Marian @ Krysan


Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham


"Every age has its teachers who keep the eternal truths alive for all of us.  In the case of Andrew Harvey, the light he sheds is like a meteor burst across the inner sky." 

— Marianne Williamson




The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism: Andrew Harvey

reviewed by

 Marian Moore


I looked over Jordan ... 


Welcome to the world of ideas and to a book which births a new curriculum for the human race, one that might ensure our continued existence on this planet.

At the outset I should mention that neither the book (nor this blog) are for the faint-hearted.  All I can do here is hint at its richness and scope as I make a brave attempt to navigate through new territory. Despite this, Andrew Harvey's book is seen as a must read for those intent on partaking of a new world.

In his Introduction, Dr. Harvey explains what he means by 'sacred activism', and then what he means by 'a sacred activist', two crucial definitions without which we can go no further.  So in short, Sacred Activism is ... the inner joy Mother Teresa spoke of, 'the joy of compassionate service, married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing economic, social, and political institutions'.

Again in short, a Sacred Activist is ... 'someone who is starting to experience the inner joy and outer effectiveness of this force, who knows that the profound crisis the world is in is challenging everyone to act from our deepest compassion and wisdom', and who is committed to being, what Robert Kennedy called, "a tiny ripple of hope" and a "centre of energy and daring". 

We are reminded that Teilhard de Chardin, the great Catholic mystic, wrote,  "The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love.  And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."  

And, what did I see ...

Part 1 (the heart of the hope)

In Part 1 of his book, Andrew Harvey invites the reader to 'the heart of the hope' with ten suggestions for immediate action. 

The first suggestion is to write down one thing that has made you feel grateful to be alive today. For me, it has to be the welcoming smiles of my young audience of medical students who (as always) gladden my heart.  For you it may be the first Spring flower, or simply the taste of that bacon sandwich you had for breakfast.  Having made your choice, get a small notebook and make the commitment to continue writing down one thing every day that lights you up.  At the end of the month, sit down and read the list aloud, slowly, to yourself.  It will remind you how truly blessed you are just by being alive in a world of ordinary wonders.  You will discover, too, that it awakens in you a passion for life ands a hunger to preserve it.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is first on the list and rightly so. The second suggestion is to quickly write down ten things that are sacred to you.  Today, top of my list is friendship, especially with all of you reading this, then fairness and justice for everyone, next is the unconditional love of our little dog, followed by wise elders around the world who share their wisdom tenderly and tactfully, then my membership of the September University based in Alaska, and also the ancient story of the Jewel Net of Indra, and finally the music of Andre Rieu and Josef Locke. That was fairly easy. What's on your list? You will find just by writing it down you will start to be inspired by your deepest values, beliefs and sources of emboldening joy.

Andrew Harvey's list of transformative suggestions goes on to include, for example, forgiving someone who has hurt or betrayed you, reading texts or prayers that inspire you, making a commitment to a spiritual practice like mindfulness, attending to your friendships by ringing someone up who may be having problems, performing acts of kindness to strangers, never forgetting that two billion people live on less than a dollar a day.  And finally making a commitment to always keep some small change in your pocket so you can give something to one of the growing thousands of homeless on our streets.

The ten suggestions for immediate action are followed by the author's powerful personal memories, the real stories of people he had loved dearly and who had profoundly influenced the course of his life.  These sometimes tearful stories, rooted initially in the heartbreak of loss and then in an overwhelming joy, were followed by an account of the growing urgency of his vision of Sacred Activism.  Andrew Harvey's book, The Hope, is embedded in the truth that all human beings have Divine Consciousness as their birthright and possess a greater capacity for courage, generosity, and selfless service than they may believe. 

A band of angels ...

Part 2 (the vision of Sacred Activism)

So far, Andrew Harvey tells of his vision of Sacred Activism in a largely anecdotal way, through stories rooted in his own journey.  In Part 2, he tries to make clear the nature of the 'illumined hope' we need to infuse and inspire in us if we are to continue as Sacred Activists with joy and courage.

This is followed by a description of the "death" our world is undergoing and the "birth" this crisis is awakening.  Andrew shows how a perfect storm of dangers is menacing the human race and threatening large swathes of nature with utter destruction. This, at the same time, is compelling and invoking from us unprecedented levels of creativity and enlightened passion for transformation in every realm.

The 'way through' humankind's Dark Night of the Soul, described so eloquently in The Hope, is given in its most inspiring form by the poet Rumi in Love's Horse Will Carry You Home.  The two most significant lines are these,

  • Wherever you find a lover on a bed of pain
  • You find the Beloved right by his bedside.


Part 2 ends with a concrete and useful vision of the five kinds of service we will need to fuse into the core of our lives to become empowered Sacred Activists and thus humble and effective midwives of the "birth" starting to take place everywhere here on Planet Earth.

  1. Service to the Divine
  2. Service to yourself as an instrument of the Divine
  3. Service to the sentient beings in your life
  4. Service to your local community
  5. Service to the global community

Unlock the soul.  

Coming after me ... 

Part 3 (the Seven Laws)

After much deliberation, I have decided to end this weblog with The Prayer of Saint Francis for it is in The Law of Sacred Practice that we discover the very essence of Andrew Harvey's book, The Hope.


  • LORD, make me an instrument of your peace.
  • Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
  • Where there is injury, pardon;
  • Where there is doubt, faith;
  • Where there is despair, hope;
  • Where there is darkness, light;
  • Where there is sadness joy.
  • O DIVINE MASTER, grant that I should not so much seek
  • To be consoled as to console,
  • To be understood as to understand,
  • To be loved as to love:
  • For it is in giving that we receive,
  • It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
  • It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

"I remember ... reading the prayer over and over again, savouring every word, how astonished I was at its spiritual truth and beauty.  The more I contemplated the prayer and the holy passions behind it the deeper my joy became, until I, the sunlit afternoon, and the wind moving in the brilliant flowers seemed to become one vast sustained movement of adoration within the being of God." HARVEY, 2009


A Sacred Activist is someone who is starting to experience the inner joy and outer effectiveness of this holy force, who knows that the profound crisis the world is in is challenging everyone to act from our deepest compassion and wisdom, and who is committed to being, what Robert Kennedy called, "a tiny ripple of hope" and a "centre of energy and daring". 

  • Marian @ Krysan
  • 21 April 2013




HARVEY, ANDREW (2009), The Hope, A Guide to Sacred Activism, pub. London, Hay House UK Ltd



(Etta James - Swing low, sweet chariots)



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