According the the ancient Zen Master Won Hyo, “Helping oneself and helping others are like the two wings of a bird.” This is why I merge the discussions of spirituality and social and environmental advocacy.
If you come to spirituality seeking relief from suffering only for yourself, then it is hard to see how working to end the suffering of all beings through social or environmental advocacy is spiritual. But if you come to spirituality hoping to experience oneness or interdependence, then you understand why spirituality and advocacy are one and the same.
Similarly, if you come to advocacy out of fear and anger, then you may be caught in a sense of separateness that makes spiritual enquiry feel irrelevant. However, if you come to advocacy out of love and compassion, then that sense of oneness is already a spiritual act.
I think of spiritual enquiry and advocacy like the two parts of understanding my relationship to the world. The enquiry is the contemplative part. The advocacy is the ethical part.