So, the November elections have come and gone, and we are still here... but with Republicans claiming as intention and priority number one: bringing down President Obama. The question for mystics and activists alike boils down to what Thomas Merton wondered way back in the 1960's: Where do you go from the top of a thirty foot pole? There's no going back, and nothing to grab onto ahead...
From that precarious perch, though, we can actually look around with a certain detachment. We are all of us in the very same predicament. But the advantage belongs to the mystic / activist: we have made the conscious decision to live a life of service and solidarity, of contemplation and wonder, and to transformation and revolution. Someone else will inevitably claim to own all of the poles, while most others will resentfully accept their fate and just hang on hoping against hope for the sake of their children.
But neither the predatory capitalist, nor their long-suffering victims, have it right. We are all meant for the struggle of bending the unbendable "pole" of human history and arcing it towards justice, equality, solidarity, liberation, and the common good. We are meant for raising our fists to the howling wind and proclaiming for everyone or no one to hear: This moment may try my soul but I will not yield nor will I surrender. I will leap into the maelstrom of human history and not rest until there is equality and justice, bread and roses, for all.
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.