Empty Hands is the inspiring memoir of Zulu nurse and healthcare activist Sister Abegail Ntleko. Growing up poor in a rural village with a father who didn’t believe in educating girls, against seemingly insurmountable odds Sister Abegail earned her nursing degree and began work as a community nurse and educator, dedicating her life to those in need. “Her story tells us,” says Desmond Tutu, who wrote the foreword to the book, “what a single person can accomplish when heart and mind work together in the service of others.”
Overcoming poverty and racism within the apartheid South African system, she adopted her first child at a time when it was unheard of to do so. And then she did it again and again. In forty years she has taken in and cared for hundreds of children who had nothing, saving babies—many of them orphans whose parents died of AIDS—from hospitals that were ready to give up on them and let them die.
Empty Hands describes the harshness of Ntleko’s circumstances with wit and wisdom in direct, beautifully understated prose and will appeal not only to activists and aid workers, but to anyone who believes in the power of the human spirit to rise above suffering and find peace, joy, and purpose.
“Ntleko’s story, which she tells in simple language, is inspiring and moving. She neither dwells in nor dramatizes the hardships she has faced, preferring instead to focus on ‘fill[ing] her hands with love and then spend[ing] all that love until [her] hands are empty again.’ A brief, genuine, heartfelt memoir of an awe-inspiring life.”—Kirkus Reviews
Time to Stand Up retells the story of the historical Buddha, one of the greatest sacred activists of all time, as a practical human being whose teachings of freedom from suffering are more relevant than ever in this time of global peril. Evolving onward from the patriarchal template of spiritual warriors and their quests, former nun Thanissara explores awakening from within a feminine view where the archetypes of lover and nurturer are placed as central and essential for a sustainable world.
Vital is an investigation into the pinnacle of Buddhist practice, the realization of the “liberated heart.” Thanissara questions the narrative of “transcendence” and invites us into the lived reality of our deepest heart as it guides our journey of healing, reclamation, and redemption. As the book unfolds, the author examines traditional Buddhism–often fraught with gender discrimination–and asks the important question, “Can Buddhist schools, overly attached to hierarchal power structures, and often divorced from the radical and free inquiry exemplified by the Buddha, truly offer the ground for maturing awakening without undertaking a fundamental review of their own shadows?”
Chapter by chapter, the book relates Siddhartha Gautama’s awakening to the sea-change occurring on Earth in present time as we as a civilization become aware of the ethical bankruptcy of the nuclear and fossil fuel industry and the psychopathic corporate and military abuse of power currently terrorizing our planet. Thanissara relates the Buddha’s story to real-life individuals who are living through these transitional times, such as Iraq war veterans, First Nation People, and the Dalai Lama. Time to Stand Up gives examples of the Buddha’s activism, such as challenging a racist caste system and violence against animals, stopping war, transforming a serial killer, and laying down a nonhierarchical structure of community governance, actions that would seem radical even today.
Thanissara explores ways forward, deepening our understanding of meditation and mindfulness, probing its use to pacify ourselves as the cogs in the corporate world by helping people be more functional in a dysfunctional systems–and shows how these core Buddhist practices can inspire a wake-up call for action for our sick and suffering planet Earth.
About the Sacred Activism series When the joy of compassionate service is combined with the pragmatic drive to transform all existing economic, social, and political institutions, a radical divine force is born: Sacred Activism. The Sacred Activism Series, published by North Atlantic Books, presents leading voices that embody the tenets of Sacred Activism–compassion, service, and sacred consciousness–while addressing the crucial issues of our time and inspiring radical action.
Why have we failed to create the happy, peaceful world that we all want? And what can we do about it? For more than three decades, Jalaja Bonheim has explored these questions in her work with women leaders, activists, and spiritual seekers from around the world.
In The Sacred Ego, she tackles one of the core myths of popular spiritual culture—the myth of the ego, supposedly responsible for our greed, selfishness, and violence. In contrast, Bonheim approaches the ego as a sacred function worthy of honor and gratitude. With riveting stories from her work, she guides us into the depths of our collective psyche to pinpoint the real sources of our problems and illuminate our path to wholeness. Firmly grounded in a lifetime of practical experience, The Sacred Ego is a visionary, uplifting book that explains why our world is in crisis and how we can support the unprecedented transformational process that’s underway.
Given the daunting, dire predicament in which we find ourselves on this planet, what is described by social critic James Howard Kunstler as a “Long Emergency” may in fact become a “Last Emergency” for humanity. Whether we encounter a “long” or a “last” emergency, Carolyn Baker seeks to offer inspiration and guidance for inhabiting our remaining days with passion, vitality, empathy, intimate contact with our emotions, kindness in our relationships with all species, gratitude, open-hearted receptivity, exquisite creations of beauty, and utilizing every occasion, even our demise, as an opportunity to invoke and “inflict” joy in our world. Love in the Age of Ecological Apolcalypse addresses an array of relationships in the Last Emergency and how one’s relationship with oneself may enrich or impede interactions with all other beings.
Drawing upon her deep experience as a life coach, Baker writes of the specific need to understand our key relationships in a society in collapse, and how to navigate through differing levels of acceptance of collapse, trauma, and grief. Key relationships include those with our partners, children, friends, neighbors, as well as relationships with our work, our bodies, our natural resources, food and eating, animals, future generations, Eros, and indeed, the powers of the universe.
Baker’s writing is engaging, inspiring, and often beautiful in its depth and candor. She introduces a variety of spiritual practices facilitate our developing a relationship with the deeper Self. With these practices and giving and receiving support from others who are walking a similar path, we begin to live more frequently from the deeper Self, or at least are able to access it more quickly when we find ourselves becoming embroiled in the ego.
Table Of Contents • Introduction • Chapter 1: Living, Loving, and Preparing With A Reluctant Partner • Chapter 2: Children And Collapse • Chapter 3: Friends, Neighbors, and The Community • Chapter 4: Work and The Creative Soul • Chapter 5: Our Relationship With Resources • Chapter 6: Loving The Body As The World Falls Apart • Chapter 7: Our Relationship With Food: Mindful Eating As A Spiritual Practice • Chapter 8: Loving The Time Of Your Life • Chapter 9: What An Animal You Are! • Chapter 10: Darkness Matters • Chapter 11: Ensconsed In Eros, Bathed In Beauty • Chapter 12: Our Relationship With The Powers of The Universe • Chapter 13: Near-Term Extinction And Waking Up To Death • Chapter 14: Empire, I Wish I Knew How To Quit You • Chapter 15: Grief And Love In A Culture Of Congestive Heart Failure • Chapter 16: Our Relationship With Future Generations
Exploring what the author calls the “shaman-poets”—Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson—this book demonstrates how far ahead of their times these writers were in forecasting developments of our current time. It was Whitman who first wrote of “Spiritual Democracy” as a vision of transformation and global equality. Steven Herrmann delves deep into the visionary expressions of this idea of Spiritual Democracy—”the realization of the oneness of humanity with the universe and all its forces”—in these early American writers, showing the influence the groundbreaking work of the geologist and thinker Alexander Von Humboldt had on Whitman and others. Writing that every member of the global community regardless of color, gender, or sexual orientation can realize these freedoms, the author explores how one can tap into the vitalizing source of equalizing, vocational energy to bring a sense of purpose and peace. Although the book shines as a work of literary criticism, the author’s insights as a Jungian psychotherapist take the reader ever deeper into the creative impulses of Whitman, Melville, Dickinson, and other poets in their crafting of the seminal notion of Spiritual Democracy. In addition, Herrmann offers practical methodologies for personal and global transformation in the section, “Ten Ways to Practice Spiritual Democracy.”
Table of Contents Visions of Spiritual Democracy – Introduction 1. Cosmos 2. Spiritual Democracy as a Science of God 3. From Humboldt to Jung 4. Jung on Spiritual Democracy 5. Healing the National Complex 6. Whitman’s “New Bible”: The Foundation of a Religious Vision 7. Walt Whitman’s Global Vision 8. The Bi-Erotic as Transcendent Sexuality 9. Shamanism and Spiritual Democracy: A Post-Humboldtian Notion of the Cosmos 10. Whitman as a Preserver of the Psychic Integrity of the Community 11. Moby Dick: The Evolution of a New Myth for our Times 12. Herman Melville: The Quest for Yillah 13. Towards a Hypothesis of the Bi-erotic 14. Moby Dick and the Trickster 15. The Marriage of Sames: “A Bosom Friend” 16. Moby Dick: The Characters Behind the Names 17. The Fall of the Dictatorships as Portrayed in Moby Dick 18. Metamorphosis of the Gods 19. The Re-emergence of the Feminine 20. Afterward: A Bi-Erotic Model for The Way Forward a) Ten Ways to Practice Spiritual Democracy
Three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Scilla Elworthy, a realist with 40 years’ experience at the sharp end of politics and conflict, presents a bold but realistic vision for the future in Pioneering the Possible. Human beings worldwide are anxious, afraid for their children’s futures, dissatisfied by their lives, but unsure what to do. Our global ecosystems and supply chains are under threat and our leaders appear to have failed us. Pioneering the Possible addresses these anxieties head-on by envisioning a future that could work for everyone, rich and poor, demonstrating with real-life examples how that future is already emerging. Pioneering the Possible tackles the deeply embedded 20th-century values that get in the way of addressing global problems, and shows how these destructive values can be—and are being—reversed.
We know the world is in crisis: we are spoiling our planet at such a rate that soon it may be unable to sustain human life. This crisis is in fact a vast opportunity, because a secure and satisfying future for all of humanity is perfectly possible if we make the right choices. But building such a future will require the leap in consciousness that Einstein indicated when he said, “No problem can be solved from the consciousness that created it.” Pioneering the Possible investigates what this new consciousness is and takes us to meet the leaders who have learned to apply it. With profiles of individuals who exemplify transformative leadership such as Dr. Desmond Tutu and Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr. Elworthy demonstrates how anyone can develop the magnificent inner power to build their own personal contribution to the future and become a 21st-century pioneer of what’s possible. The book then contrasts the value systems that underpin our current decisions with the kind of values that would enable us to make better choices—those that could get us out of the mess we’re in. To envision the kind of future that is possible—a lift-off into life as it could be—Elworthy calls on some experienced specialists to look through their telescopes into the future, then brings in the pragmatists who know what to do in their fields, because they’ve done it, tested it, and made it work. Pioneering the Possible ultimately helps you find your unique way to be useful; as Dr. Elworthy says, “to discover your mission and put it into action—instead of worrying on the sidelines—is to find peace of mind and a heart full of love.”
How is it that pets are able to travel thousands of miles through unknown territory to reunite with their beloved humans? How can dogs detect cancer with up to a 98 percent accuracy rate, and foresee epileptic or diabetic seizures in their owners? How do animals seem to know an earthquake is coming long before the world’s best seismologists? In Animal Wisdom, veterinarian and animal advocate Linda Bender offers a wealth of amazing stories and research-based evidence indicating animals have deeply perceptive—even extrasensory—abilities. She shows us that animals are extremely perceptive, intuitive, and psychic and provides step-by-step practices for honing your natural ability to communicate with them, so that you too can learn to understand their urgent messages about peace, happiness, and the future of the planet. Animal Wisdom is for animal lovers and anyone who seeks a deeper, more spiritual connection to these beautiful creatures.
From the table of contents:
Foreword by Linda Tucker
PART I: The Fabric of Creation Chapter 1: The Ecology of Paradise Chapter 2: How Can We Know What Animals Are Thinking and Feeling?
PART II: What Animals Want Us to Know Chapter 3: You Are Loved Chapter 4: You Are Already Living in Paradise Chapter 5: You Don’t Have to Figure Everything Out Chapter 6: Dying Isn’t Bad
PART III: The Connection of All Creatures Chapter 7: How to Connect Telepathically with Animals: A Practical Guide Chapter 8: The Animals Speak for Themselves Chapter 9: Heeding the Cries of the Nonhuman World
In his work as a spiritual teacher interacting with seekers and activists from around the world, Chris Saade has witnessed a remarkable recent phenomenon: an emerging wave of spirituality that is socially and globally engaged in the pursuit of justice, earth care, and solidarity. Saade calls this movement “second wave spirituality,” and in this book he maps out the cutting-edge ideas that are fueling this burgeoning wave of engaged spirituality. He challenges us to rise to our spiritual task and join the millions of all faiths who are awakening to the suffering and social struggles of all living beings.
According to Saade, second wave spirituality holds a vision of the intrinsic values of love: justice, global peace, solidarity, inclusion, democratic freedom, compassion, and reconciliation. Saade explores current trends of thought that are shaking the foundations of our belief systems and propelling us toward an evolutionary leap. We are in the midst of a spiritual renaissance, Saade asserts, a universal reawakening that will steer us away from the abysmal global dangers we are facing.
The book also includes a collection of quotations as a resource for those working for peace, justice, and inclusion. By dividing the selections into theme-specific chapters, Saade helps us easily access the wisdom and companionship of other souls committed to our diversity, our oneness, and our pursuit of justice.
Contents Foreword by Andrew Harvey Introduction 1. The Emergence of Second Wave Spirituality 2. A Brief Historical Overview of “First Wave” Spirituality 3. Crossing the Threshold 4. The Flowering of the Feminine in Theological and Spiritual Thinking 5. The Great Convergence of Spiritual Development and Action for Peace and Justice 6. The Six Crucial Ideas that Converged and Generated the Global Awakening of Second Wave Spirituality 7. Fourteen Additional Characteristics Essential to Second Wave Spirituality 8. A Response to the Escalating Global Crisis: Love in Action 9. Implications of Second Wave Spirituality for the Individual 10. Practical Suggestions for Spiritual Activism 11. Summary and A Blessing for the Reader 12. Engaged Spirituality and Sacred Activism: Writings and Quotes
Our earliest mythologies tell us we all start as a little bit of dirt. These stories carry a profound message: each of us is born with a deep and abiding connection to the earth, one that many of us have lost touch with. The Silent Spring for today’s environmental activists, this book offers an invitation to reestablish our relationship with nature to repair our damaged environment.
Chapter 1 examines the threats to the planet’s health through the lens of the human energy system known as the chakras, describing how the broken first chakra relates to our disconnection from our biosphere.
Chapter 2 shows how our current environmental crises–global warming, climate change, dwindling water resources, natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes–represent severe manifestations of our disconnection from the earth.
Chapter 3 describes how the preponderance of oil in our culture–especially agribusiness–compounds this disconnection, from our dependence on other countries for our energy, to current issues of oil depletion, peak oil, and fracking, to the dumbing down of our agricultural polyculture.
Chapter 4 explains how the most basic building blocks of our nourishment–seeds–are being compromised with a loss of biodiversity and rise of GMOs, and how that adversely affects the farmers whose sacred connection to the land has in many cases been severed.
Chapter 5 describes the ways in which we as individuals can begin to wake up to climate activism as a spiritual practice. This chapter includes specific activities that you can use to implement change and heal your own connection to the earth. By learning and practicing ritual and understanding the earth’s rhythms and seasonal rites of passage, each of us can find unique ways to heal our own connections and help others heal theirs.
Chapter 6 brings to life Goethe’s wisdom: “Knowing isn’t enough; neither is being willing. We must do,” by providing strategies and resources for exploring how each of us can find our own Earth Calling, then anchoring that calling with the only force that ignites change: Action.
A collection of probing essays and weekly meditations, this book addresses how to prepare emotionally and spiritually for the impending collapse of industrial civilization. Author Carolyn Baker offers wisdom, inspiration, and a sense of spiritual purpose for anyone who is concerned about the daunting future humankind has created.
The author’s introduction to Collapsing Consciously articulates our current predicament of economic collapse, environmental degradation, and global conflict and expresses the confusion, anxiety, grief, anger, and despair we all experience when we take a hard look at the present-day global crisis and the likely future of the planet. But rather than showing us ways to prevent the collapse, Baker argues that the demise of our consumerist, corporate culture is inevitable, and that it is crucial to prepare emotionally and spiritually for the certain changes to come.
Part 1 is a collection of seventeen essays which argue that while the collapse of industrial society cannot be prevented, its meaning extends far beyond tragedy and loss. These essays ask the reader to delve inward and discover the limitless treasures of the soul, as well as the gratification and exhilaration to be discovered in joining with community in preparing for the future.
In part 2, Baker offers fifty-two weekly meditations comprised of spiritual wisdom, inspiration, paradox, comfort, humor, irony, and a persistent challenge to create and savor beauty in the world, regardless of how bleak the future may appear.
Collapsing Consciously is a refreshing take on the perilous present and the grim prospects for our future. Instead of quoting discouraging statistics about our predicament, Baker offers a deeper perspective that makes sense of a world that most of the time appears psychotic or even surreal. Through inspiration and perennial wisdom she has created a manual for making meaning and generating joy, especially in situations that feel hopelessly devoid of both.
An ebook containing additional meditations is also available: Collapsing Consciously Meditations: Further Reflections for Turbulent Times, ISBN 978-1-58394-758-6.
In a time of social and ecological crisis, what can we as individuals do to make the world a better place? This inspirational and thought-provoking book serves as an empowering antidote to the cynicism, frustration, paralysis, and overwhelm so many of us are feeling, replacing it with a grounding reminder of what’s true: we are all connected, and our small, personal choices bear unsuspected transformational power. By fully embracing and practicing this principle of interconnectedness—called interbeing—we become more effective agents of change and have a stronger positive influence on the world.
Throughout the book, Eisenstein relates real-life stories showing how small, individual acts of courage, kindness, and self-trust can change our culture’s guiding narrative of separation, which, he shows, has generated the present planetary crisis. He brings to conscious awareness a deep wisdom we all innately know: until we get our selves in order, any action we take—no matter how good our intentions—will ultimately be wrongheaded and wronghearted. Above all, Eisenstein invites us to embrace a radically different understanding of cause and effect, sounding a clarion call to surrender our old worldview of separation, so that we can finally create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
With chapters covering separation, interbeing, despair, hope, pain, pleasure, consciousness, and many more, the book invites us to let the old Story of Separation fall away so that we can stand firmly in a Story of Interbeing.
Named one of the Fifty Best Spiritual Books of 2013 by SPIRITUALITY & PRACTICE in the JUSTICE category!
The Occupy Wall Street movement and protest movements around the world are evidence of a new era of intergenerational activists seeking deeper spiritual meaning in their quest for peace and justice.
This book is a call to action for a new era of spirituality-infused activism. Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world.
Incorporating the words of young activist leaders culled from interviews and surveys, the book provides a framework that is deliberately interfaith and speaks to our profound yearning for a life with spiritual purpose and for a better world. Each chapter is construed as a dialogue between Fox, a 72-year-old theologian, and Bucko, a 37-year-old spiritual activist and mentor to homeless youth. As we listen in on these familiar yet profound conversations, we learn about Fox and Bucko’s own spiritual journeys and discover a radical spirituality that is inclusive, democratic, and relevant to the world we live in today.
Table of Contents Foreword by Mona Eltahawy Foreword by Andrew Harvey Introduction: Invitation to Occupy Your Conscience 1. Is It Time to Replace the God of Religion with the God of Life? 2. Radical Spirituality for a Radical Generation 3. Adam’s Story 4. Matthew’s Story 5. What’s Your Calling? Are You Living in Service of Compassion and Justice? 6. Spiritual Practice: Touch Life and Be Changed by It 7. No Generation Has All the Answers: Elders and Youth Working Together 8. Birthing New Economics, New Communities, and New Monasticism Conclusion: Occupy Generation and the Practice of Spiritual Democracy Afterword by Lama Surya Das