If you’re going to turn up in this world and do real work, you’re going to need to be fundamentally strong and energized. In my experience this demands five interrelated sacred practices.
1. Cool Practices
The first, called cool practices, are those which enable you to connect directly with the great peace of divine being. These practices have to be the foundation of any sacred activist because without this foundation—fundamental serenity and peace in the face of all the ambiguities and contradictions of the world—you will not able to do the work. With this foundation you’ll be able to go through disaster and defeat with equanimity.
2. Hot Practices
The second are hot practices that truly awaken your sacred heart. The New Age has made the mistake of only believing in the first kind of practice, but to experience the divine passion, the passion of the mother, you need to keep the heart in a state of juicy and wild, and holy radiant compassion. Sufi practices of presence are wonderful. Saying the name of God intensely in the heart is an extraordinary and potent way of connecting with this passion. Opening yourself to the great sacred heart practices of Christianity can also be a huge help. Find a heart practice that will align you with divine compassion that you can use at any moment and in any circumstances, and you’ll find that your heart will remain open even when it’s threatened by paralysis and fatigue and all the madness that is now erupting everywhere.
If you fuse together the very best of the mystic—the passion for God—with the very best of the activist—the passion for justice—that fusion creates a new, holy, all-transforming power, which I call sacred activism. —Andrew Harvey
The third kind of practice that you’re going to need is prayer practice, because there will be times when you won’t be able to be calm, and you won’t be able to keep your heart open, because things are so stressful and so painful. But if you keep up a simple dynamic prayer practice, you can always align yourself with the beloved and the meaning and the mission of your life. I always suggest short prayers that you write yourself and summarize exactly what you know you need, or prayers that come from a tradition that you love.
4. Sacred Body Practice
The fourth kind of practice is physical practice, or sacred body practice. Because the birth that’s trying to take place is a birth of an embodied divine. Through sacred practices like yoga and dance, you can accustom your body to be irrigated by the bliss energies that give power, focus, and force.
5. Shadow Work
The fifth kind of practice is shadow work, because without intense, grueling, consistent, and unremitting shadow work, you will not be able to tear away the cosmic obstructions and the traumas of your past, and you will not be able to unite the very best of the mystic with the very best of the activist in yourself. Because what you have to be able to face is the shadow of both the mystic and the activist. The shadow of the mystic is an addiction to transcendence, and an addiction to mystical experience. A dropping of relationship. A dropping of commitment to the pain-ridden world. The shadow of the activist is self-righteousness, judgment, an addiction to burnout, and the messiah complex. But the good news is that if you fuse together the very best of the mystic, the passion for God, with the very best of the activist, the passion for justice, that fusion creates a new, holy, all-transforming power, which I call sacred activism.
© 2016 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies