Work and Inner Work – Continued

We continue our meditations on work and returning to the Source and how our inner work and outer work complement one another.  Insights to live out in a time of a pandemic. The Tao te Ching teaches us to seek the source.

One with the All. Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash.

Just realize where you come from:

This is the essence of wisdom.

It teaches the value of connecting to source. 

If you don’t realize the source,

you stumble in confusion and sorrow.

When you realize where you come from,

you naturally become tolerant,

disinterested, amused,

kindhearted as a grandmother,

dignified as a king.

Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,

you can deal with whatever life brings you,

and when death comes, you are ready.

Notice what we are promised: peace, harmony, kindness, and the overcoming of the fear of death.  Returning to source, realizing “where you come from,” moves us beyond confusion and sorrow and stumbling.

Embarking on an adventure.  Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

We are promised that we can “deal with whatever life brings us” when we ground ourselves in source.  Aquinas calls God “the source without a source.”  What is source?  Different persons and traditions will name it differently.  For some it is God, Creator, Spirit, Tao.  For others it is history and evolution and the unfolding of the universe.  For others it is all of the above.  For some it is unexplainable Mystery; Silence; Nothingness.  For others it is the Sacred however we name it.  It is that From which we come and To which we shall return.

However we name it, it is bigger than us.  Beyond names.  Beyond controlling.  Beyond possessing. 

Maybe it is Love.  And the love within love.  Or Joy.  And the joy within joy.  Or Light and the Light within Light.  The Tao Te Ching is reminding us is to Return and Remember and Be Embraced by this Source and all the other beings through history who have been so embraced.

Return to the Source. Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash.

It is from that Source that our work derives.  And moves from heart to heart.  Meister Eckhart teaches that “the inward work is God-like and Godly” and for this reason our work, both inner and outer, becomes very large.  Large from within.  As he puts it, “the outward work can never be small if the inward one is great, and the outward work can never be great or good if the inward is small or of little worth.  The inward work always includes in itself all size, all breadth and al length.”

“All size and breadth and length”?  That makes our work very large indeed.  It grows our souls.  The inward work includes our joy, gratitude, reverence; and our silence and stillness; and our grieving and letting go.  All are very large and God-like. 

In short, the Via Positiva and the Via Negativa constitute our mystical work.  These in turn lead to our outer work of creativity and transformation, compassion, justice making and healing. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work, pp. 65f., 82. 

See also: Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful & Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God.

Banner Image: “As one with the Earth, we are never lost.”Los Algarrobos, Panama. Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

How do you name Source? 

Do you see the great size and breadth and length of your inner work? How does that affect your outer work?

Recommended Reading

Natural Grace: Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science 
by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake

Natural Grace, a 208 page inspired dialogue between theologian Matthew Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake, unites wisdom and knowledge from unconventional angles. Considering themselves heretics in their own fields, Matthew and Rupert engage the conversation from postmodern and post-postmodern perspectives, deconstructing both religion and science—while setting the foundation for a new emerging worldview. Having outgrown the paradigms in which they were raised, both Fox and Sheldrake see it as part of their life missions to share the natural synthesis of spirituality and science rooted in a paradigm of evolutionary cosmology.

Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God

Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past

This wonderful event in Orvieto, Italy is postponed to summer 2021.  See our website for new information and dates.
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8 thoughts on “Work and Inner Work – Continued”

  1. Avatar
    Andrey Smakotin

    Many thanks for this wonderful meditation! So beautiful and wise words and fantastic atmosphere with photos! This is very soulful, gentle and meaningful!
    God bless you all!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Audrey,
      Thank you for writing. I hope whatever you are doing these days deepens in its sense of connection through this meditation. We are all living as Creation.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      FOr the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar

    I’m so glad you have a dog! I do also and she’s a wonderful companion. Thank you for what you do each day!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Ellen,
      Thank you for writing. Your comment reminds me of something Kristal Parks often says: Animals are our teachers and our wisdom keepers. It is good to have a resident Sage in the house.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      FOr the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    I absolutely LOVE this meditation, Matthew! Sometimes when I’m going through the Via Negativa I get caught up in the feeling that wants to distract me from God’s all-encompassing, forever faithful Love. But as soon as I turn away from the disturbing thought that produced the undesired feeling, and return to the Source, whom I call Abba Father or Jesus, I feel calmness return, along with deep peace, joy and love. “Realizing where I come from” and who I truly am is all it takes to get there. Thank you!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Vivian,
      Your comment about experiencing the Negativa reminds me of the Eckhart quote: God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction. Sometimes God’s all encompassing love includes some disturbances and undesired feelings so that we can grow in strength, trust, and connection to all living things that suffer. However, these experiences all happen within God’s encompassing love. Take away everything, God is still there.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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