The Mystical Invitation, continued

There is great wisdom in our species and in Western spiritual traditions, but much that is there needs a new birth and a fresh beginning. As a Westerner I must begin where I stand within my own culture and its traditions. We in the West must take these insights into our hearts on a regular basis, allow them to play in the heart, and then take them into our work and citizenship and family and community. This is how all healthy and deep awakenings happen; they begin with the heart and flow out from there.

A brief introduction to The Cosmic Mass and its experiential presentation of the spiritual journey. For more information on how the Cosmic Mass is reinventing worship, click HERE.

The crises we find ourselves in as a species require that as a species we shake up all our institutions — including our religious ones — and reinvent them. Change is necessary for our survival, and we often turn to the mystics at critical times like this. Jung said: “Only the mystics bring what is creative to religion itself.”

Jesus was a mystic shaking up his religion and the Roman empire; Buddha was a mystic who shook up the prevailing Hinduism of his day; Gandhi was a mystic shaking up Hinduism and challenging the British empire; and Martin Luther King Jr. shook up his tradition and America’s segregationist society. The mystics walk their talk and talk (often in memorable poetic phraseology) their walk.

Footage of Matthew Fox’s protests for Church reform at Wittenberg and the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore in Rome.

Deep down, each one of us is a mystic. When we tap into that energy we become alive again and we give birth. From the creativity that we release is born the prophetic vision and work that we all aspire to realize as our gift to the world.  Getting in touch with the mystic inside is the beginning of our deep service.

It is for this reason that we have been examining and meditating on a Return to the Source which includes Creation and what Thomas Aquinas calls “the Source without a source,” that is Divinity in recent meditations.  We have listened to Aboriginal voices, African and African American and Native American voices, to Jewish mystics and Buddhist teachers, to Sufi and Christian teachers. 

Sufi “Maulvi (teacher) in Meditation” Painting by Indischer
Maler. From the British Museum; on Wikimedia Commons.

It is striking how much they share in common in urging us to return to the depth of our selves, to the true self which is so much deeper and more creative than is our false self which we structure to please others and whereby we escape from our deepest and truest selves.

Recovering the mystics among our ancestors and within ourselves is a post-modern thing to do.  The modern era, as we saw yesterday, was hostile to mysticism.  The pre-modern era was not–it sought an experience of one-ness with the universe—consider not only indigenous peoples everywhere but also the great genius Thomas Aquinas of the thirteenth century who said: “The greatest thing about the human is that we are capable of the universe.”  We can one with the universe; and one with the divine—and that is mysticism.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, pp. 2f.

See also: Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, chapter four.

Banner Image: Lotus blossoms. The lotus must be rooted in the mud at the bottom of the water to send up its breathtaking blossoms. Photo by Hayden Scott on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

Are you at home with calling yourself a “mystic”?  Why?  Or why not?  Do you sense an “inner self” as well as a “true self” within your self that is other than an “outer self” or “false self?”

Recommended Reading

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Conversations On Aquinas: Caroline Myss

As Matthew Fox’s travels have been curtailed due to the coronavirus, he is sharing a series of conversations with revolutionary thinkers and spiritual teachers on the topics explored in his latest book, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times. In this video, he and Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit and Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can, discuss one of the greatest mystics and prophetic scientists of all time: What does Thomas Aquinas have to say to us today?

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

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3 thoughts on “The Mystical Invitation, continued”

  1. Avatar

    Good morning and thank you for this cosmic food for spiritual thoughts. Yes it is striking how much common ground there is, I am struck by the same chords that run through things, music for instance, drums be they African or Scottish or Cuban or Native American, Western or Eastern, all echoing something mystic and ancient, grounding and yet soundwaves reaching skywards like smoke signals, the beat like the heart, as one. The inner child just hears a heartbeat. Thank you so much see you tomorrow.

  2. Avatar

    Yes, I must admit that I am uncomfortable calling myself a mystic, in spite of the fact that I’ve had mystical experiences off and on throughout my life. Why? I’m not sure . . . Maybe it’s that I have a misconception about what makes a person a mystic? And I just don’t fit that category? Mystics, according to my idea, are people above the norm: they’re always connected to the One and are already living their heaven on earth. Yet, I know that’s not absolutely true, as reading The Cosmic Christ tells me. ‘T’aint’ easy to live consciously, become more and more Christlike, at-one with Mother-Father God; loving myself and others as much as I can; accepting what is; staying centered, no matter what. In other words, It’s a lot of WORK and doesn’t always come easily. Then, I still let my thoughts get the best of me at times, although not as frequently.
    But there are long periods when I’m so full up with Joy, Peace and Love, that I think I’ve got it!! Until, Whoops! There’s the little ‘me’ again! And that’s the way it goes . . . Que voulez-vous!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Vivian,
      Matthew tells us that religion is of the head, but mysticism is of the heart. It is uniting with Source and with the Universe. The result is creativity and joy. You don’t need to ignore yourself, in fact your own self, made lovingly by God, is your vessel to the depths. It is not perfection that propels you into divine spheres, it is you, as you are, needy and imperfect that enters the union of creature and creator, of human and divine, Resistance only creates more resistance. I, myself, ride my thoughts into that mystical union. When my mind starts wandering, I let it go….and suddenly, I’m engulfed in joy.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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