It seems that in order to live life, we are bound to choose. I often feel torn between choosing between the spiritual path and the path of an activist.
A spiritual person accepts the world as it is and looks beyond the material surface of things — even if those things seem to be catastrophic. They don’t concern themselves with changing the world. The most important lesson they are trying to learn is to see things as they really are.
Activists are just the opposite. They are the people of doings. They scan the reality to spot what is not working, which people are getting hurt and where on Earth is injustice in power. They learn, analyse, synthesise, and break phenomena down into facts. Then they get their hands dirty while trying to fix whatever they see needs fixing.
A day of a spiritual person is structured around contemplation. They are making an effort to reduce the number of tasks in their day. They surround themselves with “high-vibrating” people, who stimulate their personal growth rather than impede it. They select their environment carefully. They make time to stop and smell the roses.
A day of an activist is directed by their priority purpose of changing a chosen aspect of reality. Their spirit is inevitably conglomerated with their work. They are primarily concerned with managing their time so that it can be used efficiently for as many meaningful tasks as reasonably possible. They are less concerned with how performing those tasks affects them personally, than with how they benefit the big picture.
When a spiritual person meets an activist for a coffee, they have very limited time to exchange their points and enjoy each other’s company. Their intentions for the meeting are likely to vary. So when they finally sit down to talk business, there might be friction felt in the air between them.
The spiritual person may call it charged energy or aura disturbances. The activist may be less aware of what is happening — but they will be affected in the sense of how much time they are willing to dedicate to the meeting.
The two are likely to sit in silence for the next couple of minutes. The spiritual person will be observing the sensations arising in their body, as the lack of harmony becomes challenging for them to experience. At the same time the activist may wonder, what the hell is the other person’s intention and why are they not saying a word while there is so much to be said still.
If they sit there long enough, there will be a moment when they decide to join forces and learn from each other.
If they communicate compassionately enough, there will be a moment when they both realise that the other is just like themselves. No matter how different they seemed to each other in the beginning.
If they look close enough, they will discover that they are both equally needed in the world. There is enough room for both of them, and that’s precisely why when one sips coffee, the other can leisurely stroll to the restroom.
They will also realise that it doesn’t matter who pays the bill in the end. Because whoever does it for their genuine, heart-rooted reasons, will make both of them winners, awarded ex aequo by the natural laws of life.
This is the story I tell myself quietly every morning, when the spiritual person and the activist wake up in me and start a discussion about the meaning of life. Each of them has their strong arguments and a compelling personality, which makes me want to become both of them at the same time. But when I put my left leg on the “activism” label, and the right one on the “spiritual” path, I realise that this makes me unable to walk at all.
And so, because I want to keep moving on the path of my life, I invite the spiritual person and the activist to drink coffee during quiet mornings, when the Sun is still too sleepy to rise and the streets are overwhelmed by the air of dawn. In the beginning, the two don’t even know how to talk to each other. They don’t have a common language, so how could they?
But I leave them to talk while I brush my teeth, pick clothes to wear and make my bed. They discuss, yell, become silent and look into each other’s eyes. It is not easy. They give each other and me a hard time.
And then, eventually… there is a moment in which all three of us finally find the courage to let go. We let go of labels, names, judgements and expectations. We put our guards down. We don’t need to call ourselves spiritual, activist or Marta anymore.
From that moment on, I know that the day will unfold just fine.