Divine Foolishness with Ken Feit, Part II

Among his teachings Ken Feit used to say: “My vocation is to make extraordinary things ordinary; and ordinary things extraordinary….To see the ordinary extraordinarily is the essence of wonder and with this vision objects transmute.” 

Ken Feit as Akhi the Beggar. Photographer unknown; from The School of Laughter

He brings Via Positiva, Creativa and Transformativa together when he declares: “Basically, I am concerned with celebration as a subversive activity.”  Furthermore, “Laughter is a sacrament.”.  And he urges, as Meister Eckhart and Buddhism urge, purposelessness.  “Art, play and prayer are the only human activities that are totally purposeless yet absolutely meaningful.”

Another story from Ken Feit follows:

Years ago, when I was in college, I was sitting under a tree on campus reading a book and suddenly a small spider raced across the page of my book.  At first I was tempted to slam the book shut, squash the spider into being a period or a comma, but I held myself back from doing this.  So, I let him crawl onto my hand and kept on with my reading.  About ten minutes later I felt tickling on my hand and realized that the little spider had spun a tiny web from my thumb to my index finger.  In fact, the spider had climbed clear across each one of my fingertips—my hand was a suspension bridge!  Then I realized that I was a tree and each finger was a branch.

“Untitled” Photo by id23 on Unsplash

Then I thought: ‘If this spider believes I’m a tree, I ought to act like one.”  So I blew soft on my fingertips, watching the web wave in the breeze.  The spider blew off and spun his way to my toes.  There I was, left hand and right foot, two trees connected by spider fruit.  Two times my spider friend made the journey back and forth to secure the webbing from hand to foot.

Then the hour clock chimed for my return to class.  I wanted to thank the spider by staying on but I knew inside that this brief moment was a lifetime in itself and that trees must go to school in order to be better trees. 

Ever since that holy day I have refused to kill a living thing and have often gone out of my way to rescue a moth from a screen window, a wasp from a classroom, or earthworms from rain-soaked sidewalks.  I feel a special sort of oneness with nature—rocks, trees, streams, flowers, birds, and of course, spiders.  I’m their brother, not their boss.  The mosquito that I blow off my arm just might be a prophet in disguise.

Adapted from Ken Feit and Matt Fox, “The Story-Teller as Prophet,” in Bear & Company: The ‘Little Magazine’, vol 1, number 5, 1981, pp. 6f.
Also Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, pp. 129, 133-135. 312

Banner Image: “Mountain Laughter” Photo by Mazhar Zandsalimi on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

What are the implications of Feit telling us that the essence of wonder is beholding the ordinary in the extraordinary and the extraordinary in the ordinary? Have you developed that art form?

How special are these meditations with Ken Feit that call us all to humor as a spiritual practice?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

4 thoughts on “Divine Foolishness with Ken Feit, Part II”

  1. Avatar

    I love this one today! I don’t play with spiders, but I completely agree with him in principle about allowing all living things to live if they aren’t trying to hurt or harm me or anyone else near me. Thanks for your meditations. I read them every day and then attempt to Share them on my face book with my friends. Some also read them and let me know. Bless you always.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Barbara,
      Thank you for writing and reminding us about Ken Feit’s story about the spider creating a web between his fingers and toes. And now, we often talk about the Cosmic web, or the web of life, an image of connection given to us by the six legged spinning ones.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Cynthia,
      Your work as co-director of InterPlay is most definitely the work of clowning from the depths, and the heights, and all the silly little normal things in between. You have danced out the path for so many to follow, chuckle, and accept themselves as the flawed and fabulous beings they are. No wonder you were attracted to these words by Matthew Fox, written for his homily at Ken Feit’s funeral.

      Like so many deeply spiritual people, Ken was paradoxical. Kenn Feit was a clown because he was so serious a person. I think the most serious person I have ever known. He was a mime because he had so much he wanted to say. He was a fool because he was so angry and so broken by social pain and injustice. He was childlike and yet one of the most disciplined and hard working people I have every known. In fact, when he was evaluating a summer experience with me several days ago, he said he was pleased with the clowns that studied with him 10 hours a day 6 days a week for two weeks who had come from Toronto, and Washington DC. But the California clowns would wander in and out. if I had returned to teach in California, he said, I would have had a special course on discipline for California clowns. You see, Ken’s Jesuit training was not in vain.

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: