Those who are committed to taking on the systemic problems at the root of our predicament are subject to the same life stresses as everyone else. And this is a time when “regular” people are succumbing to a larger societal dysfunction. Luckily, we have the example of many activists who have led rich spiritual lives
But action doesn’t depend on what might happen. The authors of Savage Grace want us to do the right thing, regardless of what occurs. In their previous book, Return to Joy, the authors advise seeking not “happiness,” a Jeffersonian goal, but a state closer to such virtues as equanimity and compassion, plus resistance to evil and devotion to service.
Introduction To Savage Grace: Living Resiliently In The Dark Night Of The Globe, By Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker
Let’s get real and face together the likelihood that the human race now has two possibilities before it: An extreme crisis that leads to the survival of a bedraggled and traumatized remnant in a vastly degraded world, or the total annihilation of that world. We can never rule out, of course, the possibility of a sudden evolutionary leap in humanity or even miraculous divine intervention, but we would be narcissistic fools to count on them. We have come to the current situation because we have drunk a deadly cocktail of illusion. Our only hope now, rugged though it is, is in daring to live beyond the need for any kind of magical thinking—beyond, in fact certainty of any kind. We must take complete responsibility for the horror we have engendered and for the response we are now called to make to that horror, whatever happens. Such a response demands of us something far deeper than what conventional religions and visions of activism call for–nothing less than living and acting from the Self, both without illusion and totally committed to compassion and justice even, if necessary, in hopeless situations.
King Donald is the ultimate finished product of industrial civilization’s paradigm and the consummate mirror of our personal and collective shadows. It may be that before he completes his first term, he will be impeached or removed by some other means. Catabolic collapse and the climate catastrophe that he is presently exacerbating will continue unabated. Other madmen or madwomen will succeed him. But more importantly, he isn’t just one politician who isn’t any worse than another.
Contrary to our cherished assumption of vanquishing all forms of injustice, we must ask ourselves if we are willing to put love into action even if we don’t physically survive. The extremity of the crisis does not limit Sacred Activism, but rather expands it because we make ourselves available to 1) Bearing witness to the likely irreversible horrors of climate chaos and 2) Commitment to compassionate service to all living beings who suffer with us. This requires unwavering engagement with serving the earth community and practicing good manners toward all species in order to make their demise, and ours, easier. Taking one’s own life or succumbing to escapist self-medication is easy. Commitment to a life of service and fortifying one’s own connection with the sacred, thus deepening one’s sense of meaning and purpose, constitute a far more daunting and painful path.