Spirituality cannot exist in a vacuum,
ignoring social conditions or the plight of humanity;
and activism cannot hope to transform the social order in the absence of
mature spiritual development. Both must grow beyond any form of privileged exclusivity…
The emergence of a spiritually engaged conscious activism
is one of the critical assignments of our time.
James O’Dea, The Conscious Activist
That a tidal wave of consciousness is breaking on every shore of human activity is not likely newsworthy to most readers of this journal. Even as our corporate news outlets report, almost exclusively, on the disturbing symptoms of the immature mindset we are outgrowing, there is a significant ripening of personal, social, and planetary shifts underway. Increasing numbers of men and women across the planet are ardently asking how may I best serve?
“Affairs are now soul size,” declared Christopher Fry in his wakeup call, A Sleep of Prisoners. Though written in 1951, the poem’s message appears to be fully catching up with us now. The soul of the world is now crying out for attention with the message that there is no self-liberation without the whole self. (The full text of the poem can be found in our final Endpoint section.}
“Sacred Activism” is one term currently being applied to a soul-sized response to our current affairs—to the midwifing of expansive levels of integrity, justice, and compassion being birthed from the chaos of the present moment. Manifestations of the fertile union of spirituality and activism appear in many different forms, from marching in the streets to the more cloistered energetics of “subtle activism.” The spectrum is quite broad and includes not only addressing worldwide issues such as climate change, but also close to home involvements in supporting ecologically just and socially compassionate neighborhood relations. Yet as James O’Dea notes above, the critical soul assignment of our times calls us toward an inclusivity of being and doing on a grand scale now, wherein love and action become inseparable in everything we do, however far-reaching or close to home our focus is. Sacred activism is both a spiritual practice, and a putting into practice, our spirituality.
This issue of Turning point is offered as a first installment of a series of future releases that will continue to explore the broad field of sacred activism. It is a topic that is central to CEN’s mission and one that embraces more perspectives than any single issue could do justice to. Our current issue authors begin this exploration with offering personal accounts of the circumstances and calls that drew them toward sacred activism, along with reflections on what they’re discovering to be useful navigational tools along the way.
Collectively, we approach sacred activism not as an arrival point, but as an ongoing evolutionary summoning to inform all actions we take to further the well-being of our planet and peoples with deeper levels of awareness, beauty, compassion, and wisdom. We invite you to reflect, alongside our current authors, on questions that encourage our awakening to the next level of serving the world soul:
- How does our activism change and mature as we age? What refinements might “conscious elders” bring to both their definition and practice of activism?
- How do we become agents of conscious evolution, in a manner that takes us beyond desperate attempts to fix specific parts of a broken system to a response that leads to systemic change in the social, political, environmental arenas?
- How does our activism become regenerative in the fullest sense of the word; so that the way we change an unjust law, for example, uplifts both the legal system and the relational integrity of all involved in the change process?
- What reveals activism, or anything for that matter, as sacred? What qualities of body, mind and heart do we each bring in response to the soul-sized awakening that is our privilege, now, to consider?
And in all things, may we stay close to our soul’s restorative knowing: how just one drop—fully gathered, fully present, and fully surrendered—can move the entire surface of the lake.
May we act in beauty, act from inspiration, act together . . .