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The Hope

Spirituality & Health Magazine

A Guide to Sacred Activism
By Andrew Harvey,
Foreword by Carolyn Myss
Hay House, 2009, $16.95

According to Andrew Harvey, we are living in an age in which “Everything is now at stake, and everything is possible.” We are compelled to take what he believes to be “a quantum evolutionary leap,” resulting in a transformation of social structures and relations that will bring forth justice, honor, and respect for creation; harmony with nature; and a sacred way of life, resulting in peace. “This is the Hope I have dedicated my life and work to,” said Harvey. It is this hope that allows him to see — in our present age and the peril in which we find ourselves — the opportunity for a great birth.

In spite of the darkness that surrounds us and our own individual “dark night of the soul,” which Harvey says is inevitable for anyone truly on the spiritual path, the author sees being alive at this time in history as a great blessing. We now have access to the wisdom and practices of centuries of spiritual masters at our fingertips, and a vast movement for change is underway. Between one and two million organizations worldwide now are actively working toward ecological sustainability and social justice.

Harvey wastes no time in moving readers to action; his very first chapter offers a chance to immediately do 10 things to help one align with the power and hope of sacred activism (see Best Practice, page 80). And he is not afraid to state the effects of failure to act. After telling the story of an Indian beggar-woman who shared her food with an emaciated dog, Harvey said, “If we all knew what the penniless old beggar knew, the hundreds of children who have died of starvation while you were reading this chapter would still be alive.”

The author is a passionate advocate for the union of activism and spirituality. Spiritual practice keeps the activist, with a passion for justice, from despair and burn-out. Activism keeps the mystic, with a passion for God, from fleeing the all-too-uncomfortable world. Bringing the fire of activism and the fire of mysticism together in the practice of sacred activism results in a “third fire,” more powerful than either of the two alone — the fire of wisdom and love in action.

Andrew Harvey is an internationally acclaimed mystical scholar, spiritual teacher, poet, novelist, and translator. He has taught at Oxford University, Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith colleges, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and other schools of higher learning. He is the author of over 25 books and the founder and director of the Institute for Sacred Activism.

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