In thinking about writing on the topic of Sacred Activism I had to ask myself first, what is it that I am calling ‘Sacred’ ? The word sacred is defined as: ”that which is regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual, and connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration: sacred rites.”
What stands out to empower this definition for me are the words, “…that which is regarded with great respect and reverence…” because they keep available all that can speak of the sacred regardless of religion, group or religious purpose, by inviting us to embrace the sacred in any context where we feel deep respect and reverence.
When I was young I had many moments of deep reverence for God.
I could feel the divine presence in nature, deep silence, stillness, animals, and all things.
Soon it was framed into a Christian Theology, having been brought up with the Catholicism of my mother’s faith. But the fundamentalist interpretations of God’s love only being available to those who were born within a particular religious context, never settled comfortably for me. The sacred had already been speaking to my soul long before it had been framed within a religious view.
As I eventually explored other world religions a transformation in my thinking began to unfold. I was evolving from serving a “Religious” purpose into serving a “Spiritual” one.
The spiritual path allowed me to appreciate the sacred in all traditions, where Love is the distilled principle and intent behind all the original teachings.
So, for me, the sacred was becoming anything that filled me with a deep respect and reverence for “All That Is”.
What we hold sacred we also give great value. Thus, achieving clarity about sacred activism involves what I say I value. In this time of a great shifting in consciousness, with many old world systems breaking down, and environmental issues looming, a re-evaluation of what I say I value is begging my attention. But I am still left with this query about what distinguishes Sacred Activism from Secular Activism? How does the reference to the word ‘sacred’ change the way I approach the issues facing me/us? My definition of Secular activism is, that form of activity which perpetuates further division, through policies that serve the ‘select’, not the many. Sacred activism, on the other hand, is that which unites due to a deep respect and reverence for all of life, and allows inclusiveness and transparency to be available for finding solutions that serve the whole, not just certain parts.
For me, being a sacred activist requires that I first awaken to my own sacredness, and to see my sacredness being reflected back to me from each person I meet, from the air I breathe, the food I eat, coming from an earth that provides for me, taken in by a body I don’t have to tell what to do, and everything that sustains and allows me to thrive harmoniously. Until I can feel the mystery, magic and tremendous gift that life is and how it connects me to everything, my activism will be colored by partisan interests where resources and power are most often exploited at the expense of others through believing more in what divides and separates than what unites and supports.
Becoming conscious of the sacred in myself allows me to act with love for the world. As I look at what actions I need to take to contribute harmoniously to the world, I am faced with what actions I need to take to contribute to my own inner harmony. So, first I have to be an activist for my own sacred “Self” in order to balance the affect of my actions in the world. My way of being is informing my way of doing, and it is a daily practice, like brushing your teeth. We are each alone in determining which path serves us best for awakening to the sacred, but the choices available to us have never been more accessible and diverse as they are today.
But what are the challenges facing us that requires our actions to be sacred?
Andrew Harvey, whose writings on Rumi I have enjoyed for many years, gave a talk where he identified the 7 “Heads of the Apocalypse” in relation to the 7 major threats facing us, these where:
One, Over population beyond the means of the planet being able to sustain it by 2050.
Two, The Environment and the accelerated effect and progress of global warming and the affect of fossil fuels along with strip mining and the overall raping of the earth.
Three, The spread of Fundamentalism, generating great division and violence.
Four, War, and the spread of weapons of destruction and their availability to more people than ever.
Five, Our disassociation with Nature due to our excessive pre-occupation with technology and building ‘cement gardens’.
Six, A form of demented individualism through mass media’s proliferation of ‘information trash’, mis-information and right wing extremist interests.
Seven, A type of pervasive universal form of A.D.D. Due to excessive busyness.
When I began listening to Andrew speak of these threats I felt the weight of despair and powerlessness, but as I continued to listen a light began to shine through, reminding me of those many private moments when I could feel something empowering me with a loving vision for what I could only imagine, but felt deep in my soul, could be done.
I know when I look at those 7 arena’s of how we are manifesting our world and reality, my head starts to spin. But each of these threats also contain what we cherish, and thus what we hold sacred:
1. that our children will be able to physically thrive on this planet when we’re gone.
2. that they will be left with a vibrant healthy earth.
3. that tolerance and compassion will prevail over fundamentalist coercion.
4. that all weapons of mass destruction be no more in a world of peace.
5. returning to the sacred bond we have with nature by living in harmony with her.
6. to have access to all possible information, thinking for yourself, and the freedom to speak your truth.
7. to slow down the pace of life so that the full bounty of life can be lived and appreciated by giving ourselves the time to Be, as much as we do to Doing.
Whether you believe what Andrew Harvey is saying or not, the reality of the threats are undeniable. In the face of such challenges, each of us are left with a choice, to run and hide within self distraction and numbness hoping it will all disappear, to become more self righteous and fundamentalist in order to control the outcome, or we can embrace what the darkness is showing us, a light that can be found when we let go of the hysteria of the divided self and let it fall into Stillness…the clarity that comes from a column of calm fire, rising from the depths of my being still and listening to the ‘heart’ of my knowing. When I am still, the whole universe can be heard singing it’s song through the chambers of my heart.
Sacred activism is the bridge between the reactions of my emotional body and the understanding that comes from an awakened mind. The human heart is the bridge and love is the vehicle. Love does not leave us in despair, but it does strip us of what is false that we may be clothed in what is real. Seeing the darkness of death looming all around also reveals the great light being provided for our rebirth. As Andrew stated, “We are being taken by the Dark Night, to lead us to a deeper understanding, which will make it easier to surrender completely to the Divine Mother.” As a sacred activist, I must surrender to the mystery, knowing I am a vital part of it.
Cooperative understanding is crucial. As I experience the ‘sacred fear’ and ‘awe’ of the destructive power of the Divine I am also given an understanding that this is a call to a new birth, which can only come from a new mind. This new mind arises from the ashes of my ignorance, as I see how the Great Mother is providing the resources we need to mid-wife this birth. Great Nature has not abandoned us. Some of the sources of hope being given to us are:
- We are being forced to see our darkness to help us transform our relationship to the Mother. This is nothing less than a deep call to strip away the illusions.
- We are being shown numerous alternative energy sources that are clean with only a lack of political will standing in our way.
- The internet has leveled the field for people to connect and we are communicating with each other on a world wide scale never before known.
- Wisdom teachings from all possible traditions have been made fully available. Our access to divine knowledge and their treasures can now be explored by anyone according to their ‘authentic temperament’ .
- As I awaken and open to this grand and sacred rebirth the inspiration behind my actions comes from strong, radiant, compassionate non-violence. This comes from holding to the truth of the Divines’ radiance, by surrendering to being helped, to being open, and to being instructed.
- A new wisdom of inter-connectedness is being revealed. Tantric love is helping us to bridge what has separated body from mind, tutoring us on how to embody the light.
- This great union with the Mother is giving us the opportunity to incarnate Divinity on earth. “As above, so below.” “…on earth, as it is in heaven.”So, as I determine my role in all of this, I am left with the question, “How do I become a midwife to this birth?
Andrew Harvey pointed to what he calls the five forms of Sacred Service.
- However you experience your connection to God or the Divine, express gratitude and praise daily.
- Be of service to yourself as an instrument of God. Treat the body with reverence. Be grounded in reality, and act from a place of reverence, holiness and respect.
- Serving all beings in your life as Divine Beings. To recognize the divine in everything.
- Service to the community you are in. Think globally, act locally. Determine what breaks your heart the most, then make a commitment to helping.
- Servicing the global community by becoming aware of your decisions and what they are supporting.
Like anything we say we value, we have to invest in it, nurture it, and protect it, but the sacred also asks that I lovingly share it, since all we have is ultimately a gift. I have often thought of this life as a testing ground for us becoming ‘co-creators’ with the Divine. It seems, at this time in history, we are being forced to see our greatest opportunity to enter this kind of relationship.
It appears that sacred “Self” activism is where I must start. Following the second act of sacred service seems essential to my being a good midwife to navigating the birth canal for myself and the ‘great shift’.
As I step into this expansive and most honorable path of Sacred Activism, I lift a prayer of affirmation, that “…we experience and embrace Clarity, Peace and Love…unfolding like the spreading of water, smoothly and easily, penetrating all surfaces with minimal effort, like a deep breath flowing through me, liberating all resistance.
In the spirit of all that unites and empowers our divine heritage.
~Tru (aka Guy Stefan) Jan. 23, 2015