Democracy is more than the system of government. It is a way of life based upon citizens' commitment to the common good. We can assess the vitality of any democracy by looking at its history, its current state, and its potential to serve the hopes and dreams of its people. But the truest measure of its health is how well it is practiced.

The Practicing Democracy Project is a collaboration between the Center for Spirituality & Practice and the Fetzer Institute. The Project assumes that American democracy can flourish only when citizens are united, at a deep level that transcends ideology, race, and class, to a shared spiritual and moral vision of what America should be.

We believe that democracy as a way of life can be strengthened and deepened through spiritual practices — both those traditionally considered to be "inner work" and those that encourage active engagement with our neighbors and communities. Some practices will enhance or support the essential civic virtues and qualities of American democracy, such as civility, diversity, equality, fairness, freedom, generosity, hospitality, kindness, optimism, resilience, service, trust, and more. Other practices will help us deal with problems and obstacles that depress democracy, such as anger, apathy, authoritarianism, fear of strangers, rigid thinking, violence, and more.

The Project will identify spiritual practices and resources. In the future, we will be curating them for different constituencies, including congregations, schools, businesses, advocacy groups, government agencies, and others.

To discover more of this project's resources: Click on the magenta links or blue icons (for articles, books, quotes, spiritual practices, etc.) on this overview page to visit other areas of general resources on practicing democracy. In addition, you can select any of the links below to explore related topics.