Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sacred Activism | Our Path to Wholeness


Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

- French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin


1.
Path of Wholesome Action

Some call it Spiritual Activism, some use the term Sacred Activism, while others prefer to call it Path of Wholesome Action (amal saleh). No matter what the words we choose for it, Sacred Activism is far removed from nomenclature, words, theorization or passivity. Spiritual Activism is the coming together of spirituality, and activism. It is simply activity, works / actions that comes from the heart, not just the head. It is activity and activism that is compassionate, positive, kind, fierce and transformative. The path of Spiritual Activism enables individuals or groups to develop the noble qualities of compassion, wisdom and gratitude. It is in itself a Path of Transformation – a Spiritual Blueprint for living.

Spiritual Activism is rooted in an understanding of interdependence of all that exists, all sentient beings and the matrix (the environment) that be-wombs it, and works to end of the suffering of all beings, even our seemingly adversaries / those who oppose us. Nothing could be more inspiring and more rewarding than being the change we want to see in the world, within and without. There have been many who embodied this understanding in the past. All great movement began from here, all great teachers were transformative precisely by becoming a fierce warrior of wholesome action.

Most activists are addicted to just doing, driven by all mind. Many mystics are addicted to just being, in a passive way, for the self alone. There is a renewed vision and remembrance emerging which is about how to be in order to be able to do. It is true that taking guided action, based in spiritual guidance, empowers action in an entirely different way. Instead of operating from our own personal (and often imaginary) power, there is a sacred power in divine activism and more so when its done collectively. Andrew Harvey, a contemporary mystic and also an architect of Sacred Activism reminds the ancient wisdom that 'we must both die and let die so that we may live and let live.' In his visionary work, The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, he demands nothing less than the true integration of matter and spirit, masculine and feminine, self and others. It proposed how Sacred Activism is a masterful panorama of how to get from the world as it is to a world as it could be.


2.
Building Blocks

In a world which bombards with false-glorification of materialism, even when spirituality is increasingly made divorced from its core values and Divine Consciousness - where every attempt is made to make everything secular, where remembrance of the Real is overshadowed with self-inflicted human wound, judgment, misconception, ignorance and arrogance - every movement that follows the same road is sure to fail. There have been many activism, many war protests, many peace rallies - yet when its done void of the sense of Great Reckoning, void of the truthful sacred knowledge that everything must return to the Source and every bounty must be justified for its use (or abuse) - unless then all collective achievement will be infinitesimally small than what is achievable. As long as we keep living in the "cover up" state about the truth that we come from God and to God we shall return and every single action will be answered before and judged by the Only Judge, the Real and the Just - there will be manipulation, injustice, abuse, robbery of human dignity everywhere, in every society - be it the boastful "most powerful country on the earth" or the famine stricken fourth-world countries in perpetual colonial oppression.

While surveying few of the movements that speak for Spiritual / Sacred Activism one can see the same trend of trying to make it as secular as possible because that's fashionable in the so called "modern world". And shameful it is to live in a time where our glorified definition of modernity is over power by the Military Industrial Complexes - which is all about how quickly you can kill how many people with smart bombs or unmanned drone attack.

Our lack of sensitivity to human life, human dignity and our so called advanced nations' most greedy push to sell arms, weapons to mass murder, corrupt politics that buy out other nations for control of resources and manipulate with multi-national missions is extremely grotesque to say the least. And unfortunately we suffocate the spirit of humanity while cover it up by controlling and manipulating all major public / mass media by keeping them blind in the name of entertainment, sexuality, pornography, opium of sports, gambling, stock market frenzy, fear of economy, cheap gossip of even cheaper movie 'stars' - you name them.

At the same time no age in human history is all full of despair because as long as humanity remembers what is Real, we can progress and move towards peace, harmony, beauty and perfection. So we hope and we inspire and make others inspired for understanding and contributing in sacred activism and becoming a sacred activist in their own way. In order to survey the fundamentals of Spiritual Activism thats growing in the consciousness, below are few of the notions thats been developed in its ideas / teachings / precepts.

All Action is Based on Compassion

When championing a cause, the mindset must be altruistic and the motivating emotion must be positive. Spiritual Activism is action for the benefit of something, not against something.

Compassion Flows from the Understanding of the Connection Between All Living Beings

We are all connected through our shared Humanity. When you learn to see that our differences are superficial and our similarities manifest, sympathy (or worse, pity) gives way to compassion. Our actions shift from one of “us helping them” to one of “for the good of All”. We become One.

“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.”
 ~ Thomas Merton

Compassion Must Be Applied With Wisdom

There are more causes that exist than an individual or group can possibly be involved with. It is important to choose your causes carefully. Learn to act instead of react.

Apply Synergy and Teamwork to Accomplish Goals

Synergy is the process where two or more actions combine to produce an effect greater than the sum of its individual parts. Like ripples in a pond, spiritual actions combine and build on each other to magnify an effect beyond what each could do individually. Whenever possible, team up with others to acquire a multifaceted and more holistic approach.


Spiritual Activism is the Pursuit of Service for the Good of All, Not for the Advancement or Benefit of Individuals or Selected Communities

The mindset behind your actions is noble, holistic, universal and non-partisan. Be mindful that ego and self-service have no place in Spiritual Activism. However spiritual activism is all about Self serving – it serves your highest Self, not your ego, and is a pathway to true and deep happiness, as opposed to the temporary and unstable happiness of the ego.

Pursue Integrity, Honesty and Dignity in the Conduct of Your Actions

Embrace mindfulness in the application of your activities and be aware of how your actions may be perceived by others. Machiavelli’s “The ends justify the means” has no place in Spiritual Activism. If our methods are not noble, our results will not be either. Practice spiritual transparency, allowing negative energies to bypass your system without harming it.

“Integrity is doing the right thing even if no one is watching.”
 ~ Unknown

Do not Defame Your Detractors or Those Who Doubt You

A confrontational approach leads to a defensive reaction. Approach others with openness and compassion in your heart. Build on the commonalities between you instead of focusing on the differences. As much as possible, detach yourself from the results of your actions. Aspire to always be a peacemaker.

Raising Another Up Raises You Up As Well

Helping another becomes a form of self-love as well as an expression of outward love. This becomes an upwardly spiraling cycle of increasing awareness, connection, compassion, involvement, capacity, and back to increasing awareness.

Learn to Listen to Your Heart and Not Your Mind

Your mind may only see the problem. Your heart will always feel the solution. Learn to act with Faith and cultivate a loving perception when facing collective problems.

Search Out Viable and Sustainable Solutions

Seek out solutions that maintain or restore the dignity of individual human and their communities. Solutions that become self sustaining.

“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”
 ~ Jesus

Spiritual Activism is about process

The process by which you arrive at the goal is as important as reaching the goal itself. If we live the change we want to see in the world, we cannot lose. We have already won.

- Credit Humanity Healing. First published website for the documentary Fierce Light: Where Spirit Meets Action.

3.
Principle of Spiritual Activism

Spiritual Activism describes individuals who are spiritually-based but also believe we need to take action in the world to create positive change. Spiritual activism is Spirit and Love put into action, and prayer made visible.

“Our goal is to create a beloved community.”  - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below are few of the principals of Spiritual Activism that is on the rise in the collective human consciousness:

Transformation of motivation from anger/fear/despair to compassion/love/purpose. This is a vital challenge for today's social change movement. This is not to deny the noble emotion of appropriate anger or outrage in the face of social injustice. Rather, this entails a crucial shift from fighting against evil to working for love, and the long-term results are very different, even if the outer activities appear virtually identical. Action follows Being, as the Sufi saying goes. Thus "a positive future cannot emerge from the mind of anger and despair" (Dalai Lama).

Love thy enemy. Or at least, have compassion for them. This is a vital challenge for our times. This does not mean indulging falsehood or corruption. It means moving from "us/them" thinking to "we" consciousness, from separation to cooperation, recognizing that we human beings are ultimately far more alike than we are different. This is challenging in situations with people whose views are radically opposed to yours. Be hard on the issues, soft on the people.

Your work is for the world, not for you. In doing service work, you are working for others. The full harvest of your work may not take place in your lifetime, yet your efforts now are making possible a better life for future generations. Let your fulfillment come in gratitude for being called to do this work, and from doing it with as much compassion, authenticity, fortitude, and forgiveness as you can muster.

Selfless service is a myth. In serving others, we serve our true selves. "It is in giving that we receive." We are sustained by those we serve, just as we are blessed when we forgive others. Service work is enlightened self-interest, because it cultivates an expanded sense of self that includes all others.

Do not insulate yourself from the pain of the world. Shielding yourself from heartbreak prevents transformation. Let your heart break open, and learn to move in the world with a broken heart. As Gibran says, "Your pain is the medicine by which the physician within heals thyself." When we open ourselves to the pain of the world, we become the medicine that heals the world. This is what Gandhi understood so deeply in his principles of ahimsa and satyagraha. A broken heart becomes an open heart, and genuine transformation begins.

What you attend to, you become. Your essence is pliable, and ultimately you become that which you most deeply focus your attention upon. You reap what you sow, so choose your actions carefully. If you constantly engage in battles, you become embattled yourself. If you constantly give love, you become love itself.

Rely on faith, and let go of having to figure it all out. There are larger 'divine' forces at work that we can trust completely without knowing their precise workings or agendas. Faith means trusting the unknown, and offering yourself as a vehicle for the intrinsic benevolence of the cosmos. "The first step to wisdom is silence. The second is listening." If you genuinely ask inwardly and listen for guidance, and then follow it carefully - you are working in accord with these larger forces, and you become the instrument for their music.

Love creates the form. Not the other way around. The heart crosses the abyss that the mind creates, and operates at depths unknown to the mind. Don't get trapped by "pessimism concerning human nature that is not balanced by an optimism concerning divine nature, or you will overlook the cure of grace." (Martin Luther King) Let your heart's love infuse your work and you cannot fail, though your dreams may manifest in ways different from what you imagine.

- Selection from Satyana Institute


4.
Follow your heartbreak

Most activists are addicted to just doing. Many mystics are addicted to just being. 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.

All mystical systems are addicted to transcending this reality. This addiction is part of the reason why the world is being destroyed. The monotheistic religions honor an off-planet God and would sacrifice this world and its attachments to the adoration of that God. But the God I met was both immanent and transcendent. This world is not an illusion, and the philosophies that say it is are half-baked half-truths. In an authentic mystical experience, the world does disappear and reveal itself as the dance of the divine consciousness. But then it reappears, and you see that everything you are looking at is God, and everything you’re touching is God. This vision completely shatters you.

We are so addicted, either to materialism or to transcending material reality, that we don’t see God right in front of us, in the beggar, the starving child, the brokenhearted woman; in our friend; in the cat; in the flea. We miss it, and in missing it, we allow the world to be destroyed.

Sacred activism isn’t anything new, but we need to bring an urgency and intensity to this message at this moment, because there is a worldwide addiction to money and power and a worldwide depression that affects even people who claim to be religious but have secretly given up on the human race.

Service, as it’s usually understood, is not going to be enough. Working at soup kitchens, helping stray animals, looking after old women, sitting by the deathbeds of young men who are dying of aids - all these are honorable actions, but we have to go farther. What’s required now is inspired, radical action on every level.

- Andrew Harvey

Visionary, Mystic and Architect of Sacred Activism, Andrew Harvey teaches that one first must ask the question "What breaks my heart?" which will systematically guide anyone who asks and truly answers it into their own unique path of sacred activism.

"Follow your heartbreak" is Harvey's truly inspired variation of Joseph Campbell's 'follow your bliss.' It is the following of our heartbreak (passion, deep longing and genuine faith of heart to be in service) which can take one right to bliss if we pursue our own spiritual work and take guided action to birth the new planet that is arising Sacred action is best undertaken as a form of sacred play.

Andrew says, "Sacred Activism is the "passion" of compassion and love in action on every level, in every realm, to change the world. There is a way to be a conscious creator with God in this stupendous birth of the divine human taking place through the chaos of our time.  We must turn our whole being to God in praise and longing so our actions are illuminated guided and energized by divine light. I dont' say follow your bliss, look where that has gotten us. I say follow your heartbreak."


5.
I Am with those who's heart is broken for My sake.

The Warrior Spirit of Truth, Muhammad transmitted that Allah says, "I Am with those who's heart is broken for My sake." May all our heartbreak be transformed for the Divine's sake and may God be with us in every endeavor and in every action and deeds that we perform in this world.


# Resources on Sacred / Spiritual Activism:
* The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism by Andrew Harvey via Google Book
* The 12 Keys of Spiritual Activism via Youtube
* The 11 Keys Of Spiritual Activism
* Fierce Light
* Review of The Hope
* Principles of Spiritual Activism
* How to Be a Sacred Activist
* Beyond Spiritual Activism: Creating a Just and Sustainable Movement for Change
* Spiritual Activism
* Statement of Commitment
* The Chapter of Yoga of Action in Bhagavad-Gita
* Ignorant Addiction to Transcendence

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