In the aftermath of the bombings in Paris, as many are praying for the city—and, belatedly, for Beirut, as well as the other places in this world that are or were or will be under terrorist attack—the Dalai Lama has said we should not look to God to fix the problems that people have created. We got ourselves into this mess, and we must get ourselves out of it—via nonviolence, humanistic values, and harmony. He believes in prayer, but thinks change must start within the individual and expand to communities, small and large. While I agree that change starts within and expands outward, I name this inward focus both the point of prayer and the locus of God in the world. This is what I mean—what I have always meant—when I say that we need the Divine Feminine.
The Dalai Lama was addressing the idea that we must pray, and pray is all we can do. Then it is up to God to hear our prayer and heal this broken world. This prayer is spoken to a God “up there,” or “out there,” a being outside ourselves that we appeal to when we feel powerless or sad. The image of this God—regardless of religion—is male. He is associated with the rational mind, with spires and tomes and sage advice. The rational mind is good, as are spires and tomes and sage advice, and all of them have brought me, and many others in many religions, solace in faith. But they are only half the story—half of God, and half of humanity.
The other half was denigrated long ago—regardless of religion—when Goddess-worshiping societies were wiped out by patriarchal societies. The concept of the Feminine Divine survives in world religions—in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, among others—but She is muted at best and smeared as heretical at worst. In previous posts, when I have said that She is rising, I have meant it both figuratively and literally. Everywhere around the world, in each religion, a feminist interpretation of God/Goddess—one that does not believe that rational ways of knowing are superior to spiritual and earthly ways of knowing—is gaining momentum. And everywhere around the world, women and men are looking within, to a source of internal divine energy connected to our physical bodies—and finding Her.
If we connect to a source of divine energy within and pray, we begin within and then connect to the divine energy that is outside our own bodies. And we send this energy to those in need. This prayer holds the hand of a mother halfway across the world who is grieving her lost child. This prayer gives swiftness to the feet of a rescue worker running toward danger rather than away from it, rubs the sore back and tired arms of an ER nurse, cradles a frightened child. This prayer grieves and howls and screams no more, my children, no more—and then seeks to understand why, and how, to enact mercy. This prayer marches, on tired feet, to demand change. This prayer sits in front of a government building, writes petitions, calls the governor, distributes flyers, speaks truth to power. This prayer offers forgiveness, and enacts solutions. This prayer is compassionate but not weak, for it knows how to stand up to a bully in what Riane Eisler has termed spiritual courage.
Spiritual courage opens its arms to those fleeing terror, and refuses to become an agent of terror in the name of God. Spiritual courage seeks God in every religion. Spiritual courage understands that religion can be a tool of brutality, but no one who communes in Spirit looks into the face of the Divine and sees hatred.
We find spiritual courage through prayer and meditation. Prayer lights the flame of all we do in the world—the Spirit that cannot be created nor destroyed, but simply is. The Spirit that is here, asking for our attention and our action. This Spirit can be as gentle as a breeze or as fierce as a hurricane—and we, we in our very bodies, direct this sacred energy.
Let us direct it, now, toward active peace.