The Via Positiva amidst Grief, Loss, and Anger – Part 2

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?

“Untitled.” Photo by Milicanogueira on Pixabay

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.

“Partially obscured by a dark, Jedi-like cloak of dust, a newborn star shoots twin jets out into space as a sort of birth announcement to the universe.” — : NASA/ESA/STScI

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.

On 24 March 2018 In DC and other cities, hundreds of thousands of students and others marched to demand common sense gun control in the wake of deadly school shootings in the U.S. Photo: Mobilus In Mobili, Flickr

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.


See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, 178-187, 201-207, 286-292.
Banner Image: “Passing on the Light.” Photo by Becker1999, Flickr

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?

Recommended Reading

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.

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6 thoughts on “The Via Positiva amidst Grief, Loss, and Anger – Part 2”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you, Matthew, for speaking love and truth! (Bishop Bill Swing, the then bishop of California, has bee n my dear friend and was my college roommate at Kenyon College.) Fr. David Watkins

  2. Avatar

    These times are so difficult. Reading your daily meditations revive us because it has the other side to all the grief. And we have to come together to find it. We cannot retreat and stay away.
    Thank you,
    Joan

    1. Gail Ransom

      Joan,
      Thank you for your reminder that engaging in the Via Positiva, in awe, wonder, and goodness, is something we can do with intention to counter the extreme negative energies of our times. You’ve inspired me to be more purposeful with my appreciation of Creation.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar
    Julett M. Broadnax

    Can you give specific examples of ways we can counter the spread of hateful rhetoric and activities that divide our country and seem to be growing rather than lessening? I am feeling anger and fear that our political parties cannot come up with a candidate for President that appeals to the majority as a man of justice, compassion, integrity – someone to be admired rather than someone who invites ridicule and negativity. I want to be proud of who I vote for as well as proud of who is elected.

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Julett,
      Thank you for your question. We will pass it on to Matthew. In the meantime, please consider the intentional voicing of the Via Positiva in your life. Your expression of the value of justice, compassion, and integrity can be a quietly prophetic act. If you are brave and clear enough to lift up the best in us, others will follow. There is no magic wand for the masses, but our words can be magic when shared on their behalf.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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