We are interrupting our meditations on the Via Positiva briefly to consider what role the Via Positiva plays in a time of grief and loss. Our previous meditation ended with the question: What comes next?
What comes next is Birthing and Creativity. As Meister Eckhart puts it, “I, though a man, once had a dream that I was pregnant, pregnant with nothingness. And out of this nothingness God was born.” The Via Positiva finds its way into the Via Creativa insofar as the memory of the beauty of our lost loved ones or lost sense of peace puts a demand on us to choose to give birth. “I put before you life and death, choose life” say the Scriptures. Life is more precious after loss. Thus we feel the call to take more seriously our calling to co-create.
Awe is not only what we have been born into, we humans are here to bring more awe into the universe. We are capable of converting the Awful (the experience of the Via Negativa of loss) into real Awe (the Via Positiva)–that is what creativity does and forgiveness does. The Via Creativa then becomes a womb where more Via Positiva is birthed.
We put our Creativity to work above all in the Via Transformativa. The proper response to loss is ultimately to work to see that others do not have to go through this encounter with nothingness. To create a society where justice and not violence and injustice reigns…a society therefore where Joy matters, where the Via Positiva is possible for everyone. There is a special relationship between Joy and Justice-making.
Wonder emerges when we work in solidarity with others to revive a sense of community (“sharing a common task”), to bring about balance, to bring Compassion into being by celebrating our joint existence and by undoing structures of injustice based on hatred, fear and domestic terrorism. The very goal of justice is to bring all to the table of Joy, the Via Positiva.
Thus to treat the Via Positiva in a time of tragedy and loss can be a part of the healing process, it keeps the big picture before us. The Via Positiva must never be a denial or a running away from suffering. Biophilia triumphs over love of death which does not have the last word—unless we allow it to. And this happen can happen when we forget the Via Positiva.
The Via Positiva is an intimation therefore of Resurrection, a taste of Hope, a Motivator for action that is deeper than reaction. Acting for justice and compassion becomes beautiful in itself.
Queries for Contemplation
What are the implications of saying that the goal of justice is Joy?
How is the action of healing and justice-making “beautiful in itself?” What evidence do you have of that experience?
Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality
In this book Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology). Here Fox lays out the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.