We always love Spirituality in the City, a section of the magazine in which our readers discuss an aspect of spirituality that holds deep meaning for them. The theme of our Winter 2020/21 issue was ‘sovereignty’, so this was the concept our readers explored this time round. Enjoy their reflections below!
Spirituality in the City
What does sovereignty mean to you?
I think everyone can agree that freedom is important; experiencing a sense of self-ownership, having control of one’s own body and decisions, is empowering for the individual. Specifically, the right to bodily autonomy has become increasing important to our society in recent years. I find this really heartening and I hope we can continue to make progress in this regard.
As a community worker though, I feel self-sovereignty shouldn’t overshadow the rich resource that is our interconnectedness and sense of community. There is a fine balance to be found between our own individual freedoms and our well-being as a community. It may sound a little cliche but no (wo)man truly is ‘an island’.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of sovereignty is how willing we humans are to take away the sovereignty of others, whilst valuing it so highly for ourselves. In my work with dogs, I meet a lot of people who want to exert greater control over their dogs, to train them to respond unquestioningly to their owners ‘commands’. It’s comparatively rare that I meet people who want their dogs to have sovereignty- to think for themselves, to have self-determination, or to fulfil their potential! My wish would be that we humans could value the sovereignty of all animals, not just the human ones.
a world where we as a people have become so greatly divided,
sovereignty has never been so apt. Above all else, sovereignty to me
means equality and respect for all. Every human should enter this
world with the same basic rights, to be born equal and treated with
Over time we as a people have lost sight of this due to continuous divides driven between each other over the relentless attainment of power. At principal, the idea of sovereignty is an absolute and perpetual agreement among people to protect and unite us from indifference lead by one governing body. In turn, we are to respect the beliefs within their own as well as other governing bodies.
It is important to remember that once we remove all rules, borders and beliefs at our core we are all human and so all the same.
1. My freedom to do as I choose, to be my own true self. To have governance over my own body, my mind and my life in general. Freedom of speech, freedom of choice, the freedom to watch and read what I want, and to move freely, etc. My own free will.
2. My right to be who I am, to put what I want into or onto my own own body. The right to make choices for my own family, and to have that sovereignty over my children until they become of age to govern their own selves.
I am the one who has the power over myself. I am an individual who has the right to govern herself. I am my own sovereign, with power over my own body , my own free will to be the best version of myself I can be, and to pass that down to my children and their children.
Sovereignty is a word that I do not cherish. It comes from the Latin “superanus” (sovereign) that means “above”. It indicates a person who has power over people and a piece of land. It is synonymous of “monarch”. It used in many different ways, and also in a figurative way, to say that someone has power over something (oneself, one’s emotions, other people, a situation, etc.). It carries the sense of supremacy over someone or something else. I think that we should delete it from our vocabulary and use more adequate terms to indicate the position of being in control of something. Nobody is ‘over’ anyone else. Some of us simply have some roles that we take on for the sake of a responsibility that we have embraced at the moment of our assignment. Words have an incredible power and they can affect our subconscious when we use them, especially in an improper way.
I think of the word sovereignty, I consider the context in which it
is being used – a sovereign state is not necessarily the same as a
sovereign individual. The idea of sovereignty when it comes to a
governing state can sometimes wrap society in the subconscious
shackles of protection under the guise of ‘safety’.
Spiritual sovereignty is imperative right now. This being the respect and understanding of all world views in play amongst society’s diverse idealities, without the need to interfere with contrasting world views that may not resonate.
Maybe it is time to give birth to a decentralised model of spiritual sovereignty that mirrors the synergy of the natural world. Where all individuals are free to choose what is right and true for them without infringing on the lives of others.
If something is to reign supreme, let it be freedom; let it be love.