Creation: Our Common Ground of Being and Joy

Creation and its sacredness bind us together.  To meditate on creation reminds us of our common ground which is a holy ground. “Just to be is a blessing, just to live is holy,” says Rabbi Heschel.  All else depends on being.  Being here.  In the universe.  To be here is such a privilege, a sacred presence, a sacred opportunity.

Meditation on the beauty of creation. Video by Om-science & Nature.

This is one reason Joy and Justice go together so rightly.  To fight for justice in any sphere—eco, gender, racial, economic, social—is to fight that the joy of existence, the joy of being, is everyone’s to imbibe.  Justice is about sharing the joy.  The via positiva and the via transformativa are fused in a common destiny–joy is the springboard and energizer for justice-making; and justice-making returns people to their “birthright of joy” as Julian of Norwich put it.

This is also why all religions have creation stories to tell their young and it is from these stories that we learn lessons of how to live wisely.  The Genesis creation story in chapter one tells us time and again, almost like a mantra, that creation is good and very good.  A blessing therefore (“blessing” being a theological word for “goodness.”) 

“One World” A celebration of unity across tribes and peoples by Taboo.

Meister Eckhart calls God “the ground of being” and this was Thich Naht Hanh’s favorite name for the divine.  (He acknowledged getting it from the German theologian Paul Tillich who in turn got it from Eckhart who lived 700 years before him.) 

Says Eckhart, “All that exists rejoices in its existence.”  And, “Everything praises God.”  

Rabbi Heschel talks about “the immense preciousness of being [which] is not an object of analysis but a cause of wonder.”  Eckhart says, “God is isness” and “creation is the giving of being.”  Furthermore, “God is like nothing so much as being.  To the extent that anything has being it resembles God.” 

Tufted gray langur (Semnopithecus priam) stroking a Grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) at Yala National Park – Sri Lanka. Image by Senthi Aathavan Senthilverl on Wikimedia Commons

Every creature loves its own being–when “caterpillars fall from trees, they crawl high on a wall in order to preserve their being.  So noble is being.”

All creatures have being in common, and from the perspective of being, no beings are superior or inferior.  We are all one at that level.  And we are all interconnected.  Being allows life to happen.  Eckhart writes,

God’s isness is my life.  If my life is God’s isness, then God’s isness is my isness and God’s mode is my mode, neither more nor less. 

Furthermore, joy follows, for “all that exists rejoices in its existence.”

A moment’s gentle interaction with a cicada. Photo by Nicki Dugan Pogue on Flickr.

There is an equality of being, for “God loves all creatures equally and fills them with his being,” Eckhart writes: “And we should lovingly meet all creatures in the same way.” 

Here we have a foundation for a truly ecological view of the world. 

Heschel makes the same point when he observes:

…within our wonder we become alive to our living in the great fellowship of all beings and we cease to regard things as opportunities to exploit.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 1, 5, 8f.

Banner Image: A cat and dog cuddle in the grass. Photographer unknown; on Pixabay

Do you believe in the “preciousness of being”?  Do you think our culture does?  Why or why not?

Recommended Reading

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

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10 thoughts on “Creation: Our Common Ground of Being and Joy”

  1. Avatar

    I’m picking up on your comment that we are all interconnected.
    You may be interested to know that the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori (“Mow-ree”), have a word in their Maori language, (which I’ve only just learned about through my Spiritual Directors’ Formation Programme study) –
    It is “whakawhanaungatanga” (Sounds like: Fokka-fun-noan-a- tongue-a).
    It means the interconnectedness and interrelationship of all living and non-living things.
    It is a holistic approach, seeking to understand the total system, not only parts of it.
    The cosmos is a complex “whanau” (the Maori word for family/extended family). Everything belongs and we are all involved in caring for it all.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you Katrina for sharing this Maori word with us. It demonstrates that there is another culture that thinks on interconnectedness…

  2. Avatar

    I love today’s meditation!
    Living without a why. ISNESS.
    It,s an incredible privilege to just be in this amazing place we call home (or eco). To just breathe.
    Our culture is so preoccupied with Consumerism and “knowledge” I Consume or think therefore I am…
    It will do anything It can to run from stillness, silence, sinking, letting be.
    More Eco (home) less Ego…

  3. Avatar

    I wrote this poem sometime in the 1980’s. It was the first time I used the word isness…albeit with a hyphen.

    Poem to honour Einstein’s burning of his
    Cosmological Constant in 1929

    Fudge factors
    original as sin
    stand still Reality so
    we can fill in your
    spaces with knowing
    you mustn’t keep growing

    We need images and models
    to freeze for our heads
    we tie flowing is-ness
    to neat procrustean beds
    stretching then chopping
    a factor here
    a factor there

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Gwen, we love your poem, we only wish we had more room to print it in full. Thank you for sharing !!!

  4. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    The words in today’s DM…GOD loves all creatures and fills them with his being. And we should lovingly meet all creatures in the same way, reflect a precious truth and divine reality that we are all invited to be and live in. If only…. then perhaps humanity would free itself from its self-made inferiority and superiority complex that is so prevalent in this world today. Will humanity choose to surrender this distressing disguise? Will humanity choose vulnerably to free itself from this deceptive protective armor and dare to meet another in the nakedness of our being filled with that which is inherently good and beautiful. Will humanity choose to stand on the sacred grounds of humility as a way of meeting one another, receptive and responsive to the presence and essence of God being already there within each one? These choices are each one of ours to make daily as we encounter one another. I think of Jesus at the Well, where he and the Samaritan woman encountered one another and the vulnerability and honesty of the moment and how through this unpretentious meeting the love of God transformed her and set her free to love… to love herself, others, all of creation and life itself. Receiving, accepting, acknowledging and responding to the precious truth and divine reality that she herself was, is and ever shall be.. a being filled with this love of God …and that she was forever being changed through the unfolding and blossoming of becoming herself….as she chose again and again to be and live …. being loved to love. Like her, will humanity make this choice too? …. if only.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is one of the most characteristic stories of Jesus. It showed his total acceptance despite race, religion, gender and morality. It showed that Jesus does accept us just as we are–flaws and all !!!

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