One hundred and fifty people gathered in the Methodist church to hear a charismatic, passionate and entertaining lecture by modern mystic and world renowned author Andrew Harvey about Sacred Activism.
Andrew’s main theme was that when we fuse deep spiritual understanding and peace with clear wise action, a new and unstoppable force is born. As he put it, “When the river of the mystic meets the fire of the activist for justice, a quantum leap takes place that is waiting as a potential to ignite”. Through the coming together of these two streams, a force of love is born- a potential of ensouled passion which the poet Rumi had called “ishk”. His belief is that this regenerative force is quietly and patiently waiting our help to bring much needed change to the world.
He spoke about five stages of growth that offer us different ways of recreating balance and an opportunity to preserve our “beautiful and holy world”.
First was the power of trust in a participatory universe. That by seeing everything as interconnected, as a deep sacramental relationship between humanity and nature we align with many different indigenous traditions. He especially spoke about the aboriginal tradition and quoted the example inSouth America of the of Yanomami rainmakers whose success stopped a drought but which Venezuelan authorities said was just coincidence. Andrew preferred Einstein’s take on coincidence that “ Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous” !
Second was the vision of personal and community resilience. Andrew is a great sup
porter of the transition movement and believes that we must prepare for a full systems collapse. However he feels that physical and material resilience are not enough. We must be prepared emotionally, psychologically and spiritually to deal with what is to come.
Thirdly he warned that most activist movements eventually founder because they have not taken on the task of self-examination and shadow work. We need to develop the self awareness to deal with our own inner demons and saboteurs. These can destroy the best intentions by distorting individual judgment if we do not acknowledge the secret darkness within ourselves. A comprehensive psychological soul wisdom is necessary that acknowledges the power of the shadow.
Fourthly, the next stage needs the strength and peace of spiritual practice that allows us to connect with the Universe. He suggested some of us may need to embrace this by overcoming any religious wounding we may have experienced in the past but that it was absolutely essential. He offered various ways of doing so including: breathing practice, walking meditation, Zen based imageless mediation, developing silent practice – whatever practice develops coherent calmness for us.
Finally he suggested it was important to speak the truth to power and this necessitated linking with other non-violent grass roots movements such as the Occupy movement.
To support and accompany these stages of growth he suggested we need to learn new modalities of healing and recommended five kinds of personal practice:
- Cool practice grounded in the peace of our essential nature – which is the wax to our candle flame of passion
- Hot practice that can evolve the heart such as Christian sacred heart practice or Tibetan Tong Yen that develops the big self beyond the trapped ego
- Prayer practice or dialoguing with the supreme intelligence
- Physical practice like heart yoga practice or any physical practice that is a sacred celebration – such as dance
- Keeping the heart open, which is our greatest task through personal shadow work
In Andrew’s view we are living at a time of unprecedented awakening that requires developing our consciousness to the next level and a re-awakening or mystical renaissance that will require the letting go and the death of forms that are no longer fit for purpose. This is already unleashing dark forces in the world of which we must be aware and ready for. But he cautioned that our pursuit of truth is still narcissistic and undisciplined and those dark forces are not just external but are within us and require our individual vigilance.
He suggested that moral development is a force of cosmic evolution and that our personal task is simply to remember who we really are so that we constantly make the choice for love over power.
He warned that the Hopi Indians say that “If you do not revere the mother (Earth) she will shake you off like a flea”.
Though some questioned the impact of the preacher style he adopted the majority of his audience were inspired by his presentation and left feeling enthused. He very generously donated the receipts for the evening of £450 which will be split, as is customary, between TTT and Schumacher College.
18th September 2012