Recently a reader wrote that she felt troubled hearing about contemplation when there are so many people facing crisis including kids
…who don’t have food…for whom school was their place of safety and where they received hot meals. I think of women stuck home with their abusers. I think of all the people facing eviction, unable to pay bills because our society never believed their lives to be valuable. I think about the farm workers….
She asked: “How do we incorporate this tension?”
She is right of course. A moment of apocalypse like we are living through brings plenty of tension with it. Contemplation needs to lead to action; yet action needs to flow from a deep place of love, goodness and Source.
A crisis like the pandemic becomes a watershed for all the “tensions” we as a society may have refused to face over the years and centuries. The “sins of our fathers” (and mothers) can pile up—and spill over.
Take slavery and genocide and racism as examples along with ecocide and our neglect and abuse of Mother Earth.
Observe how the rugged individualism mythos that characterizes so much of our value systems can easily take precedence over a sense of the common good.
Observe the failures in health care access and the glaring and growing chasm between haves and have-nots.
A recent example is how workers at the White House are now afraid to go to work because COVID-19 has invaded—so workers there will receive regular testings.
Yet the message from the WH to other workers is that they should just suck it up and go to work without testing or with minimal testing. (Especially workers in meat processing plants, all of whom are poor and most of whom are people of color).
This does not pass the justice test by any stretch of the imagination.
Work is the place where our values most hit the road. Work exposes what values we cherish and believe in. Work may be the single greatest witness to our so-called beliefs. And to our character.
Too often a sentimental culture equates love with home life–but work? It’s everyone for themselves. Survival of the fittest.
What work do we do? Whom do we serve by our work? How are we expressing our love in our work?
One of the gifts of the pandemic may prove to be an awakening consciousness about work.
Work is our love in action. The mystics knew this and why inner work and outer work must marry.
Here is how John of the Cross put it,
Forever at his door
I gave my heart and soul. My fortune too.
I’ve no flock any more,
No other work in view.
My occupation: Love. It’s all I do.
Queries for Contemplation
Can we say that “love is all I do” in our work? How is our work an effort at love? The people we honor today for their courage in assisting others during this pandemic from food growers and distributors to care givers at hospitals, do you see in them a valuable marriage of inner and outer work?
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.