To Be a Mystic Activist by Rabbi Shefa Gold

To be a Mystic-activist…

The question of this moment is not whether, but how to be an activist. Each of us is called to know and find expression for our part in the emerging dance of transformation. We are the vessels for the force of awakening that is flowing through this world. AND we are each invited to consciously participate in that awakening by sourcing each and every expression or action in the knowledge of our interconnected Being.

We all have moments of mystical awareness, moments of remembering how we are all related, how our fates are bound up with one another. Those moments can be small (sharing the beauty of a sunset) or big (witnessing the birth of a child). Those big or small moments of Unity Consciousness come and go, reminding us of something, but often leaving us fundamentally unchanged, as we return to the consciousness of separation. Of winners and losers.

At some point, there is a shift on this journey of awakening when we turn inward, enter into mystical consciousness and live from that unshakable knowing of our Unity; when we place Love at the center; when we realize that we are the visible manifestation of the Infinite Invisible, the channel through which the Divine flows. 

The first time I called myself a “Mystic-activist,” was when I wrote the introduction to In The Fever of Love, a devotional Commentary on the Song of Songs. That name resonated so deeply and still reverberates through my being as a call and a motivating inspiration. Knowing myself in this way is my liberation.

After immersing myself in Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs, I wrote, “As a passionate mystic-activist, my intention is to return this sacred erotic text to its rightful place at the center of our religious lives. The Song of Songs is an invitation to enter the Holy of Holies at the center of our own loving hearts. When we take that journey to center and finally turn towards the shining face of the One who has been waiting there, then every facet of our lives begins to shine with the beauty of The Beloved.”

I knew that placing Love at the center, changes everything.

To be a mystic-activist means I must close the door of shame , judgement and blame, and instead walk through the door of creativity and imagination. I must live in the light of what I know to be true. Through this light, I must heal the racism that is my conditioning and find the deeper knowing that we are one Being. Self-transformation becomes the doorway to world transformation.

Kohelet 3:11 says, (God) “makes everything beautiful in its time, and also hides the universe in their hearts.” This is an expression of mystical consciousness. I open to the beauty of this precious moment, and let that beauty send me to the infinite source within, where we are not separate, where we are one great Being, a flower unfurling in the light of awareness.

When I witness suffering and injustice in this world, I experience it happening also inside my heart, where the Greater Being that we are resides. Inside my heart, the oppressor and the oppressed live side-by-side, equal and bound up in their suffering. The love that I bring to all- both friend and enemy, transforms the inner conflict into a dynamic dance of awakening. And I trust in this dance, in the beauty of Grace unfolding in its time. 

When this truth touches me, I can’t just sit back and watch that unfolding, because Iam an instrument of that Grace. I let compassion move me to action.

The question that I ask of every impulse to action or expression is, “Where is it coming from?” Mystical consciousness can be a powerful resource that sends me into the world that I know to be sacred. This reverence softens the edge of my outrage, opens my heart, lifts my despair, and shows me the wide perspective. Mystical consciousness allows me to see through the illusions of separateness and then, through my words, actions and healing presence, to become an awakener.

To be a mystic-activist means to dare to leave behind my small self, and step into a larger identity. It means I must face the reality of this moment with all its horror and beauty, and make a commitment to presence, to love, to beauty and to infinite possibilities.