Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Jul 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Into the Eye of the Storm

AE_HarveySacred Activism as a path of transformation
What breaks your heart?” Andrew Harvey believes that when we each answer this question we’ll be inspired to engage in compassionate and radical action to transform humanity. The India-born poet and translator is also director of The Institute for Sacred Activism and author of many books including “The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism” and “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” with Patrick Gaffney and Sogyal Rinpoche. His newest book, with Karuna Erickson, is “Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism.”

Harvey will be in Santa Cruz to share his vision of Sacred Activism as the birthing force of a new humanity on Feb. 24 and 25 at Inner Light Ministries. GT spoke with Andrew about possibilities for positive change.

GOOD TIMES: I’d like to hear your vision for transforming the United States, a country

permanently at war where economic and retributive violence is the status quo.

ANDREW HARVEY: Also, we’ve just been sold to the corporations by the Supreme Court, which has given corporations carte blanche to invest in American politics. We are in the best democracy that money can buy! It’s amazing to me that the American people aren’t on the streets because this is actually the prelude, potentially, to the rule of fascism.

I’m very alarmed, too, at the spiritual response to this. We’ve had a spirituality that’s sanctified greed and consumerism and has been not at all concerned with political and social transformation at the very moment that they are needed most.

How can we change structures of domination and control?

The corporations are certainly not going to go through a quick change of heart. People have to face that there is very little hope in the political system. The responsibility for major change now lies in us. The one hope for the world is in a global mass movement of love in action. I’m devoting everything I’m doing to mobilizing people into what I call networks of grace.

ae_thehopecoverExplain more about these activist networks.

Networks of grace are cells of between six to 12 people who are gathered around heartbreak or a cause. There will be networks dealing with environmental protest and transformation and the creation of different forms of energy. There will be networks working on poverty, famine and the transformation of our relationship to animals.

What I suggest to people who really wish to discover what their mission is in this chaos is that they get up at three o’clock in the morning, ground themselves in the divine in whatever way is natural to them and ask themselves, “What breaks my heart?” Rumi said that when you uncover your heartbreak you uncover a compassion that will never run dry.

In “The Hope” you write, “I am not a dogmatic pacifist ... In certain extreme situations, which I pray do not arise but could, I would be prepared to take up arms and use force.”

Everybody should, as far as possible, pursue the path of nonviolence. I also believe that given the situation as it is—the omnipotence of the corporations, the strength of the military-industrial complex—we might, and I say might, be brought to a situation so extreme that even those who have committed ourselves to nonviolence would consider a disciplined, focused and economic use of force. When I interviewed His Holiness The Dalai Lama he said something which permanently changed my mind, “If it comes to the necessity of using force, only those people can be trusted to use force … who have been profoundly, over a long time and with a deep spiritual intensity, trained in nonviolence.” Obviously the use of violence must be the absolutely last resort.

You recommend uniting spiritual practice and social change into sacred activism. Many of us are interested in balancing what you call, “the sacred marriage between serenity and urgency.” How best to train ourselves as sacred activists?

I suggest that people combine four kinds of practice: cool practices like vippassana meditation, breathing, calm mantra repetition, and visualizations; heart practices which enable you to keep your heart open and compassionate even when the world is burning; prayer practice and lastly sacred body practice. My book “Heart Yoga” brings together yoga in its most ancient, mystical form with practices from all of the mystical traditions.

What the world is going through is an equivalent of a dark night of the soul; it’s a dark night of a species. We are heading into the eye of a perfect storm of crises that threaten the extinction of the human race and the desecration of a great deal of nature. We have ignored all the warnings and indulged in a vast coca-coma. I also believe that this is not the end for the human race. This is a wake up call for the human race to get real about putting love, compassion and wisdom into urgent, focused, radical action. If millions of us take up this challenge then what this great death that is materializing all over the plant will turn out to be will be the birthing canal for a new humanity.


What Breaks Your Heart Open? will be a discussion with Andrew Harvey on Friday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. at Inner Light Ministries, 5630 Soquel Drive with Rev. Deborah Johnson and spoken word artist, Lex. Tickets are $15 at Gateways Books and innerlightministries.com. Join Harvey with Eric Schneider on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. for Rumi’s Embrace—Hope for Humanity. A limited number of tickets are available for $40. Call 426-5755 to leave a reservation message. Check out andrewharvey.net for more information. John Malkin is a local writer, musician and host of The Great Leap Forward, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on Free Radio Santa Cruz, 101.1FM and freakradio.org.
Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Rebecca Kemble, March 19, 2011
Interesting that this was published on the first day of the occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol and massive demonstrations that are still going on today.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.