Crossing the Threshold: Entering Second Wave Spirituality
History reminds us that no cultural or spiritual wave is everlasting. Every wave of our evolution prepares us for another subsequent movement forward. Today we have reached a threshold that is ushering us in to a new relationship with ourselves and with all that is around us. As the first wave of spirituality is losing most of its momentum, a new spiritual wave is naturally forming and gathering strength within different faiths and in different nations. Vast numbers of people—lay and clergy alike—are beginning to embrace a socially engaged new wave of spirituality. Millions of people from different persuasions are beginning to enthusiastically support its unfolding. This is not a coincidence. This is all part of a massive movement of spiritual evolution.
Matthew Fox, reformer priest and the theologian of creation spirituality, has been calling on us since the mid-1970s to awaken to the nonseverable relationship between spirituality, social justice, and the love of the earth. Second Wave spirituality was heralded by the voices of recent evolutionary mystics the likes of Teilhard de Chardin and Simone Weil in Christianity, Sri Aurobindo and Gandhi in Hinduism, Martin Buber and Abraham Heschel in Judaism, and long before that by Jalal ad-Din Rumi in Sufism (Islam), whose influence has resurrected and widely spread in the West. Other seeders of the Second Wave renaissance are popular spiritual figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Father Pierre, liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez, and of course teachers who, like those in the Quaker community and the African American church, never stopped reminding us of the relationship between love and social justice.
We could say that our spirituality itself is yearning for evolutionary growth and transformation. It is striving to liberate itself from its past indifference to global issues. It is refusing the disconnection from the earth that crippled its ability to manifest, socially and globally, the profound vision of love of the Divine. The world is struggling and wondering how it can survive the many serious crises it is facing. People of faith are coming to realize that if they want to be close to God, they have to acknowledge God for what God is: a radically loving solidarity with all suffering and an all-embracing force for peace, union, and creativity. God is a limitless emanation of compassion and care. Thus, a threshold of great spiritual and social significance awaits our crossing. Passing through this historic threshold is epic. The result is that our faith and spirituality will evolve and free themselves from the paralyzing dichotomies that have previously separated God from active compassion, love from justice, and inner peace from caring activism. Going through this portal of great transformation is challenging and often arduous, yet always meaningful and exalting to the soul and heart. We are setting historic markers by our advance to a spirituality of service—in other words, to a spirituality of love-in-action.
Second Wave spirituality is affirming that the divine presence and its unbounded love reside in the dream of a planet rich with human cooperation and a sacred communion with nature. With our new spiritual understanding, we are getting that God’s spirit is in the passionate longing of our souls for peace and justice. It is the compassionate tears of God that are welling up in our hearts. Mother Teresa said that the most indigent of people and those suffering the most are none other than the broken heart of the Divine among us. The new generation of Second Wave spiritual seekers is coming to understand this deep and compassionate wisdom. Whoever is treated unjustly is a wound inflicted on the soul of the Divine.
By participating in and supporting this new wave of engaged spirituality, we are partaking in one of the greatest spiritual awakenings ever to visit us, collectively and individually. We are joining with others from different religions and different cultures in building an epochal and forward movement in our spirituality. We glean the wisdom of the great spiritual teachers and mystics of all times. And, standing on their shoulders, we perceive a future they only dreamed of:
• Diverse people of spirit, united through the heart, gathered to serve those who are deprived from their rights and those who are most vulnerable
• People from every race and religion committed to protect and bless the earth and celebrate the divine presence through practicing a love that stretches far beyond the personal and into the global
• A significantly large number of people worldwide speaking out for a culture of inclusion, peace, and justice