"Activists and mystics are pioneers and adventurers. They leave the safer territory of comforting spirituality and charitable service and venture to the edges of personal and social transformation. They have a degree of longing and passion that makes some people uncomfortable. They have an unsettling degree of intensity," writes James O' Dea, who is the lead faculty for the Shift Network's Peace Ambassador Training. For more information visit www.jamesodea.com.
O'Dea experienced mystical transports as a young boy and for the rest of his life has been encouraged by a series of gurus, guides, teachers, and communities on in his mission to meld activism and mysticism. What character qualities are needed to become an effective activist? O'Dea points to "a gut instinct for justice, a little fire in the belly, a moral compass and a kind heart; and, of course, the courage to act when that supercharged lightning of integrated passion illuminates the way forward."
Among the spiritual teachers who had an impact upon him are Kabir Helminski, an American Sufi shaikh, a S&P Living Spiritual Teacher and creator of many S&P e-courses; Sheik Muzaffer of the Jerrahi Sufi Order; Bishop Elias Cankaya, a Syriac Orthodox Bishop; and Ram Dass. Over the years, O'Dea has served as president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences; Director of the Washington D.C. office of Amnesty International; and as CEO of the Seva Foundation. Quite an impressive resume!
As a mystic and activist, the author salutes the importance of conscience, commitment, vision, passion, and imagination. All of these character qualities have been used by O'Dea in service of peace. He has trained more than 800 peace ambassadors from 30 countries.