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Mystical Activism: Transforming a World In Crisis

 
In Mystical Activism, we each hold the power to change the world right where we are. To call these “end times” is not hyperbole. We are in trouble and the signs are everywhere: extreme political divisions; xenophobic violence; enormous wealth inequity; poverty and homelessness; racism, sexism, and ageism; arms buildups and unending wars; and, most critical of all, terrifying climate disruption associated with man-made global warming. We are the cause of these dark times. Driven by left-brain beliefs, illusions and obsessions, humanity races headlong toward the collapse of civilization. Fortunately, the solution to these mounting crises also lies in the human psyche, arising from a most surprising source: the right-brain’s natural mystical consciousness. Our survival depends on whether we grasp and resolve this paradox in time.

MYSTICAL ACTIVISM:
TRANSFORMING A WORLD IN CRISIS

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Climate Change: From Darkness to Hope

The Haunting

This is a confession and it’s true: I feel haunted.

I wake up at 5:00 am everyday with skin-crawling dread because everywhere I go, I see ten years into the future. I see hillsides of dead trees in the Pacific Northwest riddled with beetles, tinder for the coming infernos. I see dry stream beds, like parched cracked throats, spreading through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains. I see fish, fauna, and two-leggeds dying across the globe because glaciers no longer fill their life-giving rivers. I see 150 species of plants and animals going extinct every day – it’s called the 6th Extinction, with our beloved salmon and whale populations disappearing in warming, polluted, acidic oceans and streams. I see exhausted immigrant families fleeing the suffocating heat and useless fields of their homelands cruelly driven back by soldiers. I see once great cities now deserted dusty wastelands, and whole towns and villages transformed into graveyards by rampaging parasites, superbugs, and starvation. I see the old and sick struggling without medications or hospitals. I see agitated parents searching depleted grocery shelves to fill near-empty pantries and dead refrigerators. I see skies swallowed by rotating jet-black storm systems, vast and demonic, two hundred mile-per-hour winds and crushing rains, churning toward incredulous, hypnotized onlookers frozen in fear. I see the rise of authoritarian governments, failed states, civil wars, and the domino-like collapse of lawful civilization as peoples and nations fight for power and resources. It’s like I’m living in two alternating realities unable to share my insane double-vision with anyone. Sometimes I find myself crying out loud.

But it’s all coming. It’s called global warming, climate change, even extinction. I hear the dark threatening bass riff from Jaws playing in my head and it’s really scary. Most can’t see the danger yet, and I can’t stop seeing it – heartbreaking and terrifying. I join climate scientists trembling in fear from the shocking implications of their own findings. My escalating anxiety insists that I wake up and pay attention: I am feeling the suffering of Creation Herself.

We are Creation and we will die without Her. There is no place to hide and nowhere else to go. Nor will climate-denying politicians and their oil-corrupted lobbyist-friends, purveyors of death and crimes against humanity, save us. You and I must take a massive stand for life now or follow this haunting vision to its prophesied ending. The debate over climate change has ended. So, too, must denial, ignorance, passivity and cynicism yield to legitimate – and frightening –climate facts. But what can we do with our rapidly mounting anxiety, despair and rage?

The Transformation

As a clinical psychologist, and particularly as a depth-oriented psychotherapist engaged for years in long-term “soul work” with clients, I learned that any pain we are willing to experience directly, to bear deeply and honestly, will change, and will change us. As a mystic, I learned that whatever distress we feel about Creation is itself Creation speaking through us, because we are Creation. We must understand, then, that the feelings and emotions triggered by this Earth crisis, however difficult, have the potential to evolve and transform us, and guide our activism. In our anguish we hold Creation’s pain – but is it the anguish of the dying or the labor pains of Eden’s struggle for renewal? And what is Eden anyway if not the natural world liberated from our beliefs, projections and exploitation, and experienced anew in mystical adoration? Death or renewal – it’s up to us.

But what to do with the nearly-unbearable fear, despair and anger we experience in this deteriorating scenario? Can this haunting vision empower us? As a mystical psychotherapist, here is my response: Feelings and beliefs, experienced in the transformational fires of awakened consciousness, eventually transmute into higher forms, like coal into diamond, base metal into gold, or humanity into divinity, for consciousness finds the sacred in everything because consciousness is itself sacred.

For example, it’s my fervent belief that…

Climate Anxiety, intense and soul-shattering, but experienced directly in awakened, consciousness, can ignite transformational fires inside that will one day bring fearless action. In divinity’s spiritual furnace, we are recast into new beings.

It’s my fervent belief that…

Climate Despair, experienced in genuine, full-throated, heart-breaking grief, will one day unleash the power to act for Creation without compromise or mortal concern. We get up one morning, know what we have to do, and we start doing it.

And it’s my fervent belief that…

Climate Rage, our fury at what petroleum products, toxic chemicals, Earth-raping development, endless waste, and self-dealing politicians are still doing to our mother, can be transformed through restraint, integrity, enlightened vision, scientific guidance, and political action, so that one day, in the not-too-awfully-distant future, we will see our pain and anger transmuted into a new and sustainable way of life on Earth.

This is the power of transformation: Experiencing climate distress in sacred consciousness can prepare us to act with courage, sacrifice and immense determination in the healing of Creation. Feel it, be patient, go deep, and action will come. And act we must.

The Change

How will climate stress change you? Because there are countless ways to contribute in this transformational time, pay attention to your feelings, notice how your deep self responds to the climate threat, catalogue your personal interests, aptitudes and resources, and then determine how and where you feel called to work for Creation’s healing. If you’re still wondering where you fit, here’s an abbreviated list of possibilities in no particular order. Check the ones that kindle your inner fire and see what you discover. You could be a…

  • Climate warrior defending Creation against the continuing assault of development, pollution, and exploitation through political protest and civil disobedience
  • Gardener or animal rights activist nourishing and supporting life in all its forms
  • Healer of physical, emotional, mental or spiritual wounds in human and non-human beings, nurturing the hurt and broken back to life
  • Artist nourishing, expressing and welcoming the spirit’s powerful message of creativity through your own work
  • Lover of Creation blessing every living thing with kindness, gratitude, and praise
  • Skillful builder of a new world as enlightened craftsman, engineer, laborer, farmer, chef, inventor, lawyer, or educator
  • Contemplative immersed in prayer and unitive consciousness sending healing energies throughout Creation
  • Scientist, professional or amateur, seeking to understand the nature and causes of climate damage and its repair
  • Citizen lobbyist pressuring local, state, and national governments to declare a climate emergency and adopt immediate climate legislation
  • Spiritual leader creating or revitalizing sacred ritual, celebration, and theology in service to Creation
  • Social organizer inspiring and mobilizing community action
  • Conflict manager skilled in compassionate non-violent communication and community problem-solving thoughtfully guiding fractured groups through difficult choices toward unifying values and action
  • Volunteer donating time, energy, skills, and money to political or climate action organizations
  • Last but not least, reducer of your own carbon footprint through lifestyle changes and carbon offset programs (check the internet for ideas!)

While we may engage these sacred roles in different degrees and combinations, each of us has been chosen, by temperament, passion, interest, and soulful call, to serve the work of climate healing in a unique way. Recognize your gifts and find your work.

Final Thoughts

To cope with this expanding apocalypse, we must learn to live again on this planet as if everything were new, unfamiliar, and sacred, and reorganize our communities to meet the dramatic needs of a new reality. No one can do this alone but all of us just might be able to do it together. Though still in my own personal alchemical transformation, I feel it happening, I trust it: I am moving from haunted to focused; I am preparing for a greater role in Creation’s evolutionary unfolding, as we all are.

The Earth’s climate breakdown represents a planetary transformation of profound proportions – — the divine is changing us into new beings for a new world. This is the “soul work” of humanity. It will not be easy nor will everyone survive, but understanding the nature and purpose of this transitional time will prepare us to bear what we must bear for a new beginning.

John’s newest book shows us how we hold the power to change the world, right where we are. It’s available for preorder now – shipping February 28th.
 

 
In Mystical Activism, we each hold the power to change the world right where we are. To call these “end times” is not hyperbole. We are in trouble and the signs are everywhere: extreme political divisions; xenophobic violence; enormous wealth inequity; poverty and homelessness; racism, sexism, and ageism; arms buildups and unending wars; and, most critical of all, terrifying climate disruption associated with man-made global warming. We are the cause of these dark times. Driven by left-brain beliefs, illusions and obsessions, humanity races headlong toward the collapse of civilization. Fortunately, the solution to these mounting crises also lies in the human psyche, arising from a most surprising source: the right-brain’s natural mystical consciousness. Our survival depends on whether we grasp and resolve this paradox in time.

Reviews

John Robinson lights a fire to our hearts, minds and souls and offers deep medicine for our struggling times, times he is unafraid to recognize as an “approaching apocalypse.” John has his feet squarely on the ground and his heart, soul and spirit soaring.” – Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality Theologian, Author, Educator.

John C Robinson’s Mystical Activism is a powerful introduction to spiritual consciousness for those who have thought that religion is either for the empty-headed or for the reactionary, and a compelling challenge to those whose spiritual or mystical experiences have so absorbed them that they have little interest in social transformation. – Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun.org and author of 12 books, most recently Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World (University of California Press, 2019).

Mystical Activism is a book that is urgently needed in this time of environmental and cultural crisis, reminding us that frightening statistics and apocalyptic predictions are not enough—that the wisdom and will that can save our planet can only come from deep experience of the sacredness of life on Earth. This book is a beautiful, practice-filled guide to accessing mystical consciousness and committing to using the soul gifts we find there in service to a world teetering on a knife’s edge between collapse and transformation. – Ron Pevny, Director of the Center for Conscious Eldering and author of Conscious Living, Conscious Aging.

Mystical Activism: Transforming a World in Crisis is a call for all people to rise up to our next level of active spirituality and intergenerational mutuality. Never before has it been so important that the human species dives deep into our inner world so that we may draw forth our divinity and act in a way that can positively transform our world in crisis. Every religion began as a mystical experience; in this book Robinson challenges us to see the world from this divine knowing as sacred, cosmic beings all interconnected and interdependent so that we might begin again while drawing upon ancient wisdom. Interweaving science with spirituality, Robinson is doing what is especially vital at this time – calling upon us all to create new mythologies, narratives, and wisdom stories that will guide us toward universal healing and cooperation as well as a return to sacred living. Inspiring, moving and challenging in all the right ways, Mystical Activism is a guidebook for saving our world. – Rev. Deshna Charron Shine, Executive Director of ProgressiveChristianity.org and ProgressingSpirit.com.

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About the Author
John C. Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min.is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry (studying with Matthew Fox at the University of Creation Spirituality), an ordained interfaith minister (the Chaplaincy Institute), the author of nine books and numerous articles on the psychology, spirituality and mysticism of the New Aging, and a frequent speaker at Conscious Aging Conferences across the country. This article is based on John’s newest book of the same name. You can learn more about John’s work at www.johnrobinson.org.

Review & Commentary