We are considering the contemporary American activist and mystic-prophet, Kristal Parks and her marvelous book Re-Enchanting the World: A Call to Mystical Activism* in which she grounds her work and ours for eco-justice and other justices in the Via Positiva. About the book she says: “This book is a call to radical, mystical and joy-filled activism.” (p. 3)
Consider the striking Table of Contents for her book which reads like a Guide to the Via Positiva: The Great Guffaw / Awe as Destiny / Joy as Revolutionary / Heart Awakened Activism / Play as Spiritual Practice / The Alchemy of Pain / Nectar of Inner Silence / Seduced by a Blade of Grass / The Dazzling Web of Life / Beauty as Sacred / Reflections on Testosterone / The Magic of Gratitude / The Elegant Bio-Spiritual Universe
She tells us how she took a sabbatical from years of peace activism to take a prolonged retreat in the woods, a simple lifestyle choice in which she only had to work one day a week to survive. The rest of her time was spent walking in the forest, sitting by streams, watching and listening.
“After about two years, nature and silence taught me this: At the core of all that exists, at the core of every blade of grass, hanging icicle, quarreling marmot, beaver scowling eagle, quacking duck, squirrel, fox, howling coyote, quivering aspen leaf and melting snow flake, there exists an energy and vibration of joy. Not unlike a giggle.
If we wish to take our cues from nature and work in harmony with her then we too have to be in the energy of joy.
Joy is the operative word here. It includes bliss, ecstasy and delight.” (p. 7)
It is difficult to find a more profound and direct statement, born of deep listening to creation, about the roots of justice making and eco-justice making than this. We are to ground our work in the experience of Joy where all things are grounded.
Meister Eckhart, like Parks, acknowledges the giggle or laughter that underlies creation when he writes: “Do you want to know what goes on in the heart of the Trinity? There the Father laughs and gives birth to the Son; the Son laughs back at God and they give birth to the Spirit; the whole Trinity laughs and gives birth to creation.”
Kristal also alerts us to the place of suffering and the via negativa which we will be considering later in these meditations. Here is how she puts it: “Working from the place and energy of joy does not mean suppressing, denying or avoiding pain, sadness and rage (especially over what is happening in the world). Those feelings actually will lead us to joy when they are felt fully, completely with no protection at all.
If we wish to work in harmony and collaboration with the nonhuman elders and mentors (animals and plants), which we must do in order to save the planet, we need to come to them from the place of joy because that is where they live from. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel grief. They too weep the destruction happening, but they basically live and operate from Joy. That’s the place of connection with them, and indeed with the whole cosmos.”
*Kristal Parks, Re-Enchanting the World: A Call to Mystical Activism (Denver: Celebration Press, 2003). To order this short but powerful and joyful book go to www.PachydermPower.org and www.KristalParks.com, or email KristalParks2@gmail.com
See: Matthew Fox, Meditations with Meister Eckhart, p. 129.
Queries for Contemplation
Has it been your experience too that “at the core of all that exists” there dwells and “energy and vibration of joy” that is “not unlike a giggle”?
If so, what are the implications of that for our work and our struggle for justice-making?
This book of simple but rich meditations exemplifies the deep yet playful creation-centered spirituality of Meister Eckhart, a 13th-century mystic, prophet, feminist, activist and defender of the poor who was condemned shortly after he died. “These quiet presentations of spirituality are remarkable for their immediacy and clarity.” –Publishers Weekly.
Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.