Sunday, August 3, 2008

Andrew Harvey

When I first read an interview by Andrew Harvey in The Sun Magazine, I was very taken by what he had to say. I went on Youtube and found a lecture that he had done. He seemed very calm, very St. Francis-ish, and I again loved what he said. So as you know, my minister, our education director, and I drove to Fairfax, Virginia on Friday to go to a workshop he was doing at Unity of Fairfax. We are interested in having him come to our church in the fall as part of a spiritual gifts study we are doing.

Friday night we got a glimpse of the true Andrew Harvey. He is definitely NOT St. Francis-ish. He is bold, scolding, challenging, dramatic, funny, and above all passionate about making changes in the world. He is a student of Rumi, and read many poems by him that night. I liked his beautiful British accent as he read the poems, but felt he might be a bit much for us, not exactly a fit. My minister urged me to withhold judgment until after Saturday.

Without going into much detail, by mid-morning on Saturday, my head and heart was sounding a joyful, ecstatic YES to Andrew Harvey. And when he comes, I want to urge all of you to put on your most comfortable clothes, bring an open mind and heart, and prepare to become a passionate person.

Here are a few lines from a poem he read for us the first night:

Look for Passion, Passion, Passion, Passion

Passion burns down every branch of exhaustion;
Passion's the Supreme Elixir and renews all things;
No one can grow exhausted when passion is born!
Don't sigh heavily, your brow bleak with boredom;
Look for passion, passion, passion, passion!

That first line, "Passion burns down every branch of exhaustion," reminds me of the nights I come home tired from work, and plug in my computer and start to write. There is no sense of time or tiredness. I find that I can always find the energy to do the things that I feel excited about.

Harvey urges us to think about what we are reluctant to look at in the news, the articles that we rapidly flip by in the paper. Here is the cause, he says, that breaks your heart, and the cause that you can feel the most passionate about addressing. His are cats and the environment, a good spread of the large and small things that we feel strongly about.

He then urges us to perform certain sacred practices (I'll save something for him to tell you about!), and to pray the "dangerous prayer" where we ask for a direction or an opportunity to come to us so that we can act on our passion. Be prepared, he says, because it may not be an easy task.

I get on fire alot about causes and people--passionate, you might say--but he's on to something that can make us more effective and more alive. I'm going for it.

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