Ten Things You Can Do Right Now to Become a Sacred Activist – Andrew Harvey
Let me offer you ten things you can do right now, or within the next twenty-four hours, to start to align yourself with the power and hope of Sacred Activism. The first six will invite you into deep, nourishing, connection with your spirit; the last four will help you express the compassion and joy this connection awakens in you in action.
- Write down now one thing that today has made you feel grateful to be alive. It could be something as simple as the taste of the bagel you had for breakfast. Set aside a small notebook and make the commitment to write down one thing every day that has lit you up with joy. At the end of a month sit down and read the list out loud, slowly, to yourself. You will discover that it will remind you how blessed you are already just by being alive in a world full of ordinary wonders. You will discover, too, it will awaken in you a passion for life and a hunger to protect and preserve it.
- Now write down, without thinking too much or editing yourself, just “off the top of your heart”, ten things you would say are “sacred” to you. Today my list is: friendship, all you who are reading this, justice, cats, the first roses of summer, all religions, wise elders everywhere who share their wisdom tenderly and tactfully, India, my brave and wild mother…What is your list? By writing it down you will start to be inspired by your deepest values, beliefs and sources of emboldening joy.
- Think of someone who has hurt you or betrayed you and make a commitment to work on forgiving them. Imagine them, now, in front of you, surrounded by light, happy and well, and pray for them to realize their life’s purpose. Just to do this once with humble sincerity will unveil in you your innate strength of compassion. You taste its truth and freedom and the desire that is born from it to see all beings happy.
- Read a short text from any of the world’s spiritual traditions that inspires you with the love-wisdom of those prophets and mystics that know God directly.
- When the text you have chosen starts to light up your spirit, pray a short prayer that aligns you with the “pure deep love” that is longing to use you as its instrument in the world. Here are some, from different traditions, that I use at odd moments throughout my day: – Lord, let me live to be truly useful. – Beloved, make me strong enough to do Your will. – Divine Mother, fill me with your passion of compassion so I can do your work tirelessly. If none of these inspire you, or reflect your beliefs, make up your own spontaneously and say it ten times with passion, in the core of your heart.
- Make now a real commitment to spiritual practice. If you do not yet have one, start now, simply. Just sit with your back straight and watch your thoughts for three minutes and allow your mind, however briefly, to fall silent. In that silence is your greatest treasure, one that will unfold its gold in you if you commit to twenty minutes of simple sitting in the morning and evening before you go to bed. Don’t believe me; try it.
- Strengthened by prayer, practice and inspiration, turn now to your life and the people in it. Everyone, especially in a time like ours, has friends who are in grief, or ill, or looking for a job, or are in real financial difficulty. Commit now to ringing one of them up, and ask him or her what you could do to make their burden easier. Do this soon and be happy that you can.
- Make a commitment to miss one meal in the coming twenty-four hours and send a check for the money you would have spent on it to a reputable organization dealing with world hunger. Never forget that almost two billion people live on less than a dollar a day.
- The world-wide financial crisis we are now in is plunging people everywhere into financial distress. There are families in your immediate vicinity who are suffering. Make a commitment to find out who they are and what they might need and ring six of your friends to make a commitment with you to begin supplying them what they require. In acting like this, you will be helping to activate the kind heart of your community. In my experience, more people than you may imagine are longing to be of help; take the first step now yourself, and be surprised and heartened.
- Make a commitment today, even if you are in financial difficulties, to tithe between five and ten percent of what you earn to a cause of your choice. I recommend choosing one particular cause that deeply moves you and sticking to your commitment, whatever happens; over time, tithing like this will give you a great and healing sense of being of use and the cause you are helping will become more and more precious and personal to you, and you will want, naturally and simply, to do more.
This condensed excerpt is from the book The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism by Andrew Harvey.
Andrew Harvey, founder and director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, has walked Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sufi mystical paths and engaged in deep study in Asia and Europe with accomplished spiritual teachers. He has taught at Oxford University, Cornell University, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and elsewhere. He is the author of more than 30 books, including The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism; Radical Passion: Sacred Love and Wisdom in Action; and Journey to Ladakh. He also co-edited Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. His most recent books are Return to Joy, coauthored with Carolyn Baker, and Diamond Cutters, an anthology of visionary poetry, co-edited with Jay Ramsey.