When spirituality becomes navel-gazing


Individualism makes the individual its focus, and is based on the fundamental premise that the human individual is of primary importance in the struggle for liberation. Religion often conditions people to become very individualistic. For example, evangelicalism is about YOU “getting saved” so that YOU are right with God so YOU will go to heaven. This kind of Christianity emphasizes what is often referred to as a personal/individual relationship between YOU and God. Other religious and spiritual mindsets focus on what YOU are going to gain (inner peace, favorable personal circumstances, financial/material gain) as a result of YOU properly applying the right beliefs or formulas. There are some who become stuck in this hyper-inward/individualistic focus, which is sometimes referred to as “navel-gazing.” It seems at times that spirituality can be so individualistic – me and my peace, me and my freedom, me and my enlightenment, me and my… etc. Yes of course, taking individual ownership of our lives, doing our inner work, staying in-tune with our higher awareness, etc. are all necessary things. But sometimes I wonder if people make their bed there, and never extend past that to the equally significant aspect that is beyond ourselves. One of the downsides of the term “inner anarchy” is how it might imply that the “inner” part and the “anarchy”/outer part are two separate/different things in terms of thinking of one as necessarily becoming before the other. Spirituality is as much engagement in the world around us as it is attending to our own inner reality. I think the yin and the yang is a useful metaphor for, which describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Jesus spoke of oneness that we all belong to and make real together. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “No one is free until we are all free.”

[The Inner Anarchy Community on Facebook is about pressing into and conversing about subjects like this. You can join the group here]

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