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20 Ways to Cope with Climate Anxiety and Despair

It's normal and appropriate to feel grief, anxiety, anger, and helplessness in the face of escalating climate disruption because it's a reality threat to all we hold dear and our whole way of life. But don't get paralyzed by negative thinking and emotion. Here are things you can do to manage stress:
1.     Exercise - Always helps with stress
2.     Meditate - Quiet frightened or obsessive thoughts
3.     Find meaningful spiritual practices – yoga, tai chi, contemplation, prayer, gratitude
4.     Talk with friends
5.     Find or start a support group
6.     Take constructive action – e.g., reduce your carbon footprint, buy a Carbon Offsets, create a more sustainable lifestyle, join activist organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund, DrawDown, or Elders Action Network, become politically active.
7.     Write in your journal 
8.     Educate yourself and others
9.     Express your feelings out - cry, be mad, be sad – don't bottle up your emotions
10.   Find a therapist
11.   Prepare for crisis times (food, water, medicines, first aid kits, neighborhood organizing) and be ready work together with others
12.   Appreciate all you have; practice gratitude
13.   Do normal things, play, garden,
14.   Create - art, music, poetry, dance
15.   Breathe
16.   Seek larger meaning, clarify your priorities, explore your spiritual beliefs
17.   Recognize that life is a temporary gift; face the existential reality of your own death so you can take risks
18.   Be with loved ones and love the ones you're with
19.   Connect with nature (walks, gardening, animals, communion)
20.   Keep falling in love with Creation – with all our brothers and sisters in the plant and animal world

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A Mystics Prayer for Creation

Divine Consciousness of Life, Earth and Cosmos, God of all names and none, holy Presence dwelling in every creature, we come to you on our knees, in guilt and shame, in sorrow and dread, admitting horrific crimes against Creation. Listening to Earth's dying cries, we acknowledge our sins of arrogance, apathy, selfishness, plunder and rape. Our "stewardship" of Creation has been a tragic joke. In failure and profound remorse, we humbly seek forgiveness and guidance - we have completely lost our way and stand to lose so much more.
We know you, Divine One. We share your Being and Consciousness. We are you when we cease pretending to be someone else, someone separate and superior, someone in charge. In abject surrender, in ego-shattering fear and grief, in naked helplessness, we seek the only path home: we return to you. As the fires and storms of human foolishness consume our grandiosity, we ask you to receive us, Divine One, help us return to Creation.
Born of Earth, we can live nowhere else. We are the latest blossom of your enchantingly beautiful, infinitely mysterious, love-drenched creativity - the 14-billion-year evolution of yourself - and our home is here. Can a fish live out of water? Can a bird fly with no air? Can humans survive the cold toxic radiation of space? Desperate plans, false solutions, more foolishness.  
But what can we do? Divine One, what do you need from us? Even as we ask, words burst from sacred consciousness:
"Be still. Be silent. Stop talking. Turn off TV and cell phone. Go outside. Open wide your eyes. I shine before you as Creation: vibrant, colorful, alive; the symphony of your life and destiny. Look intensely. Look without thought. Open your senses: seasons of Earth, power of wind, greenness of plant, wetness of rain, warmth of sun, smell of soil, abundance of life, chatter of bird and squirrel, busyness of ant and worm, darkness of night, love-making everywhere, all rising in the holiness of Creation. You don't have to figure this out because you are Creation. Let the one you were born to be take you home. Creation will heal you, then your tenderness, joy, and adoration will heal Creation."
May the Earth bless and keep us,
May truth lead the way,
May the ancestors see our efforts,
May peace finally stay.
May the heart inform our journey,
May Creation bring us home,   
May our lives be deeply planted,
And may we know we're not alone.

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We Are Being Called by Creation to Act

We are in the early stages of a catastrophic disturbance of Earth's equilibrium and our collective awakening must be equal to it. Such an apocalypse is always spiritual. Our challenge must be to surrender our old skins of identity, time and story – who and where we think we are - and experience instead the inner divine Self of the universe filling us with unending gifts of love, compassion, joy, spontaneity, creativity, playfulness and celebration; and the divinity of Creation freely offering her beauty, abundance, sustenance, diversity, delight, and the direct wisdom of the natural world. Divinity and Creation are calling us to act. We must move our awareness from the left-brain, narrative-driven, top-down prison of patriarchy to a right-brain love-drenched mysticism and then blend the two hemispheres in a new vision of life. We can't know what's going to happen but we can respond from love and enlightenment. And perhaps the ultimate purpose of this catastrophe may be to evolve a new human consciousness because humanity's old order has become terminally corrupt, destructive and unjust. In the unity of Self and Creation, any act pregnant with love and wonder benefits the whole of existence - we join the creative unfolding of an infinitely loving universe, trusting its consciousness to guide us to our heart's work.

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More on the Making of a Mystical Activist

The experience of Creation as sacred reality provides experiential ingredients that evoke the mystical activist in us; so, too, does the experience of the inner divine.
In my book, The Divine Human, I describe the transformational effects allowing the divine Self to permeate the personality. The mystical experience of Self can also be central to the making of a mystical activist. And in case you fear this process only triggers personal grandiosity, remember that the experience of Self dissolves the self-idea altogether – it's not about "you," it's about being lived by the loving consciousness pervading the universe and dwelling in the depths of your own being.
As the personality transforms in sacred consciousness, supernal energies flow through us, inflaming love, replacing understanding with direct perception, and instilling both kindness and courage in our activism. And while we may not immediately look different in this state, we are living into our higher self and a new kind of person, a divine being in motion. This is why our spiritual practices are so important - we become what we meditate on, and as consciousness cleanses, meditation opens to the divine and we express its nature through our own.
This radical metamorphosis of self has amazing consequences, uncovering a natural wellspring of ecstasy, expansive love for the world, awe and transfigured perception, inner stillness even in motion, a comprehensive grasp of ultimate issues, and the patience to "show up" each day for the work of love in whatever conditions we face. Our separateness dissolves into Presence and new creativity awakens. This inflowing divinity also energizes our intrinsic gifts for the world, as they, too, are divine in nature. For me, that means writing, teaching, explaining, and living in mystical consciousness. For you, it may stir natural talents often taken for granted or new ones you never expected. Whatever we were uniquely meant to bring into this world becomes our contribution to climate activism. We each weave a divine thread into the sacred fabric of protest, healing and renewal.
As described in Mystical Activism: Transforming a World in Crisis, this incarnation then moves steadily from mystic to prophet as we open the right-brain's mystical consciousness and direct connections to soul, Creation, ancestors, and other spiritual beings. This work is profound and profoundly transformational. I describe the divine human hoping to excite you, help you find this experience for yourself, and give freely of your own divine nature. Whatever your activism, may it be further awakened in divine consciousness.

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The Interesting Neuropsychology Behind Mystical Activism

The left brain's verbal-conceptual mode constantly generates the identity, time and story beliefs that structure our goals, trigger our emotions, and create our unconscious by keeping awareness away from feelings and issues inconsistent with our social beliefs or persona. Because language and thought rule the left brain, we cannot experience mystical consciousness in its world because we are too busy thinking. Remember, mystical consciousness is found when thought is silenced and awareness opens to a larger, all-pervading consciousness.

As described in Mystical Activism: Transforming a World in Crisis, the right brain houses our mystical consciousness but there's a problem. The right brain also houses our awareness of emotions, and both conscious and unconscious emotions can occlude mystical awareness. Embroiled in distressing emotions, we rarely seek mystical consciousness, unknowingly undermining our spiritual progress.
Interestingly, the bicameral (dual) mind can be observed in split-face analysis, which involves examining how the two sides of a person's face often convey very different emotional expressions. The easiest way to do this is to place a mirror perpendicularly on the center vertical line of a photograph of a face such that one side appears on both sides. We then compare to two different faces keeping in mind that facial expressions are controlled by the contralateral (opposite) side of the brain. Particularly evident with people in distress, we begin to notice is that the left side of the face (right hemisphere) often reveals a person's underlying emotions (anger, fear, sadness, hatred, depression), while the right side (left hemisphere) presents expressions meant to convey positive or socially acceptable feelings and motivations. In this manner, we observe the emotions and motivations hidden behind an individual's social façade.


How do these observations affect our perception of Creation? Most of our time is occupied busily managing the subtle ongoing conflict between what we really feel or want, consciously and unconsciously, and what think we should show the world. This process not only takes a lot of energy, it also distracts us from the spiritual work of experiencing mystical consciousness. If we truly want to experience Creation as Divinity, therefore, we need to silence thought, calm emotion, surrender personal goals, and tune into pure consciousness, thus moving our attention from the habitual thoughts and beliefs supporting our social personal (left brain) to a thought-free consciousness that reveals Creation (right brain). This is why meditation and contemplative practices are so important in supporting our spiritual growth and evolution into mystics.

As the climate crisis deepens, we will need to practice more diligently to prevent distracting or distressing beliefs and emotions from undermining our work as Earth activists, for we need to maintain our mystical awareness to the divine world to provide continuing guidance, inspiration, and support.

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Finding Divinity in Creation

I believe the climate crisis must bring us into the literal consciousness of divinity as Creation if we are to survive. Not the judgmental dualistic man-fashioned God of the past overseeing the fallen world, but the sacred fabric of nature herself. Experiencing the all-pervading divine consciousness of existence can heal and change us. This is the message of the mystics from across time and religion. The moment of our evolutionary leap is now. We either wake up to save - and sanctify - humanity or we tear apart all that is sacred and all that supports us. We must finally know the true nature and purpose of our lives.


I ask myself, how do I live this in my everyday life and as a citizen of the universe? I constantly stand at the edge of Creation, move in and out, but I deeply want to stay longer and find ways of bringing more people into the mystical consciousness of the omnipresent divine world. It's not that hard to glimpse and once glimpsed, the possibilities expand. That's what all my writing and experiential exercises have been about for the past 20 years.

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What Do You Love Most?

When a child is in a medical crisis, parents drop everything to do whatever has to be done. They live at the hospital, change their daily routines, devote themselves to saving their world. This is now the situation in our world. Creation is the crisis. Creation is everything we are and need and value. A storm is coming of enormous proportions. We sense it growing. We feel a diffuse, unnamable fear. The darkness will affect everybody because the world as we know it is coming to an end. We are confronting a vast collective process of dying and letting go, of disintegration and transformation, a process that is so much bigger than we are. And we are the only hope. You and me and all whom we love. Hope cannot passively await some savior, politician or scientist – the kind of hope that seeks to dodge this bullet and magically make the problem go away; real hope can only come from our love of life, all life, our life. What gets you up in the morning? What would break your heart? How will you reorder your life to care for what you love most? What are you willing to give up? Business-as-usually must dissolve now into the intense divine flow of being consciousness that takes us into the sacred dimension of response. Death, and birth, and hope, and life. There is nowhere to run. It's time. What do you love most? There lies the hope.

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Return to Eden

The climate crisis is about returning to the Eden we betrayed eons ago and learning to live again in continuing awareness of the sacred world. I want to return to Eden. I want to live in the mystical consciousness of Creation. That is the road back to climate health, kindness and peace. This is not a fairy tale, it is the truest perception of the Earth we have. Yet this is a remarkable assertion. Few would believe it. But it's the mystical message of every religion and every mystic. And it is the ultimate answer to the climate crisis - all other activism follows more powerfully from it. Let us realize that this world is the divine expressing herself in form and substance and honor Creation in every thought and act.

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The Power of Mystical Activism

The Earth needs to awaken as many mystical activists as possible. To survive and heal, the Earth community needs us all to become the mystically-oriented change agents. Young, old, busy, lost – we are all critical to the planet's health. Join the growing chorus of mystics singing love songs to Creation through their work.  
What powerful gifts does Mystical Activism offer us? Mystical Activism has the power to awaken the perception of a sacred reality (which is powerfully motivating), fill us with the energies of the divine Self (the power of love, of sacred being),provide revolutionary new tools for "solving" problems in mystical consciousness, rekindle our relationship with soul to reveal our life purpose,open a direct channel to the "other world" for additional assistance and support, and help us communicate with Creation to find out what she really needs. In Mystical Activism, we each hold the power to change the world right where we are. 
To be more specific, the purpose of Mystical Activism is to…
·     Combat paralysis, helplessness, cynicism and ignorance
·     Explain why we are in this Earth crisis and how we can respond to it
·     See the divine world - God as reality itself
·     Engage the fierceness of soul to support and defend life on Earth
·     Awaken the deep Self as the rising tide of divine love within
·     Discern our individual gifts and ideas for personal activism
·     Bring people together in group Mystical Activism
·     Ask for help from deceased loved ones, ancestors, spirit guides, angels, and God
·     Help dissolve the Patriarchy
·     Communicate with the mystical consciousness of Earth, trees, plants, animals, insects to discover how     Creation is feeling and what she wants
·     Respond with strength, courage and resilience to whatever conditions we must bear in these trying times
I hope this website, blog and forthcoming book inspire you to explore Mystical Activism and transform yourself, your work, and the world you inhabit.

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Help from the "Other Side": Sacred Dialogues

Mystical Activism not only awakens direct awareness of divine reality, it allows us to reach out to spiritual entities outside the conventional space-time universe. Did you know that we can dialogue with God, our soul, deceased loved ones, ancestors, spirit guides and angels?  The only obstacle is our disbelief. And in this process, we receive not only invaluable spiritual guidance but support, love, and encouragement as well. Who would you like to talk with most? What questions would you like to ask?
I learned the dialogue process from psychologist Ira Progoff, the creator of the Intensive Journal Workshop. He, in turn, had studied with Carl Jung, who described "active imagination" dialogues with numerous incorporeal beings. I soon discovered that the dialogue process could easily be adapted to conversing with spiritual entities. Here's how this works.
Thousands of years ago, as humans were evolving their remarkable speech, language and conceptual abilities, a curious thing happened. The cerebral cortex began structuring two separate – though interconnected - forms of consciousness. The left hemisphere specialized in the language skills critical for survival. Now humans could define social roles, pass on discoveries from previous generations, record their history, create science and technology, make long range plans, and tell stories about their lives. This process also created the ego, a structure that soon became the personality's director of consciousness. While this conceptual programming of the left-brain was unfolding, the right brain maintained its highly developed capacities for here-and-now awareness, visual-spatial analysis, emotional intelligence, and facial recognition. It also maintained its mystical consciousness – the awakened thought-free sensory awareness of the sacred present.
Unfortunately, as time passed, our right-brain mystical consciousness was progressively demoted – thought and speech were far more useful and exciting to the ego. Without direct access to speech and language functions, the right-brain could no longer compete with the ego for director of consciousness or spokesman for reality. Little by little, language replaced mystical perception, we stopped seeing Creation, and humanity came to dwell entirely in its own labyrinthine mental world. But mystical consciousness was not lost, it still holds powerful resources for personal transformation, including conversing with spiritual beings from the "other world."
Our split-brain structure naturally and beautifully lends itself to spontaneous dialogues between the ego of the left hemisphere – the "I" or "me" talking about "my" problems, and figures coming through the mystical portal of the right hemisphere to respond to us. In this process, you, as ego, can ask questions or pose problems, while the "other" responds with new information. At first, this process can seem a little artificial or contrived, but once it gets started, you will be amazed at what spontaneously emerges. And, you can tell the "other" is responding because the conversations completely surprise you with information you didn't expect changing your whole perspective on the problem.

Two Examples of Sacred Dialogues
Let me give you a couple of personal examples. The first involves a conversation I had with my deceased father, who has become a strong support figure for me now in my work. The initials refer to me (M) and my dad (D). Near the end my soul (S) chimes in.
M: Hey dad, are you there?
D: Sure, John boy.
M: You make me laugh with that name you had for me.
D: I liked calling you that. Makes me feel close to you.
M: Thanks. Really. I love you.
D: Right back at ya.
M: So, dad, you expressed a desire to return, to help us here. What is our work? How can you help? What advice can you give me?
D: People have so many problems there on Earth all based, as you know, on the world of thought. So many foolish ideas, identities, childish prejudices, vain goals. Tell people to wake up. Tell people to stop thinking and see where they are. Your work is so simple, straight forward, obvious, and that's its strength. No complex philosophies or theologies. Just plain confrontation and revelation.
M: I think that's true. But where do I put forth this challenge? Certainly in workshops and talks, but that just tiny sliver of the world.
D: Your Milwaukee talk is a good place to start.
M: OK, but where else?
D: Write something direct, forceful, confrontative for Creation Spirituality, Sage-ing International, or Progressive Christianity.
M: Yes, I need to write a pithy article. And I need to speak from sacred consciousness to those around me. Those are good ideas. Something will catch on if I get a strong, direct piece out there. We have to start now. What do you want to do here?
D: I want to come over and be with you. You can be my mouthpiece. Others won't see me.
M: What do you want to say?
D: Love the world. It is love that brings the world alive. Love is the energy of awakening. This is what Einstein was saying to his daughter. It's a force. Just say it.
M: OK, so here's my message. I just wrote it. "A lifetime of study, a master's degree and two doctorates (psychology and spirituality), interfaith ordination, numerous articles, nine books, and the wisdom of age, can all be distilled to this: Stop. Stop talking, stop thinking, stop whatever you are doing. We are standing right now in Heaven on Earth. Reality is conscious and alive. It knows us. Divinity is everywhere and everything. We don't see this because we only see our thoughts that create another world, a world that is crazy and ugly. Stop everything, wake up, and SEE. When the ego goes, thought goes, beliefs go, false self and false world evaporate, and the whole house of cards falls apart to reveal that we never left the Garden. We are divine beings in a divine world - pure consciousness, joy, beauty and love. And in the great unity of being, I am you, you are me, we are God. Everything else is an illusion. This is the 'other world.'"How does this seem, dad?
D: You nailed it.
M: Soul, what do you think?
S: Say it LOUDLY! Say it POWERFULLY. Say it often. Eventually, it will resonate with what people already know but don't realize they know it.
(The message was later posted on the Creation Spirituality Website)
In this next dialogue, I ask God for support and guidance on how to handle the exhaustion I felt getting ready to present at a large workshop on the Divine Human and Mystical Activism.
M: Hello God. Are you here?
G: Always. How can I help you?
M: I head off to the Sage-ing International conference for my 3.5 hour workshop and 1.5 hour discussion group the same evening. I am feeling tired from preparation and I'm afraid I won't have the energy to get through both presentations with enough animation to make real contact. 
G: Let go of your worry. I will carry you. I am you. Relax and let me be you. Soul can help too if you need fierceness. Let me be your tiredness and I will transform it into freedom and love and joy. Let the pressure go. Watch me become you. You don't have to be or do anything. You don't exist anyway. Forget yourself.
M: I don't exist. I am not this exhaustion. I am free.
G: Relax John and let me take over the plan. I'll follow your plan but I will be so much more than that. The class will be me and they will realize it by the end of the workshop. Just stay in my consciousness. Feel my presence. Feel my energy carrying you, lifting you, being you. This is the mystical activism that you are teaching and revealing. Be what you are teaching, be me.
M: I am what you are. I am divine. I am you and you are me. My separate boundaries dissolve into the sea of divine consciousness and I am that. I come from that. I speak from that. I teach from that. I can feel you spreading inside me now and I am the divine force of conscious presence. This is my destiny, to be what you are. Live me. Be me. Be the teaching in this workshop. Fill the class with your energy and change everyone into conscious mystics. May they all open to this experience of divine fullness and be awakened to their real nature. Take me over, God. Take us all over that we may finally live in love and peace. I have come to show people a different glimpse of reality, to show them what reality is. We are one Being as countless true selves in love again with the world. I open this possibility to the world after so many dark ages. My gift is the revelation of our own divinity and our home in Heaven on Earth. We can see it now. It's only a matter of waking up and assuming our new experience as gods in God…creators of the divine world. Such joy!!
Mystical Activism: Transforming a World in Crisis teaches this kind of dialogue process as a source of spiritual direction, inspiration, loving support, trust and hope. Reading these dialogues, you can see that mystical intuitions come not from the logic and concepts of the left hemisphere but from the awakened consciousness of the right through which other spiritual beings offer their guidance. You can even have profoundly meaningful dialogues with the Earth herself. Just ask! This, too, is Mystical Activism - using mystical consciousness to find new ways of addressing the profound problems of our times. And help is always available. 

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