This is a reminder that one’s spiritual path is not undertaken merely for personal fulfilment or ecstasy or the accumulation of amazing powers, but rather, for service: Service to the Divine, to one’s own self, service to family and friends, service to the community, service to the world and all living beings.
- We serve the Divine through our spiritual practices such as meditation, ritual, the study of sacred texts and artistic expression, which may enrich the lives of others but which, above all, honour the sacred. We are reminded that at the end of all of his church compositions, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the initials, ‘S.D.G.’ which stood for ‘Soli Deo gloria’, or ‘Glory to God alone’.
- Service to the Divine leads naturally to service to the Sacred Self. This does not mean that we become ‘self-serving’, but rather, recognising the difference between the Sacred Self within us and the culturally conditioned ego self, we honour both our humanity and our divinity by caring for ourselves physically and emotionally. We honour the body by practising a healthy lifestyle that includes rest, healthy eating and the cultivation of embodiment as noted in our references to the work of Philip Shepherd. We strongly encourage our readers to download and study Philip’s Embodiment Manifesto and to become familiar with his work. One of the most important ways of serving oneself is to become fully present in the body because, if we are not, it is nearly impossible to serve ourselves or anyone else.
- When we serve the Divine and ourselves, we naturally want to serve our family and friends. Often we are asked, “what should we do?” by individuals who have awakened to the global crisis and find it difficult to discuss their thoughts and feelings about it with family and friends. Our answer: Love them – love them with all your heart and soul, even if they never share your perspective on our planetary predicament. Serve the animal members of your family and allow them to love you and teach you their wisdom.
- Be aware of what is happening in your community and find ways to serve it through volunteering in a hospice facility, a nursing home, a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, an animal shelter, or some other entity that serves the community. Humans are starving for a sense of belonging and community and engaging with others in service for your town or village is a beautiful way to experience the first major concept of this book: Reconnection.
- One can serve the world in numerous ways. One of the most important is simply to be informed of current and world events. We are particularly shocked when spiritual seekers tell us that they do not read the newspapers or access news on the internet, radio, or television. To stay informed is an important service to the world. For this reason, in 2007, Carolyn created a subscription-based Daily News Digest that offers news on issues of economics, the environment, geopolitical issues, civil liberties and human rights and culture. At the end of each Digest is an Inspiration section that contains a number of news stories highlighting ways in which various individuals and communities are addressing the global crisis. If you are able, contribute with your money and time to organisations that are addressing the global crisis and creating a better world.
Blogger and financial writer Charles Hugh Smith, in a 2017 post entitled Millennials Are Homesteading, Buying Affordable Homes, Building Community, notes: “While it’s certainly good sport to mock ‘snowflakes’, not all millennials are snowflakes. Many are homesteading, buying affordable homes and building communities that get stuff done.”
Radical Regeneration by Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker published by Inner Traditions International and Bear & Company, ©2022. All rights reserved. http://www.Innertraditions.com Reprinted with permission of publisher.
An Inspiring Manual for Navigating Humanity’s Collective Dark Night and Enacting Personal and Planetary Transformation.
Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker explore potential antidotes, drawn from mystical tradition and sacred activism, to help us find inspiration and take action in the face of the daunting challenges to our world. Offering a deep discussion of our global dark night in terms of the Kali Yuga, the authors examine the dangers of a growing constellation of intractable crises – authoritarianism both in America and abroad, climate change, economic inequality, social upheaval and spiritual malaise. They then explore the antidotes to these crises: Sacred activism – specifically, creative, wise, sacredly inspired action – and a profound understanding of our evolutionary ordeal and its potentialities. Examining the power of joy to help enact personal and planetary transformation, they explain how joy, or ananda, is a force all mystical traditions recognise as the essence of the divine. They reveal how to uncover and sustain joy in ourselves and how to use joy as fuel for continuing sacred activism in dangerous times. Drawing on the visionary teachings of mystics such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo, the authors show how the global dark night is part of an evolutionary mutation process and how its very intensity makes it the potential seedbed of a new embodied, divine humanity. They offer practical maps of the crises themselves, of the shadows that this global dark night is casting and of the four-part path to transfiguration drawn from mystical traditions. Sharing a vision of a new and focused global moment of love in action, the authors reveal that apocalypse is not inevitable – if enough people awaken to the extraordinary possibilities of sacred activism.
Andrew Harvey is an internationally renowned religious scholar, writer, spiritual teacher and the author of more than 30 books. The founder and director of the Institute for Sacred Activism, he lives in Chicago, Illinois. Carolyn Baker, Ph.D., is a former psychotherapist and professor of psychology and history. The author of several books, she offers life and leadership coaching as well as spiritual counselling and works closely with the Institute for Sacred Activism. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.