This study by the University of Toronto indicates that people become more politically liberal immediately after practicing a spiritual exercise such as meditation.
“There’s great overlap between religious beliefs and political orientations,” says one of the study authors, Jordan Peterson of U of T’s Department of Psychology. “We found that religious individuals tend to be more conservative and spiritual people tend to be more liberal. Inducing a spiritual experience through a guided meditation exercise led both liberals and conservatives to endorse more liberal political attitudes.”
While religiousness is characterized by devotion to a specific tradition, set of principles, or code of conduct, spirituality is associated with the direct experience of self-transcendence and the feeling that we’re all connected,” says lead author Jacob Hirsh of U of T’s Rotman School of Management.
“Spiritual experiences seem to make people feel more of a connection with others,” says Hirsh. “The boundaries we normally maintain between ourselves and the world tend to dissolve during spiritual experiences. These feelings of self-transcendence make it easier to recognize that we are all part of the same system, promoting an inclusive and egalitarian mindset.”
Now that I think about it, I don’t know a lot of ultra-conservatives who do yoga. As for the people I know who do yoga, I really don’t know their political persuasions although some do seem to be on the liberal side. Me, I’m pretty much apolitical, preferring the middle path.