Andrew Harvey
An Authentic Vision of Abundance
By Donna Strong

 

 

Few spiritual seekers are more adept in their visionary capacity to see through the chaos and confusion of compelling change and articulate the unprecedented opportunities of our time than the internationally-acclaimed author, poet and spiritual teacher, Andrew Harvey.
Drawn from Andrew’s deep devotion to the Divine, his new book, The Hope; A Guide to Sacred Activism, is full of the spiritual fire of illumination. This work provides an expanded vision of what is critically needed in the present moment — to gather together and galvanize action infused with the determination and endurance of spiritual consciousness.

Andrew outlines a path to forge passion with purpose through ‘Networks of Grace,’ small circles of six-to-twelve people with mutual interests to be the creative cells that birth a ‘radical divine force’ through the synergy of their communal commitment.
Already hailed by a chorus of leading luminaries, in this book Andrew shines the brilliant light of all he has integrated from decades as a mystic scholar, merged with the clarity of a humble conduit that has surrendered to the sacred.

Even at this critical juncture as crises abound and systems crumble, The Hope offers potent new understanding of how to merge spiritual awareness and activism in a way that fosters collective momentum and reveals meaningful abundance that will deeply enrich our lives.
Awareness: Your new book is brilliant! I see the challenge of our times as one to bring more coherence through all the seeming disparity of what is coming apart. Please tell us what you see emerging.

Andrew: I believe that the crisis we are going through is both a death and a birth. The clue to this crisis is given to us in the mystical systems. In different ways the systems all talk about what is known in the Christian mystical system as the Dark Night of the Soul, a necessary ordeal in which the false self is systematically deconstructed to reveal the divine self.

I believe this process is now happening on a global scale and the death we are going through, of the agendas and the policies and addictions that have driven us to this suicidal place where we find ourselves, is a necessary death for the great birth of a new divine humanity.
I see this birth appearing in many ways right now; in the new technologies that are available to us to end our addiction to oil and to create a sustainable energy policy, in the extraordinary mystical renaissance that is taking place, where the revelations of the world are now available to us along with very scientifically accurate technologies of transformation. It’s appearing in a worldwide movement of sacred activism that Paul Hawken has wonderfully identified in his book, Blessed Unrest, and Paul Ray calls a movement of the Cultural Creatives.

It’s appearing in a new vision of evolutionary mysticism that has been given us in the twentieth century by great mystics such as Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, Jean Gebser and Ken Wilbur. This vision is calling us to fuse deep mystical knowledge, stamina, peace and passion with clear, wise radical action to birth not only a new world, but a new humanity that is transformed by tragedy, humbled by ordeal and able at last to co-create a world with the divine.

Awareness: What, for you, is most important in the book to share about sacred activism?

Andrew: I called the book, The Hope, because the most important thing we all need now, is a realistic, sober yet exalted hope in humanity, and in God’s plan for humanity and in our own deepest, sacred abilities.
My book is dedicated to bringing this vision of hope right into the core of every human being, to give him or her the strength to move forward, not only with determination, but also real joy.

Awareness: Rather than being adrift in a ‘Coca Coma’ trance as you call it in your book, how can we go about seeing and sensing the divine in daily life?

Andrew: Considering the unprecedented nature of the crisis, I think the first thing I would recommend to people is to turn to the spirit, in whatever way they conceive the divine, and really start having a profound, simple, daily spiritual practice.
It is my experience that without the strength and the illumination this brings, it is very difficult to be strong enough to end the prevailing denial in our culture and not only face where we are, but face what we are challenged to become.

Awareness: So, how do you sense the divine in daily life?  

Andrew: In my book I offer five kinds of service to fuse the divine into the core of one’s life so you will be born into sacred activism. These kinds of service are; first, service to the divine in any way you understand it as prayer, thanksgiving, praise and adoration. This service helps open you to passion, peace, rapture and guidance.

Then there is service to your self as an instrument of the divine energies, having a sacred practice, doing inner work to face your shadow and building strength through diet and exercise, and practices so the body can be used by the spirit in the world.
The third kind of service is to recognize every sentient being as a manifestation of the one, as holy, worthy of respect and deep courtesy, and of profound compassion. Everyone we meet is God in disguise — every animal, flower, flea, dolphin and whale is a cherished and loved emanation of divine beauty. Coming to recognize and act from this in everyday life is to come into a holy atmosphere and empowerment of God.

It is especially important at this moment to take seriously our responsibility towards all animals because we have created concentration camps for them and are torturing them to death. This is creating a terrible tsunami of black karma for us, which we really need to reverse. I would place a special emphasis on realizing our obligation to the animal race and turning toward and asking its forgiveness and really changing all of our policies to reflect a harmony with nature.

The fourth kind of service is to think globally, but act locally. When people ask me how we can truly become sacred activists in our local communities, what I say to them is, “Follow your heartbreak.” When you wake up in the morning, surround yourself with divine protection and peace, become extremely centered in what you’ve understood to be the spirit, look around at all the world crises and ask yourself one question — which of all these devastating needs breaks my heart the most?  

When you discover what most breaks your heart, you discover in that broken open heart a fountain of depthless passion which will never run dry and it will give you great energy, purpose and meaning.

So once you have identified your fundamental heartbreak and discovered the passion, transformation and change that are its great reward, turn to your local community and discover ways you can really serve that heartbreak.

The fifth kind of service is to acknowledge that we are all now really part of a global community and that means we all have an ethical, social, spiritual, economic and political responsibility to see that the policies of corporations, of governments and of economic growth really serve the great birth that is trying to take place.

We have to really see that all of our decisions affect millions and millions of people and the whole animal species in ways that we have to become clear about and really dedicate ourselves to.

So when you combine those five kinds of service in your life, you will find your sense of divine connection will multiply immensely and your sense of your own power will grow exponentially, because you’ll find that you don’t have to rely only on your own ego, but upon the divine self that lives within you and on its power and beauty.

You will find that the paralysis and denial that have been so much a part of the reaction to this crisis, slowly starts to dissolve and in its place arises a great calm passion and a profound energy to put a transformational practice into the core of your life.
It will bring a very deep peace because you will see and know and feel that by acting from your deepest consciousness you are being a humble midwife of this birth, and this will give you great faith through whatever happens.

Awareness: In your book you made a comment about a ‘perfect storm of dangers,’ and one of the things people have to learn how to step up to, is to do shadow work, ‘humbly and constantly.’

Andrew: I think that shadow work is now essential for all of us because there are many ways that our personal and collective shadow coincides to make a suicidal civilization. I’ve identified five internal saboteurs in myself, which I feel, are shared by everyone at this moment; disbelief and deep denial that such a crisis could be happening, profound dread as we awaken to what the crisis is, and profound disillusionment with the human race after the orgy of violence and destruction to the environment.

Finally, there is what I call a desire not to be, a kind of death wish, which afflicts all of us as we begin to awaken to the enormity of what we have done to one another, to the animals and to nature.

I think that facing these five inner saboteurs takes an enormous amount of courage and is best done in two related ways, first, a deep spiritual practice in order to face the shadow of the ego with as much understanding of the divine self as you can possibly establish. When you have established a sense of the divine self, you will find you have the courage to explore the false self.

The other way to explore the shadow is with a professional. I myself have been in analysis with a great Jungian professional and he has helped me in immeasurable and wise and profound ways to really start dealing with the inner saboteurs and the ways in which my own childhood traumas, illusions, lust for power and fame have colluded with the five internal saboteurs.

This is grueling work, but the reward is, you see in yourself the motivations and desires for power and exploitation and domination that normally we like to project onto other people. This breeds a much deeper, heartbroken compassion for all beings and it makes you so much more skillful because you can see very deeply into the motivations of others and sometimes, therefore are able to help them.

The other reward of this shadow work is that you will be more committed to cross over from a human being to a humble, empowered divine human being capable as a sacred activist and an instrument of divine love in action.

Awareness: What would you offer to others as a perspective about the ego?  Personally, I have reached a point again and again where some aspect of my ego just becomes too heavy to bear and I ask for help to surrender it. When this happens it feels like a mercy.

Andrew: I think that it is important not to demonize the ego, but to approach this transformation as radiantly and tenderly and joyfully as possible, because the ego never dies, but it can become the servant and instrument of the divine self and not a crazy movie director of its own bad film.

The secret to transformation is to fall more and more deeply in love with the divine. As this love grows and expands and reveals to you its tremendous mysteries of unity and ecstasy, energy and joy, the ego’s desire to control gradually subsides.

As you have said, its desire to dominate and control and its addictions prevent it from a massive experience of ecstasy and joy and unity with all things. So the ego of its own accord desires to die into love, into life, no longer the manipulator, but the lover. No longer the controller, but the adorer, no longer the master, but the instrument.

At this moment, which is a very holy moment in the path, what you are shown, is your shadow; in all its lust for power and trauma and deep addictions and profound enslavement really, is your own deepest enemy.

What you are also shown is the divine has always known this and you do not need to go on with guilt and shame, but you need to get on your knees before the beloved and beg in the deepest and calmest way, for your ego to be transformed from a killer into a lover. With that hunger, that longing, you’ll find that the Divine will reveal to you its unconditional forgiveness, it’s mercy, its unbelievable encouragement and love that it always has for you.

What will happen is that you will see the necessary limitation of your ego and the necessary difficulty of your shadow into a far deeper compassion for all human beings and as ways of connecting you with the whole sorrowful, striving and conflicted humanity. Out of the great love that this recognition births in you, you will be far more humble and far more effective as an instrument of the great birth that is taking place.

Awareness: Your book offers ways that you can connect with the qualities of the Divine Mother and my own sense is that there are so many ways that we feel unfinished and lacking in nurturing, to feel as though we are worthy of the attention and caring that is the larger Divine Mother energy can have a revelatory effect on one’s life.

Andrew: The return of the Divine Feminine is the single most hopeful phenomenon of our time. For me, the revelation of the Mother side of God has been the revelation of my life, because it has brought a very profound sense I am loved, I am cherished, I am nurtured, I am guided, I am led forward.

It has also brought to me a very profound sense of the holiness of being in a body and therefore being granted the supreme experience of human life and the greatness of creation from a divine standpoint. The universe is a great marriage of matter and spirit; what you could call the Father, the absolute godhead, and the Mother, the embodied godhead.

One of the miracles of human life, as you deepen this experience of the Divine feminine, is that you come to realize that by being in a human body, you also partake of the full nature of the Divine that is transcendent, in endless light, and eminent in all aspects of created life. This gives you an enormous sense of the dignity of every created being.

When we turn to the Mother side of God to guide our actions and co-create with the great love fire of the Divine Mother and the supreme wisdom interdependence of the Divine Father, a humble divine human being will be birthed. This will not only save the human race, but also help it to make the great evolutionary leap that I believe this crisis is preparing us to take.

With the ability to be in constant inner contact with the Father/Mother, this newly birthed divine human will work in joy, in truth, in wisdom, in steadiness, in great peace and passion for the Will of the Father/Mother to see this world transformed.

Awareness: As we go through this vast metamorphosis, your book literally gets to the ‘heart’ of the matter, of what is sacred and of great value in our lives as the ultimate form of abundance.

Andrew: I think one of the great disasters of the New Age has been capitulation to consumer-ism. It has not been able to give
us an authentic vision of abundance.

Real abundance has nothing to do with how much stuff you have, or using the divine connection to manifest Mercedes Benz’s and Mac mansions, and claim temporal power. Real abundance comes from the revelation that the whole of creation is already rich and potent with the Divine presence. Human life is a supreme opportunity for the transformation into embodied divinity.

When you begin to connect with this abundance, the humble empowerment it breeds and the great sense of meaning and mission that it can give to your life, worldly forms of abundance seem very small compared to the great wealth blazing in every plant and animal and human being, and the wealth you finally uncover when you discover the mission you are here to enact.

So what I would say to everyone now, is to take the opportunity of economic collapse — the tragic limits of capitalism, of the revelation we are in the middle of destroying the planet through greed and exploitation — take this major revelation that is very difficult to bear, and turn away from external goals and discover the Divine within.

Through this you will come into an unimaginably beautiful, potent, rich and glorious field of authentic abundance that will give you the energy and joy to work with the great birth that is taking place.

For additional information on Andrew Harvey, or the Institute of Sacred Activism, visit www.andrewharvey.net.

Writer Donna Strong is a devotee of the divine in everyday life. For information on events, see www.donnastrong.com.


 

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