Deena Metzger, Lessons in a Time of Plague, continued

We are continuing to share portions of Deena Metzger’s recent powerful meditation from her blog, on the times we are undergoing.  She writes:

When people realize they have a life-threatening illness, they begin to re-examine their lives, considering deeply what matters and what should fall away.

Deena tells us that she underwent such an examination and soul journey when she faced death from a cancer emergency years ago.

Deena Metzger in communion with Angus, a captive elephant, survivor of a brutal cull. Photo by Patricia Langer; account from Deena’s blog, Ruin and Beauty.

This deep soul journey parallels the physical process of dying itself when so much that we have fervently insisted is indispensable to us, falls away, becomes irrelevant, and what has meaning and is really essential is respected. When, if we are lucky and recover from what has threatened to devastate us entirely, we begin our lives again, we know we cannot, must not, return to how we were living before, we cannot return to the ways that were killing us and others.

In the face of death we learn to re-examine our lives— and this can prove to be a societal opening to mortality as well as an individual’s.  Thus our economic systems and political systems and educational systems and religious systems are subject to death and transformation also.  Right? 

Are we daring to do that?  Is this a lesson the virus has come to remind us?  The “seed that must die” for growth to happen that Jesus spoke of 2000 years ago includes our institutions as well as our personal egos.

The Elephant Ambassador, who first approached Deena in Chobe, Botswana, in 1999, and who later told her in vision: “The stones are what the human race has become. You are no longer sentient creatures. You increasingly become the drones, the robots, the weapons that you have invented as you disconnect from, injure and attack the natural world and all its creatures. The only way to save Creation is to re-enter it.” Photo by Michele Daniel, from Deena’s blog Ruin and Beauty.

How healthy are the systems we have in place?  Whom are they serving?

Deena Metzger sees the tribulation we are undergoing to be “a spiritual initiation of the highest order.”

Initiation is Spirit’s way of breaking us down so that we might be recreated in a wisdom way.  This is an astounding and awesome initiation by Spirit. It is one of the ways illness transforms us.

An invitation is afoot to take stock of our culture and indeed of our species as we face the limits to both and re-examine the paths we are on.  The covid-19 virus together with the extinction spasm we are undergoing with the Climate Change beckon us to reconsider our value systems.  What really counts?  What really matters? 

In this liminal moment, this passage between one world and another, let dying strip us down to the heart as dying does, and begin again. It is a little like a bone marrow transplant –- the marrow is of the only culture that can survive these times, the one in which our species and the other species all thrive together, one that is committed to the life force of all beings, which, hopefully, will include us again.

See: Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet.

Banner Image: “One of a herd of Elephants we met in a grove who all seemed to be in acts of devoted adoration of the trees. We were at Mashatu Wild Animal preserve.” Photo by Deena Metzger, from her blog post “Extinction Illness: Grave Affliction and Possibility” (also a featured article in Tikkun).

Queries for Contemplation

Do you also see this current time as a possible “spiritual Initiation of the highest order”?   What follows from that? 

What might follow if our species and our culture wakes up to the lessons being offered us at this time?

Recommended Reading

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

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.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

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4 thoughts on “Deena Metzger, Lessons in a Time of Plague, continued”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you ?. Your meditation helps me keep centered in these times. Yes I believe a system Change would include a shift from war to peace, From manufacturing weapons to serving people. From polluting to restoring clean air and clean water. From The individual to the We.

  2. Avatar

    Yes, this is an incredible time to be living in: a time that is calling for change in all our different systems as you so adroitly point out, Matthew. My close friends and I have seen this coming for a long time, and now that it’s happening, it’s like: “Oh my God! We didn’t expect it so soon!” So it is both frightening and awesome as we can witness from different reactions around us: some are in such fear that they are in total denial, blatantly pooh-poohing the guidelines that are given, and continue living the way they want , while others become overly cautious, and won’t even talk to you from the required 6-foot distance.

    But it is also a wonderful time to be alive because CHANGE WILL HAPPEN even though it won’t happen quickly: as Thomas Berry writes in your book MEDITATIONS WITH HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: “We have no consciousness of forming a single community with all (the living and non-living beings) of planet earth. We are so alienated that we are well on our way to devastating the planet in a manner beyond all remedy from either heaven or earth. Extinction of genetic diversity of the earth is so absolute . . . that God himself could remedy the situation only by creating another planet or perhaps another universe.”

    But more and more of us are awakening to a new sense of community: it is really lovely to see so many people loving and giving of themselves in any way they can; being more respectful of Mother Earth, and of her suffering children. It will be a long recuperation indeed, but it has begun, and will keep on growing for we have a loving Father-Mother God at our back!

  3. Avatar
    Margaret Rose Hess

    According to Webster’s, ‘initiation’ is both an entering upon or going in and a teaching that brings a new way of doing things. A spiritual initiation could be both an entering in or embrace of the delightful garden, the Eden, that is our earth, our home. It could at the same time be a willingness to learn about, a reflection on, and an openness to our oneness with all life, and also a new course of study to help us take up our proper role as individual and collective stewards of the ecosystem.
    An initiation is a ceremonial transition between one stage or way of being and another. For example, as children we take from our parents and are sometimes greedy and selfish. When we come of age, we begin to learn to give back to those who have given everything for us. Our time has come, as a species, to grow up spiritually and enter into our role as caregiver for Mother Earth.
    What if all the selfish games we play at, such as getting/having/keeping more, shopping/selling, going/seeing/being seen, pushing/shoving, even war, what if they were all put on hold for a day, a week, a month, a year or even longer? Would that period of holding off, of time out, of giving up and letting be, of silence, of Lent, might the lonely, dormant time seed a new harvest? Certainly we cannot behave differently toward our fellow creatures and the planet that sustains us all unless we are ceremonially ‘born again’ to a new way of being. In this sense, a spiritual initiation would be a confirmation of this change in us.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Margaret,
      Thank you for this expansion on the meaning and value of initiation for humans. I was glad to see you added the ceremonial aspect and the leaving aspect of Initiations, which Webster’s seems to have left out. To me, they are two powerful elements. Sometimes, we just know we are ready to move on without really knowing what the next stage will require or offer.

      Would this season of being house bound and receding from the market place count as a time when most of our selfish games stop? While some people are fighting the virus, and others are concocting internet scams or using the political system for selfish gain, there are a lot of people noticing how much better it is to live with loved ones, have more time to reflect on their lives, and consume far less of everything. It’s not perfect. Its not everyone. But it still could be the catalyst to move towards more mature living. I’m praying for it.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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