Why the Idea and Rhetoric of Sovereignty in a Spiritual Context is a Toxic One

The idea and rhetoric of ´sovereignty´ in spiritual practice is a toxic one.

It aggrandises the myth of rugged individualism and makes it all about ourselves – yet again – at the end of the day.

The very word ´sovereign´ has cultural and political roots in the political expansion of the West and its claim to dominion over its populace (and colonies overseas).

It´s all about being superior, ruler, master, etc. It played a huge role in the expansion of Empire and was used to legitimise conquest.

Frankly, it has no place in the language of spirituality – if our aim is to truly dissolve hierarchies and divisions of power.

It also ignores the colonial histories and experiences woven into the use of the term and the spiritual echoes it conjures.

It´s a term that was imported from the practice of statecraft!

The language we use determines the way we think about ourselves and our relationship (in this context) with Spirit.

We are not masters and controllers of the Elements,

Or the Universe itself.

We cannot exist in alienation from the world around us, nor can we continue to do so by claiming a false sense of authority over it.

(That´s what led to this mess)

What people are (usually) trying to say by being ´sovereign´ is that we made certain choices to be here.

And no matter what has happened in your life, you have the choice to make a change.

But the terminology gets used in ways that … really don´t add up.

And adds further confusion to the chaos.

It creates an unrealistic sense of entitlement and (equally) responsibility over forces that are not yours to own or control.

And yet again (as we see in the liberal philosophical thought of the Western tradition), it centers the Conscious Self – to the exclusion of other aspects of Self.

It forgets the unconscious self, the supra-conscious, the imprint or energetic architecture of past-experiences, cosmological forces, planetary awareness and collective movements.

Because when we consider all of these in context, there is no way that sovereignty can be claimed without being fundamentally hollow.

This is not to say that the same use of terminology does not occur in other contexts: Spirituality was colonized and stripped of so much of its essence so very long ago …

And we´re trying to put the pieces back together – back to the space where no words were needed .. just surrender and communion with a greater Cosmic tapestry of experience.

As long as the heat of the Sun, or the cold of the wind affects you – you can lay no claim over it.

As long as the oxygen in the air continues to fill your lungs to give you the breath of life, you cannot claim dominion over it.

As long as celestial karmic patterns impel you to certain patterns of being or choosing, you cannot claim authority over it.

What you – can and must – lay claim to – is your right to choose your responses to the evolutionary possibilities that arise out of these larger contexts.

And to begin the necessary work to find a greater scope of what life can offer and experience with You.

That means knowing what you can control, and what you can´t.

And what you can get some help or perspective with, and what´s bigger than all of us.

That becomes a lot easier when you realise that there is no King, Queen, Master or Servant.

No context, in other words, that would necessitate the enforced fiction of ´The Sovereign´.

There´s just us and the Universe.

We´re all in this together.

Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD
The Sky Priestess

Post & Text © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2019. All rights reserved.

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Post & Text © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2019. All rights reserved

3 thoughts on “Why the Idea and Rhetoric of Sovereignty in a Spiritual Context is a Toxic One

  1. I have a different experience.

    There three simple “Laws” or Principles that govern Life: We Are One. We Are Unique. We have Freedom of Choice.

    Unity is the Truth of the Oneness of Spirit. Diversity is our Sovereignty of Soul as a a unique expression of Spirit. Choice is the FreedOM of Grace. Together these comprise the Power of Life as Love.

    Sovereignty of Soul is the Liberation from our subjugation by the rules of domination by the patriarchal world order.

    1. Whist it is important to honor our experiences, it is equally important to know whether the vocabulary with which we use to experience reality is in itself not already laden with political privilege and historical echoes of an unjust past.

      In the case of sovereignty, that absolutely applies.

      If we were to look at the etymology of sovereignty, it literally means ´Reign from Above´, or ´Power Over´.

      And that doesn´t quite fit in with what I understand of the way you have expressed the rest of the laws you have described.

      What I have been suggesting as a more aligned alternative to those doing similar work is that of Autonomy .

      Auto – self, Nomos – law or rule.

      It literally addresses the question of finding your power vis a vis authority structures that would seek to otherwise oppress it.

      – And this is key –

      Without claiming hieararchy or power over another in any way as we liberate ourselves.

      Sovereignty, in its etymology, dictionary definition, and contemporary usage by institutions and figures of power is absolutely entrenched in the language and energy of the old power structure that is in need of dismantling.

      It, in essence and origin, does not actually resonate with the principles of liberation and equality that so many are seeking to emulate and embody in this current spiritual moment .

      I hope that clarifies.

      Blessings!

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