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The Institute for Sacred Activism

Compassionate Action in a time of World Crisis

Oak Park, Illinois, founded by Andrew Harvey

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wpe79.jpg (15177 bytes) "Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing."
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The Hope, Andrew Harvey

Other books by Andrew Harvey:

The Direct Path, Son of Man, Sun at Midnight, Mary's Vineyard, Light Upon Light, Teachings of the Christian Mystics, Teachings of Rumi, Perfume of the Desert, The Return of the Mother, The Way of Passion, A Journey In Ladakh, Love's Glory, The Divine Feminine, The Web, One Last Mirror, Burning Houses, and others, including compendiums with co-authors

Illustrations and excerpts: http://www.andrewharvey.net/books.php

 

Institute for Sacred Activism Studies--

See the seven spokes of the structural hub of the Institute's curriculum and the four parts of Compassionate Action training:   The Realm of the Soul, The Realm of the Heart, The Pathways of Intellect and The Wisdom of the Body at:

www.andrewharvey.net (Institute for Sacred Activism)

 

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Watch Andrew Harvey at Coalition for OneVoice's Passion to Connect event.  www.coalitionforonevoice.org

See "OneVoice" at the New York Hub Page

 

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It has become increasingly clear that only Sacred Activism-- the fusion of the deepest mystical knowledge, peace, strength, and stamina with calm, focused, and radical action in every arena of society, culture, economics, and politics--can be of help in our growing world crisis. Neither a purely "spiritual" nor simply "activist" approach can solve our enormous problems. The core teachings of all the major mystical paths make it clear that there is, within human beings, an enormous unused reservoir of pure divine power, the pure power of sacred wisdom consciousness, passion, and compassion--the power of what Jesus called the kingdom of heaven, and of when in Hinduism is known as bliss-consciousness. These core teachings also reveal that if we can learn how to use this power--or rather how to let it use us as its luminous instruments--we will harness the "energies of love" and discover for ourselves how a clear, focused, purified, divine passion devoted to transformative action on all levels can birth a new world."  -- Andrew Harvey

wpe36.jpg (9099 bytes) Watch video about Andrew Harvey and THE HOPE http://www.andrewharvey.net/

wpe36.jpg (9099 bytes) Watch video of Diane Berke, of One Spirit, speaking at the Institute for Sacred Activism

 

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Read Excerpts from The HOPE

 


pp. 41-45 of the bound gally, beginning on page 41 with "The advanced mystics...."

 

The advanced mystics of every tradition know the secret this story proclaims – that to the one who chooses the Divine for its Beauty and Holiness alone, the Divine will in turn grace some part of its all-transforming creative power, and in a way that does not compromise or destroy the vessel through which it passes.

The pithiest, more comprehensive revelation of what I am trying to convey here is given to us by Jesus in the “Gospel of Thomas.” It has always seemed to me far more than a vivid coincidence that in 1945 should occur both the first lethal explosions of nuclear horror at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the discovery in a small desert cave near Nag Hammadi, in Upper Egypt of a lost gospel, now known as the “Gospel of Thomas.” It is as if at the very moment when humanity was brought face to face with its capacity to be “Death, the destroyer of all worlds” so also in Jesus’ vision of what he called the “Kingdom” in the “Gospel of Thomas,” humanity was shown what could still be achieved if it could only wake up and realize the splendor of its secret divine identity. The almost sixty years since then have only emphasized more intensely the challenge implicit in this synchronicity. Are we going to go on pursuing the addiction to power that could destroy us or are we going to take up the challenge of Jesus in the “Gospel of Thomas” to see that the Kingdom of Divine Presence already burns within us?

The Jesus we meet in the “Gospel of Thomas” knew that a new world could be created by increasingly divinized human beings once they have experienced this and allowed themselves to be transformed as he was. What Jesus woke up to and proceeded to enact was this new abundant and exuberant life of “kingdom consciousness” not as a “savior” claiming unique status – the “Gospel of Thomas” makes this clear – but as a revolutionary pioneer of “embodied divinity,” and as a sign of what is possible for all human beings who dare to awaken to the glory of their inner truth and the responsibilities for transformation both of the inner and outer world that it then inspires within them.

Anyone who has studied the history of Christianity and surveys the state of the contemporary churches operating supposedly in Jesus’ name knows that this extremely radical vision has been betrayed. And yet, an unbroken line of mystics who awoke to Christ consciousness – from the early apostles through the Desert Fathers to St. Frances, Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and Jan Van Ruysbroeck – kept alive the outrageous truth of what Jesus announced both in his words and in his miraculous and healing actions.

In the nineteenth century, when the orgy of reason reached its apogee, both the Russian hermit Saint Seraphim of Sarov and the French priest, the Cure of Ars shocked a smug and skeptical western world by enacting, in full public view, hundreds if not thousands of healings and other “miracles” for which science had no credible explanation. When the Cure of Ars’ body was dug up in the early 1900’s almost fifty years after his death, it was found to be intact, a stunning sign of the power of spirit to transform matter. And in the twentieth century, Thomas Merton, Teilhard de Chardin and, as we shall see, Father Bede Griffiths, were inspired by their growing initiation into the full embodied passion of Christ consciousness to imagine a new future for humanity, a birth on earth and in the body of the Divine Human.

In the “Gospel of Thomas” Jesus tells us this: “the seeker should not stop until he finds. When he does find, he will be disturbed. After having been disturbed, he will be astonished. Then he will reign over everything.”

These four short sentences contain, for me, the essence of Jesus’ inner teaching to humanity, and the essence of that Path of “Radical Embodiment” that he pioneered. What Jesus has given to all humanity is not a path of union with the Transcendent only, but a path through which the transcendent powers of love and wisdom are embodied in the core of the body and of life. This path is at once the most difficult of all because it involves a grueling and dangerous descent into the personal and collective shadow, and the most empowering because if it is taken far and deep it births a new kind of human being, whose mind is illumined by gnosis, whose heart is aflame with a sacred passion of compassion, and whose body becomes, over time, the conscious receptacle of divine energy. It was this dangerous and glorious path of “Radical Embodiment” that was known to and pursued by the alchemists and resurrected in part by Jung.

Jesus is nothing if not a fierce realist, and his teachings show us clearly the price of such a journey. When Jesus tells us “and when he finds, he will be disturbed” he is making clear to all those who try and follow him on the Path of Radical Embodiment that contact with the Transcendent will initially cause chaos in our understanding of our selves and the world, and will demand that we undertake a Descent into our own and the world’s shadow, into making conscious the personal and collective forces of evil and destructiveness. It is essential to make vivid and ecstatic contact with the Transcendent Light first because it is this contact, and the faith in the grace and protection of the Divine that it brings, that will give the “finder” the dogged passion, and naked courage that she will need to undertake the marriage of the Light with every aspect of the psychic and physical life.

The reward of what the alchemists called “the terrible and beautiful work” is that after a “disturbing” Descent it leads in the end to the “astonishment” Jesus celebrates. It is astonishing to discover that the light not only manifests everything but lives in and as everything, in the tiniest flea and whale, in all sentient and seemingly insentient things. It is astonishing to discover through the long, patient difficult work of the Descent that even the most disturbing emotions, when made conscious and owned, can be offered up for divine transformation and can furnish the ground for a greater fellowship with and compassion for all other human beings who also wrestle with the same darkness. Perhaps most astonishing of all is the increasing discovery that all those who take the Path of Radical Embodiment make – that the very joints and marrow and muscles and guts and cells of the body itself can house, enshrine and progressively incarnate divine love, wisdom, energy, and power.

In the last sentence of Logion 2 “and then he reigns over everything” Jesus makes clear what the ultimate reward and hope of such a process makes possible – the birth on earth and in the core of life, and in a body, of a tender, illumined, humble, surrendered divine human being. The alchemists speak of this marriage as “the Work” or the “making of the philosophers’ stone” and tell us that when the philosophers’ stone – the embodied divine human – begins to emerge she discovers that the “stone” multiplies endlessly – in other words becomes the selfless instrument of miraculous divine energies that “multiply” in its effects throughout the universe.

This vision that Jesus and the alchemical tradition offer humanity of Radical Embodiment fleshes out the vision I was first given by the Dalai Lama in our conversation in Oslo. In a time as drastic as ours, union with the Transcendent alone, without the Descent that marries the Light to our most chaotic impulses and to the depths of the body, will not and cannot be enough. We have seen throughout human history how mystics of all traditions have used bliss and gnosis as a kind of subtle heroin, as an intoxication that allows them to dismiss the body and all earthly realities as “illusion” and so leave them untransformed.

As Satprem writes in Sri Aurobindo, or The Adventure of Consciousness: “We have denied the divinity of matter to confine it in our holy places and now matter is taking its revenge. If we accept this imbalance there is no hope for the earth. We will swing from one pole to the other – both equally false – from material enjoyment to spiritual austerity without ever finding our plenitude. We need both the vigor of matter and the fresh waters of the spirit.”

The “marriage” the Dalai Lama spoke of – that Jesus describes and Satprem calls for – between our left and right brains, between the “outer” and “inner” sciences, between the “vigor” of matter and the “fresh waters” of the spirit, between “body” and “soul” can only take place at its most mutually transformatory depth through a descent into everything that “disturbs” it in ourselves and in the world. The great hope that we discover if we dare this path is that this marriage of “opposites” although difficult, frustrating, bewildering and sometimes painful is not impossible; the great birthing energies and incessant grace of the Divine Light itself guides, protects, sustains and nourishes us through everything.

To discover and live this embodied truth is worth every suffering and every ordeal, and is the secret gift, even purpose, of the crisis we are all living through together. The greatest darkness constellates the most powerful  answering light; the greatest threat constellates the most impassioned energy of creativity. When Jesus speaks in the Gospels of the “peace beyond understanding,” he is not speaking of a passive but a dynamic peace, the peace beyond any rational explanation or ground that arrives increasingly as the contraries of “light” and “dark”, “masculine” and “feminine,” the “vigor of matter” and the “fresh waters of the spirit,” contemplation and action – are increasingly integrated within us to birth in us a being one with the timelessness of Being and the evolutionary passion of becoming.

Let us imagine together now what embodied humble divine human beings born into this marriage of peace and passion could now effect as instruments of God in the world. Imagine what scientists, lawyers, doctors, therapists, politicians, economists and activists of all kinds could effect as embodied and illumined instruments of compassion of justice. Imagine what illuminations and discoveries of every saving kind would stream to us and through us not only to preserve human and animal life on earth, but to transform all our ways of being and doing everything in every realm – from politics to economics to all forms of “social engineering” and all arts and sciences.

This is the future that our crisis is invoking for us. What must happen now is that millions of us must be compelled awake by the growing disaster of our own making to understand that the way forward is, as Jung said, the way THROUGH – the way through a naked acknowledgment of our responsibility for our actions and the addictions and lust for power that propelled them that, if it is united with conscious connection with the Divine Light and its grace, will not only help us preserve ourselves and nature, but transform us into being conscious, humble, co-creators of an increasingly just and peaceful world.

This is the future that the divine within and without us is preparing for us in the crucible of an exploding crisis that is at once a death of all our illusions about ourselves and our powers and a potential birth in us of an embodied divine love and wisdom. In seeing this potential clearly and in undergoing joyfully and with faith whatever ordeal is necessary to incarnate it lies a hope more powerful and in Jesus’ words more “astonishing” than any that has yet guided, inspired and infused us.

pp. 47-51 beginning with "The Dalai Lam, who met and love him...."

 

The Dalai Lama, who met and loved him, said of him “Father Bede Griffiths is an awakened being opening the hearts and mind of humanity to gain understanding and acceptance of all the major religions.”

I came to meet Father Bede because I was invited by an Australian friend. He wanted to make a documentary about him, and I was to be the interviewer who would help guide Father Bede through his long life and unfolding understanding. For ten unforgettable days I had the honor of inviting Father Bede to share all the different stages of his journey.

On that last morning of filming, Father Bede was calm and collected. After a few moments of small talk he leaned forward and took my hands. The conversation that followed seeded everything I have lived and tried to communicate since.

“You know, Andrew, don’t you, that we are now living in the Hour of God?”

I was a little startled by his sudden intensity but answered with a question “what exactly do you mean by the ‘Hour of God’?”

Bede smiled at my “Oxford-Don” tone and then continued.

“I mean that humanity has come to the moment when it will have to choose between trying to play God, with the catastrophic results we see all around us, and trying to become what all the true mystical traditions know we can become – one with God through grace in life.  This is a dangerous and yet wonderful and hopeful moment because if enough of us can choose the latter, the birth of a wholly new kind of human being and so of a new world is possible.”

He paused to let the full impact of what he was telling me sink in. Then he said “I think that, realistically, there are three possible outcomes to our predicament. The first is that the human race, seeing what a disaster it has gotten itself into through its own folly will fall on its knees, ask for help, receive it and be suddenly and astonishingly transformed. This is highly unlikely. Human beings change slowly, even in desperate circumstances, and even in desperate circumstances cling to their pride and ignorance. God knows I have.

“The second possibility is that the human race could prove so addicted, confused and stubborn that it continues on its suicidal course until the bitter end, destroys itself and a large part of nature. There are days for all of us when this appears likely but this I am more and more certain, despite all kinds of evidence to the contrary, is an illusion. You see, Andrew, the God that I have come increasingly to know and meet is a God of infinite love, infinite mercy and infinite resourcefulness. I have been rescued again and again from the worst in myself and that even my worst mistakes and stupidest and most destructive thoughts and actions have turned out to create, through some mysterious paradox, doors into deeper compassion for all beings and into action born from this compassion.

 “There is a third possibility for the future and this I am inclined to believe is the one both most likely and in the end most hopeful.” Here Father Bede paused again. Then he closed his eyes for a long moment, in which he seemed to be praying for the most exact, and balanced words to express what he was coming to understand.

“What I have come to believe is that the very depth and extent of our crisis is calling forth an unprecedented force of transformation and healing that, if we can align ourselves with it, can not only help humanity survive, but transfigure it. I did not come to this vision through prayer and meditation alone, or even through revelation. I came to it through a profound shattering, and almost death that opened, through grace, into a far more abundant life than any I could have imagined.

“On January 25th, 1996, I was sitting meditating as I usually do at six o’clock on the verandah of my hut and suddenly without any warning a terrific force came and hit me on the head. It seemed to be coming from my left and to pull me out of my chair. It was terrifying. I had had a stroke.

“For the next week, I’m told, I didn’t speak at all. I can’t recall anything of what happened in that week. Then I began to come round. I woke up at about one o’clock one morning, and I thought I was going to die. I decided to prepare for death, so I said the prayers, the normal prayers, and invoked the angels, and waited for death. Nothing happened. Then after an hour or two my old friend Christudas who has been with me for many years came along and massaged me lovingly, and I begin to get back to something like normal.

“I had some breakfast, and then I felt acutely restless and disturbed and bewildered. I had no idea what was happening; it was as if my whole being had become chaos. Then, quite suddenly, as suddenly in its way as the Force that had felled me, the inspiration came to surrender to the Mother. It was utterly unexpected; I heard a kind of inner voice say loudly ‘surrender to the Mother’ and so, somehow, I really don’t know how, I made a surrender to the Mother. Then I had what I can only describe as an experience of being invaded and overwhelmed by love. Waves of love flowed into me. Judy Walters, my great friend, was watching. I called out to her ‘I’m being overwhelmed by love.’

“What I see now is that this whole experience – from the Force that felled me, through the plunging of my being into chaos to the ecstasy of being overwhelmed by love, and the consciousness that was born from it – was one vast miraculous healing, a divinely orchestrated breakthrough into the dimension of the Sacred feminine. I imagined that I had begun to understand, at least in some fashion, the mystery of the Mother, but I see now I was still very masculine and patriarchal and had been developing my animus all this time; even through all the other inspirations and revelations that grace had given me, I had lived largely in the left brain.

“What happened in that stroke on the verandah was that the right brain – the divine feminine, the chthonic power, came and hit me and struck down my left brain in such a way that I could be flooded with the beauty and passion of the feminine I had repressed or denied. Through it, my being was opened to the radiance of the Mother alive in every tree, plant, rock and sentient being and increasingly and wonderfully in the depths of the very body I had tried so long to master and transcend.

“The consciousness I am being brought into now is unlike anything I experienced up until the time of my stroke. It is an increasingly non-dual consciousness in which I experience a profound and mysterious unity with everything and everyone. And it is not intellectual or even ‘spiritual’ in the old way; it is embodied. My whole being and my whole body are becoming subtly awake in it. Distinctions are not lost in this awareness; everything and everyone in fact becomes more individual, sacred, precious and holy because I am being brought more and more to see that every single sentient being and every pebble and fern and fish is a unique creation of the Divine Light, infinitely loved and cherished, and entirely inhabited by the Light.”

Bede fell silent again and birdsong from a nearby tree filled the hut.  I struggled to say something but Bede put his finger to his lips. “I want to now bring together, as far as I am able, everything I have been trying to describe to you about the possibility for the human future and this birth of the divine in matter. I have come to believe that they are inextricably interconnected, that the Birth that is tentatively and fragmentarily beginning in me is destined to happen on a growing scale in humanity. It will, I believe, happen in you and it may well be happening, as we speak, to thousands of people all around the world. God is everywhere working a massive resurrection and it is the destiny of our time to be the birthing-ground of this Resurrection.

“This birthing of a divine humanity on a large scale is the real meaning of what some people call the second coming; the Christ does not need to return as a PERSON. Jesus in time and history opened this path for us; now what I believe will happen is that the Christ consciousness or, if you prefer, the Divine love-consciousness, will be born on a massive scale in hundreds of thousands of people. This is a miracle greater than any ‘outer’ rescuing by God could ever be. We are going to be rescued from ‘within’ through a massive alchemical process in which the whole of history will take part as a midwife of the new.

 “I began our talk by saying that I believed there were three possibilities for the human future – sudden transformation, which I think we can agree is unlikely, mass suicide, which I do not believe will happen, although, God knows, matters are growing serious. The third possibility, which my own experience leads me to believe, that will now manifest in history will be the Great Healing that leads to the Birth.

“What is going to be very difficult for human beings to accept or manage is that this Great Healing will have to manifest first as an immense crisis, or series of immense crises. The force that felled me on the verandah will I believe manifest in human history and do to all previous human agendas what it did to mine – plunge them into a cauldron of chaos. This is not punishment, but rescue, not ‘damnation’ or the ‘Last Judgment’ or what the fundamentalists mean by the apocalypse, but the fiercest and most merciful grace. The condition for the glory and possibility of the Birth is a necessary death of all previous visions and ways of acting. In fact, ‘Death’ and ‘Birth’ are two sides of one transformation as I have tried to describe, and are if you like, ‘exploding’ together. Out of this ‘explosion’ within the cauldron of chaos will come a new order which we can have glimpses of but cannot completely foresee or understand.

“What is essential to surviving, embracing and being transformed by so potentially difficult, dangerous and bewildering a process is to ground yourself in the hope that the mystical traditions give us through their revelation of our non-dual identity with the Divine, and through their knowledge that the Divine works in us and in history in paradoxical ways, using all so-called ‘opposites’ together to serve its secret alchemy of resurrection. All the traditions know perhaps the most sacred mystery of all – that for the Divine Consciousness to be installed in a human being, that human being has to undergo a death while in the body – a death to his or her false self, to the tyranny of his or her ego and unacknowledged shadow. This death is known in different forms in all the authentic traditions. And of course it mirrors in the inner dimension exactly what happens in outer nature that recreates itself endlessly through an intricate dance of Death and Birth. If the ear of corn does not ‘die’ in the dark depths of the soil, the corn does not rise in golden abundance. Shamans know this law. The Sufis know that the lover to be one with the beloved has to pass through ‘fana’ which some translate as annihilation but I prefer to think of as ‘deconstruction of the false self.’ Those Christian mystics who have truly begun the journey into embodying Christ consciousness speak of this ordeal as ‘the dark night of the soul.’ Knowing this mystery and that it ends, not in annihilation, but in the birth of the divine in matter, in the body, is the clue, I believe, to human survival and the greatest imaginable source of hope.”



pp. 67-69 beginning with "The activists I knew...."

 

The activists I knew were also in crucial ways separated from the ecstasy and power sacred vision could give them. Many of them had rejected the notion of the divine altogether. This meant that they were tragically cut off from the inspiring energies that divine awareness and love could feed them and mired in a denunciatory divisive consciousness that created as many problems as it intended to solve and alienated many of those it longed to enthuse.

Mystics, I saw, were mostly addicted to being, activists to doing. Both had profound narcissistic shadows that I recognized in myself. The mystic shadow was a surreal dissociation from the body, the world and the grueling tasks of implementing justice. The activist shadow was an addiction to doing with its attendant messiah and martyr complexes, its vulnerability to despair, rage and burnout.

One night in a dream I saw two rivers of flame meet in a sea of boiling fire and heard the words “when the two fires meet a third fire is created more powerful than either.” When I awoke and meditated on what I had dreamed I understood that these two fires were the fire of the mystic’s passion for God and the fire of the activist’s passion for justice and that in the fire that I had experienced in Coimbatore these two fires were fused. In the greatest of human beings, in Jesus, Rumi, the Buddha and in beings in our own age such as Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King, these two fires, kept apart in so many ways both by conservative religious establishments and by purely secular visions of activism were fused in a “third fire” – the fire of wisdom and love in action.

This third fire was, I realized, the key to preparing and transforming the human race. If the fire of the mystic’s passion for God could be fused with the activist’s passion to see justice done and capacity for sacrifice in the real world, then a new kind of human being would be born. This human being would be grounded in universal, all-embracing, mystical truth, and would be acting for justice in a local context with a global consciousness, beyond national or tribal or religious boundaries. The mystic’s shadow of addiction to being would be healed by the activist’s focus on doing. The activist shadow of addiction to doing would be infused and balanced and transformed by the mystic’s surrender to divine wisdom and joy. The fusion of the mystic’s passion for God with the activist’s passion for justice in the third fire of divine love and wisdom in action  would heal increasingly the tragic split in our modern consciousness between masculine and feminine, body and soul, light and matter, inner and outer wisdom, passion and peace, inner contemplation and outer action.

Such a vision I knew from my immersion in the world’s mystical traditions was not a wholly new one. It was known, in part, in ancient Vedic Hinduism; it was know in the evolution of the Bodhisattva ideal in Mahayana Buddhism; both eastern and western systems of alchemy had at their core a vision of a being transformed by both internal vision and external action into what they called “The Philosopher’s Stone,” a human being, humbly radiating divine power and grace.

In the Twentieth Century this vision of an evolutionary humanity incarnated itself in the brilliant work of Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, Jean Gebser, and in our time, Ken Wilbur. Father Bede Griffiths had written about this transformation and lived it. In his wonderful book, ­­Return to the Center, Father Bede wrote comparing the goals of Sri Aurobindo’s vision and that of authentic Christian mysticism: “in the integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo matter and life and consciousness are seen to be evolving toward the divine light and the divine consciousness in which they are not annihilated but fulfilled…this is the goal of a Christian Yoga. Body and soul are to be transfigured by the divine light and to participate in the divine consciousness. There is a descent of the spirit into matter and a corresponding ascent by which matter is transformed by the enduring power of the spirit and the body is transfigured.

“There must be a movement of ascent to pure consciousness, a detachment from all the moods of nature, a realization of the self in its eternal ground beyond space and time, but then there must also be a movement of descent by which the spirit enters into the heart of matter and raises it to a new mode of existence in which matter becomes the medium of a spiritual consciousness.”

When I read these words for the first time in a decade, not long after I had returned from my father’s deathbed, I knew they contained the clue to everything that had been happening within me since I had begun the path. What became increasingly clear to me after what I had lived through in South India, was that this divinization process was not just for exalted saints and yogis working on their transformation in isolation. It was potentially the destiny of millions of human beings. The movement of descent that Bede spoke of by which the spirit enters into the heart of matter was not a luxury for a few evolved seekers, but a necessity for humanity as a whole. And if this movement of descent was inspired and clear and accurate enough, it would affect a huge evolutionary leap, a new mode of existence for a humbled and transformed humanity dedicated to put divine love into action.

I made many mistakes and suffered many setbacks in the years that followed and needed myself to undergo many more trials, revelations and ordeals to begin to be humble enough to embody the reality of what I had learned.

But four linked realizations have only grown clearer with the passing years – that humanity is now undergoing the Death known as the “dark night of the soul,” that this dark night is not punishment or “damnation” but a mystery of fierce transforming grace, that through its rigorous exposure of illusion and opening to heartbreak, hundreds of thousands of beings all over the world are being “born” into a peaceful passion to put love into action, and that Sacred Activism, fuelled by the “third fire” that rises from the marriage of the mystic’s passion for God and the activist’s passion for justice, is the humbling “birthing force” for a new humanity.

I feel I have come to know these four linked truths not merely in a spiritual and intellectual but also in a visceral way. The pain and hope of these truths live not only in my heart and mind and soul but also in my body, and as it lives more and more in my guts and muscles, my capacity to try and respond to what I know becomes slower, simpler, humbler, and more effective.

What fills me with hope is that millions of human beings are now, in the fire of our current financial and environmental crises, waking up to the need for inner and outer transformation making the quantum evolutionary leap I have been describing possible. The time for the Birth of Sacred Activism on a global scale has arrived. Everything is now at stake and everything is possible.       

pp. 114-116:  the section The Mystical Renaissance

 

4. The Mystical Renaissance

At a time when fundamentalism in most of the world’s traditions is creating greater and greater havoc, a passionate and potent antidote to its madness is arising in the form of an unprecedented world-wide mystical renaissance. I have written at some length about this and here want to remind you of the three most empowering aspects of this renaissance, the three that are helping to engender the Birth.

The first is that all the major texts of all the world’s religions are now accessible. This fact, coupled with the fact that all of the world’s major mystical traditions are still, despite everything, intact means that anyone who wants to can now take the journey in the Divine in terms of their own temperament and personal inclination. This amounts to a revolution of personal mystical freedom.

The second empowering aspect of this renaissance – and the clue to its potential radical effectiveness in Sacred Activism – is the fact that along with the texts and traditions of the mystical traditions, their practices – in other words – their “sacred technology of transformation” – are now available. Traditionally such practices were kept confined to adepts or those in monasteries: now they are accessible to anyone who wants to work with them humbly and seriously. This amounts not only to a revolution of personal mystical freedom but also to a revolution of personal mystical transformation and radical empowerment in the heart of life. Sacred Activism as I am envisioning it would be impossible without this revolution.

The third aspect of this renaissance that is crucial to the Birth is that it is starting to make available to those who want it the kind of radical evolutionary mysticism that has inspired this book. The Birth, as I have experienced and tried to describe it, is a Birth of the Divine in the heart-core of matter, a birth of the Divine in the human; the return of the Mother, of the Sacred Feminine in all her forms and powers, nourishing and devastating, peaceful and outraged, makes possible for the first time in human history a radical embodied mysticism which could empower and help imagine and implement a new human future.

This amounts to more even than revolution; what this embodied evolutionary mysticism makes possible is the kind of quantum evolutionary leap that will need to be taken by hundreds of thousands of people for the world not only to be preserved but renewed and transformed. I am convinced that hundreds of thousands WILL take this leap; that such an embodied mystical vision of radical transformation of self and world has appeared – in the work of Teilhard de Chardin, Sri Aurobindo, Father Bede Griffiths, Ken Wilber, and in this book – shows me that it will be embraced and implemented by all those the Divine is waking up. In the epoch of humanity’s most self-destructive self-betrayal, the greatest, richest and most transforming vision of its potential has arisen to give it hope, , and guide it forward.



pp. 169-171 beginning with "Let me tell you what you are up against...."

 

“Let me tell you what you are up against. You are up against people like me. I know exactly what my company is doing and what devastation it is causing to thousands of lives. I should know; I am running it. I know and I do not care. I have decided I want a grand gold-plated lifestyle and the perks and jets and houses that go with it and I will do anything – bend the law, have people “removed,” bribe local governmental officials – you name it – to get what I want. I know too that none of my shareholders care a rat’s ass what I do or how I do it, providing I deliver and keep them swimming in cash.

“I said that you were up against people like me. That is true in one sense, but not in another. Because the truth is that I am in you too. A part of you is like me, just as ruthless and dedicated to your own selfish agenda. Only you can dress up this ruthlessness as your “mission” and never unmask the lust for power that might be lurking behind your righteous facade.

“What limits all so-called seekers and activists that I meet  is that they both shy away from the full realization of the “power of the dark.” The seekers I meet are frankly bliss bunnies about as useful in the real world as a rubber ball would be in a war. The activists I know enjoy denouncing others but aren’t at all in the business of unmasking their own destructiveness, or the self-destructiveness of their own dreary and banal self-righteousness.

“The “bliss bunnyhood” of seekers and the offensive self-righteousness of activists make it very easy for people like me to control the world. I know too, by the way, that the dark forces I play with are playing with me. I am under no illusion that I will not have to someday pay the price. Don’t the French say “the devil has no friends?” I’m willing to pay that price in return for having the pleasure of being able to afford this restaurant, in return for being able to ring up the President of the United States in front of house guests to impress them. Am I getting through to you?”

“You are” I said. “Thank you. You have taught me a lesson today which I will try to remember even when I don’t want to.” Although I heard clearly what he said and the way he said it the cynical bravura of someone who thought himself massively smarter than anyone else, I could also hear dark wisdom in what he was trying to tell me and I knew I NEEDED to hear it.

The well-meaning if self-serving naiveté of my nature had already exposed me to much suffering and I knew that any work in the world that I would want to do would have to be born as much out of what Jesus called “The wisdom of the serpent” as the “innocence of the dove.” In L I met the dark personal hunger for power that has seductive allure in all realms, including the so-called “spiritual.” When I left Mother Meera, I met, in the course of undergoing my own prolonged Dark Night, the forces of impersonal evil. I have described this encounter with St. Paul’s “Powers and Principalities” at length in my book Sun At Midnight: one of the characteristics of the Dark Night known in the mystical systems is that in it you lose all illusions about human nature, including your own, and meet in a way that shocks you to your core the unmasked and naked forces of the occult. I was myself especially vulnerable because I had no knowledge of these occult forces; I had to wake up fast, and learn how to protect myself to stay alive.

The vision that I have tried to give throughout this book of sacred activism has been forged out of these two “encounters” with the dark without and within, and I am grateful for the sobering wisdom they gave me. If I had not tried to learn the truth about what L told me about himself and the world of power he was speaking for, I would still be under the illusion that something less than a total divine transformation of human nature could preserve us from the danger we are in. If I hadn’t met, in a undeniable way, the power of the impersonal occult forces ranged against any evolutionary progress (these forces are well-known in all authentic mystical systems) I would imagine that being on the side of the “good” and “doing one’s best” would be enough. It is not enough.

Only constant spiritual practice can so deepen your realization of essential unity with the One that you can begin to face from the peace and joy that gives you the darkness you have to face in yourself and in the dynamics of the world to be effective. It is only by realizing that the One Consciousness is its transcendent bliss within yourself that you can begin to face the ferocity of its alchemical dance of “good” and “evil,” “light” and “dark” in reality. Without facing this ferocity without fear or illusion or denial, you cannot be effective in a time like ours.

If, as I believe, the vision of sacred activism I have presented can create the crucible for the birth of the divine human, then both the forces of external power and the impersonal occult forces have every reason to try and unnerve and mutilate the full unleashing of its power. After all, mystics who leave the world to its own devices while soaring off into their own transcendent trance do not threaten in any way any of the world’s hierarchies and elites, and activists who work, however nobly, from a divided, unhealed consciousness, burn out easily, can be easily manipulated and cannot, for all their righteous intentions, be conscious channels for the power of divine grace.

The sacred activist, however, who fuses profound mystical knowledge, stamina, peace and passion with wise focused action in the world is the most dangerous of all beings to those destructive forces that long to undo the human experiment. Being dangerous, the sacred activist will be in danger if he or she doesn’t know how to stay alert to its signs, prepared for the difficulties and obstacles the forces of dark power will try and create, and awake to the forces within her that invite them and give them room to work.

Nothing of what I am saying here would be foreign to the sages who created the I Ching or to the shamans or to the aborigines or Yamomamis or to great Mahayana mystics, or to Rumi, or to the great Christian masters of the Dark Night such as Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Part of the terrible price we have paid for our addiction to reason and dismissal of “mystical reality” is total ignorance of even the existence of these destructive forces that have therefore even greater power.

What has given me hope in my journey into recognition of these forces is the wisdom of protection the mystical traditions offer.

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InterSpiritual Dialogue 'n Action (ISDnA, est. 2002) & Broadband Contemplative Alliances Network (bcan.ws, est. 2004) with Brother Wayne. Multiplex Maingate is www.isdna.org; Multiplex Visitors Center is multiplex.isdna.org.   All rights reserved for original materials first published here; thanks to many associates for linked and associated materials.  ISDnA's educational partner is One Spirit Interfaith (www.onespiritinterfaith.org), ISDnA is a founding member of The Order of Universal Interfaith (OUnI www.ouni.org), World Council of Interfaith Congregations (WCIC, www.ouni.org), The Coalition for OneVoice (www.coalitionforonevoice.org) and the Universal Order of Sannyasa (originally envisioned by Bro. Wayne, www.orderofsannyasa.org).  Administrator Contact kurtjohnsonisd@yahoo.com

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