We have been posing the question, “What does it mean to be a human being?” We have considered over several weeks the “10 C’s” of Creation Spirituality that I put forward in my book, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human to explore that demanding and urgent question about our common humanity. Up to now we have considered the following “C’s”: Critical Thinking; Chaos; Cosmology/Ecology; Character and Chakra Development; Courage; Contemplation or Meditation. Now we move on to Creativity.
There is a natural bridge, an organic link, between the emptying we undergo in meditation and the creativity that follows. Out of the Via Negativa comes the Via Creativa.
In yesterday’s DM we spoke about the experience of Nothingness. Meister Eckhart’s response to nothingness is this:
I once had a dream. I dreamt that I, even though a man, was pregnant with nothingness, and that out of this Nothingness, God was born.
Yes, we are meant to birth nothing less than divinity itself in our work and efforts at love-making and justice-making. For God is love and God is justice.
If our species efforts to move from mere knowledge to wisdom, creativity lies at the heart of this move. In the wisdom teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures, Wisdom is not only artisan but the maker of the world. She plays before the creation of the world. She is Eros at play.
Only play draws in the imagination and creativity. She is playful–full of play. Carl Jung says there is no creativity without play and fantasy. You can tell how much a culture honors and seeks after wisdom by examining what role creativity, art and imagination play in the educational project.
Art is key to the pedagogical revolution called for today. Not capitalist art—art as object or objets d’art or art as investment. Not art as commodity or a consumer object. No, art as soul work, that is what is needed. Art as process, art as the making of connections and the drawing forth of the wisdom inside oneself, the wisdom inside all of us.
“There is wisdom in all creative works,” said the twelfth-century musician, artist, scientist and mystic Hildegard of Bingen. It is in creativity that wisdom will shine forth.
Hildegard invented a word viriditas or greening power. She celebrates “the exquisite greening of trees and grasses, of earth’s lush greening.” She says that all of creation and humanity in particular is “showered with greening refreshment, the vitality to bear fruit.” We are here to bear fruit, “fruit that remains” (this being a promise Jesus makes at the last supper).
Hildegard sees a “greening love [that] hastes to the aid of all” and “people who breath this dew produce rich fruit.” For her, Christ brings “lush greenness” to “shriveled and wilted” people and their institutions. The Divine word “is all verdant greening, all creativity.” It flows through all of us and all creation.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human, p. 97.
And from Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, p. 43.
Also see Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet.
Banner Image: Student artists at play in “Artists in the Garden,” one of the programs of the Chicago Wisdom Project. Used with permission.
Do you sense a “shriveled and wilted” people who could use some “greening power” to awaken them, us? What does Meister Eckhart’s dream mean to you?
The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human
The A.W.E. Project reminds us that awe is the appropriate response to the unfathomable wonder that is creation… A.W.E. is also the acronym for Fox’s proposed style of learning – an approach to balance the three R’s. This approach to learning, eldering, and mentoring is intelligent enough to honor the teachings of the Ancestors, to nurture Wisdom in addition to imparting knowledge, and to Educate through Fox’s 10 C’s. The 10 C’s are the core of the A.W.E. philosophy and process of education, and include: compassion, contemplation, and creativity. The A.W.E. Project does for the vast subject of “learning” what Fox’s Reinvention of Work did for vocation and Original Blessing did for theology. Included in the book is a dvd of the 10 C’s put to 10 video raps created and performed by Professor Pitt.
“An awe-based vision of educational renewal.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.
Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen
An introduction to the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen, Illuminations reveals the life and teachings of one of the greatest female artists and intellectuals of the Western Mystical Tradition. At the age of 42, she began to have visions; these were captured as 36 illuminations–24 of which are recorded in this book along with her commentaries on them.
“If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.” – Dr Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author of Sacred Voices.
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 Fundamentalism, Living in Sin