Every spiritual path on Earth requires generosity and service, a prerequisite of which is selflessness. In Indigenous cultures warriors are the ones who oversee wellbeing and defend the lives of their people, and they always seek counsel from the elders. Warriors will forfeit their lives so others can live. They are the ones who put themselves on the frontline, who speak for those who have no voice, who defend the weak. In contemporary society we call them activists. This is the highest form of generosity and service.

Activists are consciously aware, far-sighted people. They are the ones who take direct action in a selfless response for the benefit of others. Their connection is radical, their love is radical, their generosity and service are radical – everything about them is radical! They bring change and they aim to create a better world for all. However, there is one word that defines them above all others, and that is ‘truth’. Activists can see beyond the veils of illusion and they are not dazzled by gold, possessions or money. In everything they face, they always look for the truth of the matter and usually leave no stone unturned in their quest. Truth is their shield and their life force. They breathe truth and they are truth.

Like warriors, activists fearlessly take action to benefit the collective. They risk their reputation, they risk nights in jail, they risk being hungry and cold… They risk having nothing for themselves so that people, animals, plants and the Earth can thrive. They go against the grain so that minorities can have a voice, so that those who are weak can be strong. Most of all, they help to awaken those who are sleeping. Their message echoes throughout the mountains and crosses the oceans.

So, in today’s world, it is my view that activism is the highest form of spirituality. While most people are sleepwalking through life, or seeking profit and the accumulation of material possessions, activists travel light, flying on the wings of their consciousness, beyond the pettiness of the ordinary world, seeking a new truth.

I would like to end with this thought: if activism is a form of spirituality, is the opposite not also true? Is spirituality [not religion] a form of activism?

This article is an edited extract from a talk given by Claudia Goncalves at the Extinction Rebellion camp outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

Claudia Goncalves is the co-founder of The Edinburgh Shamanic Centre, The Planetary Healing Centre Charity and the Youth Vision project. Her work supports disadvantaged people in Scotland and Indigenous people in her birth land of Brazil. www.shamaniccentre.com | www.planetary-healing.org | www.youthvision.uk