This week is the 18-month anniversary of our Daily Meditations. Happy Anniversary to all our helpers and to all our readers and meditators!
Hopefully these meditations are nourishing you in your work to stay grounded and to serve people in various ways during the on-going COVID pandemic as well as the climate emergency. To be strong and creative in demanding times. See below for ways you can support our efforts.
For today’s meditation, we offer a conversation between Matthew Fox and Reciprocity Foundation founder Adam Bucko on the role and future of ritual in these times….
Matthew Fox: I see ritual as the inner work of the tribe, the inner work of the group. And that’s just as important as the inner work of the individual—you need both. In many ways, ritual is what makes tribe and community possible. This is why African ritual teacher Malidoma Some, says “there’s no community without ritual.”
When you look at today’s broken world, it’s all about loss of community, isn’t it? We’ve lost our pattern of connection with the soil, with the forest, with the animals, with the cosmos itself, as well as with other human beings.
Adam Bucko: That’s why it’s so easy for us to participate in structures that actually are hurtful to people and the planet, because we’re not connected to those that we’re hurting.
Fox: Yes, I am thinking of bomber pilots who drop bombs from forty thousand feet or oil executives making decisions from high up their skyscrapers about the future of the planet and climate change—such decision-making is not connected to the beings who are affected by their decisions.
Bucko: So what makes ritual possible and what makes ritual successful?
Fox: An African American theologian said to me over forty years ago, when I was living in Chicago, “I think 95% of white worship is dead.” And I asked, “how do you define dead worship?” “Dead worship is where you walk in, and you walk out the same person—where no transformation really happens.” My response was: “Well then, you are wrong. I think 98% of white worship is dead.”
People are hungry for ritual. Why wouldn’t they be? It’s in our bones and DNA. Humans and other animals do it, but church is ineffective at it at this time in history, because its forms are modern, but we are living in postmodern times. And the synagogue isn’t much better, frankly, and for the same reason.
By “modern” in form I mean the whole idea of sitting in benches and being preached at. Lines of benches, like lines or printing type. Very industrial. Very mechanistic.
Circles and dancing and spiral dancing cuts through such modern patterns of sitting passively. Awakening the body awakens spirit.
Bucko: You have certainly created rituals that really do transform people, especially your Cosmic Mass. It not only speaks to young people but also brings different generations together.
Fox: In my Coming of the Cosmic Christ book, I laid out six principles for revitalizing ritual.
Reset all of worship in a cosmological context.
Bring the body back.
Bring play back.
Make room for the via negativa—darkness, silence, grief.
Awaken and nurture the prophet.
Bring participation back.
Each of these principles is so important. We spoke to Number Two above, that of the role of body to awaken spirit. In many languages around the world, “spirit” and “breath” are the same words (also in Biblical languages). In many African languages, spirit, breath and dance are the same word.
(To be continued.)
Adapted from Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation, pp. 138f.
See also Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 212-225.
Banner Image: Rajasthani folk dance, Republic Day 2011 at Akshara school, Yelahanka. Photo by Kandukuru Nagarjun on Flickr.
Do you agree that connections that ritual can bring are vital to human community, joy and survival? What follows from that?
Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation
Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world. Incorporating the words of young activist leaders culled from interviews and surveys, the book provides a framework that is deliberately interfaith and speaks to our profound yearning for a life with spiritual purpose and for a better world.
“Occupy Spirituality is a powerful, inspiring, and vital call to embodied awareness and enlightened actions.”
~~ Julia Butterfly Hill, environmental activist and author of The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods
The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance
In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.
A Special Invitation…
We are marking a very special anniversary this week.
We invite you to look back over the Meditations you have received, and if they have spoken to your heart and soul, or supported your spiritual journey, we invite you to contribute your support.
As you know, the Meditations have always been, and will continue to be free, and some of our team gladly volunteer their time. However, we pay the helpers who put in the hours of daily art curation, coordination, and technology that bring the Meditations to you.
So if you could afford to gift us modestly or more than modestly with a tax-deductible contribution, that would be very much welcomed.
Click the link below to contribute.
Or simply mail your check to:
Matthew Fox Legacy Project
PO BOX 424533 San Francisco, CA 94142
If you cannot, we understand that also. Please spread the news of our daily meditations and visit our bookstore.