Via Creativa & Via Transformativa Together, Part II

In yesterday’s and today’s meditations we are looking back to earlier DMs when we talked about Meditation that leads to prophetic action. Why? Because we want to underscore the importance of the Via Creativa in nurturing prophets—which is all of us.  The Via Creativa prepares us for the Via Transformativa.  The words of previous meditations are reproduced here in italics.

Activists demonstrate against oil pipelines in Washington, D.C., near the Capitol.
Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Aren’t we desperate today for all humans to tap into their calling as prophets, as spiritual warriors?  To stand up and be counted and to link hands and interfere? 

Hildegard of Bingen said that “there is wisdom in all creative works” and that is foundational for realizing the power of the Via Creativa.  Knowledge alone will not save humanity—wisdom is needed at this critical time.

Following are additional teachings from people who recognized the prophetic dimension to art. 

California professors Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello installed seesaws to allow U.S. and Mexican children to play together through a slatted border fence dividing Sunland Park, New Mexico from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. (C) Minyvonne Burke,

“Art seduces us into the struggle against repression….What the great world needs, of course, is a little more Eros and less strife; but the intellectual world needs it just as much.”  (Norman O. Brown)

“There is no creativity without fantasy and play.”  (Carl Jung)

“The nearest thing to contemplation is play.”  (Thomas Aquinas)

Rabbi Heschel teaches that the prophet speaks not from an inner peace and calmness (the introvert way) but “charged with agitation, anguish, and a spirit of nonacceptance.”  Art as meditation reigns: Not only were Isaiah and Jeremiah great poets but Hosea was likely a farmer and a baker; Amos a herdsman and a gardener; and of course Jesus a carpenter, peasant farmer and parable maker. 

L-R: Ralph David Abernathy; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Ralph Bunche; Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel; Frederick Douglas Reese, leaders of the third Selma-to-Montgomery march, speak with the press. Photographer unknown. Abraham Joshua Heschel papers, from Duke University Libraries.

We need to reflect on the political implications of an exclusively introvert meditation practice.  The empowerment that comes by way of Art as meditation is rarely encouraged by fascist or imperialistic forces.  There is a danger that introvert meditation can render people passive citizens to the extent that they withdraw to another world—one where peace, harmony, and unity exist oblivious of justice, injustice, or compassion. 

The prophets, far from setting spirit off from body, were in fact sensual, passionate persons.  Theirs was not an ascetic mortification of the senses. Says Heschel: “Asceticism was not the ideal of the biblical man. The source of evil is not in passion, in the throbbing heart, but rather in hardness of heart, in callousness and insensitivity…. We are stirred by their passion and enlivened imagination…. It is to the imagination and the passions that the prophet speaks, rather than aiming at the cold approbation of the mind.”  Nietzsche observed in the prophets—a “kind of consecration of passion.” 

See, June 14, 15, 17, 18.  Also September 20, 23, 24.
Also see Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 188-201, 250-256.

Banner image: Memorial coffins on the US-Mexico barrier for those killed crossing the border fence in Tijuana, México. (c) Tomas Castelazo. Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Queries for Contemplation

In light of our recent Via Creativa meditations with Ken Feit and Bob Fox and Mary Oliver and more, do Heschel’s teachings of the prophet appealing to “to the imagination and the passions” rather than “the cold approbation of the mind” become more meaningful to you?  Why?  Or Why Not?

Recommended Reading

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.

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6 thoughts on “Via Creativa & Via Transformativa Together, Part II”

  1. Avatar

    I am particularly struck by this part of today’s meditation: “Rabbi Heschel teaches that the prophet speaks not from an inner peace and calmness (the introvert way) but “charged with agitation, anguish, and a spirit of nonacceptance.” Art as meditation reigns: Not only were Isaiah and Jeremiah great poets but Hosea was likely a farmer and a baker; Amos a herdsman and a gardener; and of course Jesus a carpenter, peasant farmer and parable maker.”
    At present I am in the final stages of publishing my book JESUS GARDENS ME. My question: Is the last sentence in the above quote from Rabbi Heschel naming a “farmer”, “gardener” and “peasant farmer” from Heschel or Matthew Fox?

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear David,
      Than you for your question. This quote, like so many, has come together through several sources. The quote is by Matthew Fox, particularly the words about Jesus. The words about the livelihoods of the Hebrew prophets are summaries by Matthew of the writings of Abraham Heschel. So, the quote itself should be attributed to Matthew. Inner appreciation might be given to Heschel as well. Your book title is intriguing. I would imagine this quote will fit in very well. Good luck with the publishing.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar

    Hello. I don’t see a separate “Contact us” box so I’m posting this here. Under “About”, in the list contrasting the Fall/Redemption tradition with CS, the line item “Emphasizes the cross” is repeated. It is #35 of 48. I noticed the duplicate when I copied/pasted the list to an Excel sheet to number them. Thanks.
    Emphasizes the cross Considers the cross as significant …

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Catherine,
      Thank you for taking enough interest in Creation Spirituality to click into our introduction to CS on our website’s home page. The list of contrasting attitudes between Fall/Redemption Theology and Creation Spirituality Theology brings the differences Matt talks about into focus. No wonder you wanted to paste them into your own spreadsheet! Thank you for pointing out the duplication. I will pass your discovery along to our web master.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    Not to be a pest, but your email option displayed with the “To” field blank, for forwarding/sharing. What is your email address or where is a generic Contact box on this website? Also, If the Comment box provided an Edit/Delete option for the Sender, I could remove my comments after you address the issues or I lose my nerve, whichever comes first. Thanks. Namaste.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Catherine,
      You have found the best and only way to send your comments back to the Daily Meditation Team. Conversations between the team and subscribers happen through this Comment section. It is designed this way to make sure nothing gets lost or passed over. I’m glad you found the Comments section and look forward to your next comment.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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