justice is a fundamental human need, foundational to any sense of wellbeing. It is also foundational to the advancement of human society and civilization, which, when we look carefully into history, has been propelled by a not-always-obvious aspiration toward greater justice to the spirit of life.

Do we also have a lower nature that is self-centered and aggressive? We do. And when we are guided by it and compartmentalize and rationalize violations of spiritual justice, we become afflicted with the illness of emotional disconnect manifesting in all kinds of symptoms that we see in our psychological offices. Inner and outer, individual, and collective, are seamlessly interwoven like a Mobius strip and can only thrive as a whole.

How can we meaningfully align ourselves with spiritual justice in our ordinary lives?

We must differentiate the many different and sometimes conflicting claims of justice among different groups from a clear common standard. Our civilization has advanced toward greater convergence of understanding on what constitutes justice in race and gender relations, medical, educational, economic, and environmental issues. The next, and now pressing horizon is the universal understanding of spiritual justice, at the center of which is the sanctity of life and the nobility of the human spirit — a universal value that cannot be compromised any more for any political, economic, or other consideration.

Such a standard has been upheld by all wisdom and indigenous traditions. It is much more encompassing than what keeps getting invoked in the media as Western values. In recent decades, science has added its voice to that of wisdom traditions and spiritual paradigms, and there is now an increasingly unified understanding of the nature of reality and of how the world can be healed and harmonized. Without defending spiritual justice, peace is impossible.

This unified understanding of spiritual justice requires that we transcend current dichotomies, such as militarism versus pacifism, and ask a question that reflects a higher level of integration:

How can we stand for spiritual justice now?

Let us learn from history. The last time the spirit of life and the human spirit were most massively violated on a global scale — during World War II — the nations of the world came together and established a collective body whose mandate is to protect life and peace. The United Nations, despite its slowness, heavy bureaucracy, and political constraints, has been a crucial presence in an otherwise still very divided and often hostile world. In it, 37 000 people from every nationality and culture have been working together to create processes and forge agreements to protect, as much as possible, human life and dignity.

In the five decades since its creation, the United Nations has accomplished a great deal in changing our collective standards toward greater respect for women, for human rights, protection of children and the planet, and many others. It has also become painfully clear that its current structure is no longer capable of protecting spiritual justice at a time of global reckoning.

Globalization has not only further integrated our planet through technology, trade, and increasingly shared policy standards. It has also amplified existing corruption and all the lower forces of human nature, breeding a global porn industry thriving on the material poverty of the developing world and the spiritual poverty of the developed world, as well as campaigns of lies, and the rise of fascism. Current methods of regulation have proven insufficient. The new level of interdependent global social, political, and environmental crises require a deeper level of federated solutions.

A blueprint already exists for the restructuring of the United Nations so that it represents much more fully the longing of people worldwide for spiritual justice. It was created by experts from both inside and outside the U.N. system and there is now a forum, The Global Governance Forum, that is publicizing its vision. What is needed is enough collective will.

A massive global movement is needed to create irresistible pressure for governments to urgently begin the restructuring of the existing and utterly not secure Security Council, and to create a global Earth Defense force that has the power to stop dictators on the rise, who brainwash, misrepresent, and oppress millions, and to protect life on this planet.

So here are five things you can do to stand for spiritual justice in this critical time for the planet, while you are still living your daily life:

1. If you have a Facebook page, circulate this essay, as well as the previous two which lay the groundwork for this one (A Lesser Peace and a Greater Peace, Lift Up Your Eyes) and start a campaign for an Earth Defense movement, demanding the restructuring of the United Nations toward capability to defend spiritual justice on our planet.

2. If you have Twitter and Instagram accounts, do the same as above.

3. Explain to your children and friends how electronic device savviness can become addiction, emotional numbness, and disconnect unless used for the right purposes. Discuss the three concrete steps to peace offered in my essay A Lesser Peace and a Greater Peace and engage your children and friends in applying their social media skills toward an Earth Defense movement.

4. Create a habit for yourself and your family to dedicate 10 minutes each day to take stock of what you have done today to foster an Earth Defense movement for spiritual justice.

5. Monitor news outlets and circulate and discuss on your media news that amplify the massive global stirrings and initiatives toward a more regulated and just planetary organization.

And don’t forget to clap for this essay — as you know social media counts likes and claps.

To grasp more deeply the fundamental psychological and emotional connections between your wellbeing and the wellbeing of our world, read Global Unitive Healing.

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Elena Mustakova

Elena Mustakova

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Psychotherapist, social scientist, spiritual coach … living with depth, discernment, and ground, in meaningful relationship with shifting planet.