I like to think of Andrew Harvey as one of the intellectual bad boys of the modern spiritual path. Bless the man, he’s almost always a curve or two ahead of the pack. His latest book, The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism is no exception.
Harvey has been through tough times in his life: Finding his guru, her agonizing betrayal, telling the truth about it to name just a few. He’s been on the Path of the Divine Feminine since before most spiritual seekers had even heard of it.
Andrew Harvey has reached his life’s work, and no wonder, he’s either amidst or just through his second Saturn return—perfect timing. It is sheer joy to meet his adamant prose in The Hope. His start of Ten Things You Can Do Right Now is a boon to all of us who know that our world has hit tilt. My favorite was #11 … carry small change in your pocket to give to the growing number of homeless on our streets.
One of the biggest bugaboos in taking on changing the world is that the problems seem insurmountable. Often, it means we give up, we don’t even try, we think our small efforts make no difference. Mr. Harvey begs to differ, and I agree with him.
Comfortingly, he cops to his own “stuff,” the stuff of what he calls “radical shadow work.” All of us who want to make a difference to the world have shadow sides. All, unless we’re totally enlightened. Shadow work is vital to making a difference in the world. We have to be able to understand what our issues are so that we can address worldwide issues. Everyone I know on an authentic spiritual path works on herself or himself first. Without that, our work can be ego-based and damaging, both to ourselves and to others.
To live in hope, the notion that we can change both ourselves and the world require what Mr. Harvey calls “Embodiment,” the path that not only has power but also wisdom. We work toward becoming vehicles for the Divine in this world. My peaceworker self thrilled to read these words: “When Jesus speaks in the Gospels of the ‘peace beyond understanding,’he is referring not to a passive peace, but to a dynamic peace, a peace beyond any rational explanation or ground that grows as the contraries of light and dark, masculine and feminine are increasingly integrated within us.” [Full disclosure: we’re off to do a performance of my own personal version of activism, my play PeaceWomen, at Wheaton College.]
Most activists are addicted to doing. Many mystics are addicted to being. Mr. Harvey takes both to a new level teaching us how to be in order to be able to do. Taking guided action, based in spiritual guidance, empowers action in an entirely different way. Instead of operating from our own personal power, he avows and proves that there is a sacred power in divine activism. He says we must both die and let die so that we may live and let live. The Hope demands nothing less than the true integration of matter and spirit, masculine and feminine, self and others. It is a masterful panorama of how to get from the world as it is to a world as it could be.
My favorite question in the book is one that will systematically guide anyone who asks and truly answers it into their own unique path of sacred activism. It is:
“What breaks your heart?”
For me, it’s a lack of inner peace on the planet—mostly because we don’t know how to make it a priority. For my sweetie, it’s the extinction of animals. I routinely take actions that help people remember that inner peace is a choice. She routinely supports animal causes.
“Follow your heartbreak” is Mr. Harvey’s truly inspired variation on that well-known quotation of Joseph Campbell’s ‘follow your bliss.” The most fascinating thing about Mr. Harvey’s work is that the heartbreak will take us 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.” He’s right. If our activism has too high a cost, it often comes from resistance which is a prescription for burnout. The loveliest gift he offers is The Global Curriculum for Sacred Activism. You may discover more at www.andrewharvey.net.
We all have work to do to contribute to the species that share our planet. Andrew Harvey’s The Hope offers us a comprehensive roadmap into a glorious, bright future.