An extract from John C Robinson's new book Mystical Activism

17/09/19 | By John C. Robinson
Articles, Book News, Extract

To call these "end times" is hardly hyperbolic. We are in trouble and the signs are everywhere: extreme political divisions; xenophobic violence; enormous wealth inequity; poverty and homelessness; sexism and ageism; arms buildups and unending wars; and, most frightening of all, escalating climate disruption. Climate change is already resulting in food and water shortages, species extinctions, unlivable lands, climate refugees, and catastrophic weather, flood and fire events. It is also obvious that we are the cause of these dark times. Each of these crises originates in the human psyche – yours and mine. Driven by left-brain beliefs, illusions, addictions and obsessions, we race headlong toward the collapse of civilization. Fortunately, the solution to these mounting crises also lies in the human psyche, arising from a most surprising source: the right-brain’s natural mystical consciousness. But our survival depends on whether we understand and resolve this paradox in time.

Visionaries of our time, including Thomas Berry, Joanna Macy, and Matthew Fox, describe our collective human crisis as the greatest modern threat of our species. But Fox, who has been one of my own mentors, also offers hope, explaining, "Cosmology teaches us that there is only one work going on in the universe, the 'Great Work' of creation itself - the work of creation unfolding." I believe this Great Work unfolds through us! When we wake up to who and where we really are, and express the divine aliveness of our true self, we join this work and become it. In other words, The Great Work arises from the depths of our own being and we are moved by divinity to participate in its sacred cosmogenesis. In this process, we shift from mystic to prophet. And now more than ever we need to be involved in this work.

The crisis before us, therefore, demands not only social, political and technological action but also a mystically-infused metamorphosis of personality, relationships, and our perception of the entire Earth community. We need not abandon science, activism, technology and interfaith dialogue, but I believe we must add mystical consciousness to our local and global efforts. Merging right-brain mystical awareness with left-brain science and logic, we integrate the mystic's consciousness into our urgent collective mobilization.

The Mystics Vision

Whenever humanity teeters on a terrifying cliff edge, mystics offer hope and it always begins with our own personal transformation. The essence of this vision can be summarized in five universal mystical realizations and their potential for a new world.

1.The cosmos is conscious, awake, aware, welcoming, and constantly unfolding as Creation itself, infusing everything with an infinitely loving omnipresence and reaffirming humanity’s original pantheism. The world is literally divine, arising from the very substance, nature and being of God. We live in an infinitely holy place filled with sacred beings, human and otherwise.

2.Human beings, driven by left-brain thinking, create and project an illusory world over our divine home, a mental world ugly with stereotypical beliefs, invented conflicts, endless problems, and nonstop fantasy, but we can, just as easily, erase these illusions in the sensory clarity of mystical consciousness.

3.How do we transform the world? It begins and ends with this realization: All consciousness is divine consciousness. Dissolving the ego’s perpetual fascination with its false self and imaginary world, we unmask our own divinity and awaken a life divine. Dwelling in divine consciousness transforms our experience of self, work and the world itself.

4.When we fully appreciate who and where we really are – divine beings in a divine world - we will cease harming our sacred planet and our imaginary problems will fade away as, when a movie ends, the lights come on, and we realize we’ve all been in a collective trance. This awakening creates a new kind of activism - mystical activism – based on literally witnessing the sacredness of life on Earth.

5.As our individual and collective transformation proceed, we won’t abandon the world of planes, trains, computers and corporations central to modern life; rather we will transform them with the love and mystical intelligence inherent in the divine mind.

I am not asking you to believe this revelation, but I am confident that you can experience it if you try. With my heart and soul, I beseech you to try. Humanity's renewal is less a matter of faith than of transformed vision. Just as the divine world is never finished, neither is mystical revelation - we will be divinely guided through the death and rebirth of civilization if we pay attention. As the mind clears, so too does the path.

What is Mysticism

Briefly, mysticism refers to the direct, first-hand experience of the divine. People have been having mystical experiences since the dawn of time, from major figures like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, and Muhammad, whose revelations evolved into world religions, to everyday folks like you and me touched by the power and profundity of these sacred moments.

In general, mystical Experiences come in three flavors: big mystical experiences, little mystical experiences and mystical consciousness. Big mystical experiences, known variously as enlightenment, satori, cosmic consciousness, peak experiences, and countless other names, transform an individual's personality and life with their power and profundity. Little mystical experiences arise in states of awe and reverence evoked by great natural beauty, powerful rituals, or profound moments of life. Finally, mystical consciousness arises in spiritual practices that silence thought, intensify sensory perception, and focus consciousness back on itself offering us the direct experience of a sacred, timeless and loving reality. This intentionally awakened state allows us to explore the same qualities and dimensions of big and little mystical experiences.

Most importantly, in all mystical experiences we discover the agency of Presence, a divine consciousness permeating the universe and blessing us with…

  • Transfiguring perceptions of reality as luminous, sacred, and infinitely precious
  • Reassurance of Creation's perfection, holiness and purpose
  • A personal experience of immense unconditional love
  • Feelings of gratitude and humility for the gift of life
  • Personal revelations of insight, meaning, or other sacred teachings.

What Is Activism?

Activism in general may be broadly defined as efforts to promote social, political, and environmental progress to remediate the suffering of humans and other life forms. These efforts include social activism, sacred activism, and the mystical activism of self-transformation. Because activism is not a "one size fits all" process, we must each find the path best suited to our own values, nature, personal wounding, and life experience.

In social activism, our deep beliefs and values inspire us to stand up to injustice and suffering through social, political and legal campaigns, organized marches and demonstrations, volunteering, letter writing and phone calls to newspapers and elected officials. In sacred activism, religious commitments, spiritual beliefs and mystical experiences deepen and drive our work in the service of humanity and life on Earth. There is yet a third form of activism - the mystical activism of self-transformation. In this awakened state, we discover a world that is literally sacred and beyond the chains of identity and beliefs. We enter the flow of sacred consciousness, caring for the divine world right where we are and generously sharing our gifts of true self and soul with others. We become prophets of a sacred reality.

Mystical Activism in the Age of Apocalypse

Here is a surprising and hopeful truth: Crises awaken mystical consciousness. Emergency consciousness evokes the same intense, wide awake, “Oh my God!” here-and-now awareness that returns us to the immediate and timeless present. We let go of beliefs, schedules, life goals, identities, retirement portfolios, and political views. We come home to our senses and, if we sense deeply, to the timeless Presence that reveals Heaven on Earth. In the moment of crisis, we can literally step into God’s consciousness and act from a divine flow of love and compassion. As we dissolve our separation, we become God in action. The primary enemies, of course, are falling back into the left-brain’s catastrophic thinking, turning against one another, or losing hope, which create Hell on Earth. We walk the razor’s edge.

The mystical activism of self-transformation is a here-and-now activism. We transform ourselves not to convince others to believe something or force institutions to change, but to alter our individual and collective experience of reality itself. It’s about being utterly transformed and, as divine humans, letting life happen spontaneously from within the experience of divine consciousness. We wake up, enter the divine realm, and become God in motion. This is a totally different kind of activism - unpremeditated, unpredictable, unprescribed, and unselfconscious. We become divine humans in a divine world, progressively transforming the World of Man into Heaven on Earth one awakened person, one transcendent moment, at a time.

John C. Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min. is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry (studying with Matthew Fox at the University of Creation Spirituality), an ordained interfaith minister (the Chaplaincy Institute), the author of nine books and numerous articles on the psychology, spirituality and mysticism of the New Aging, and a frequent speaker at Conscious Aging Conferences across the country. This article is based on the forthcoming book of the same name. You can learn more about John’s work at

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