A few days ago, I was talking with a woman who told me how she tries to spend two hours every day working in her garden. As she described the experience, it was clear it was a spiritual practice for her—she got high on it. Ecstasy was part of her experience. I reminded her that the Persian word for garden was also the word for paradise and she was thrilled to hear that.
How readily we can forget that nature is a temple (or mosque) and that the divine dwells therein! How, as Biblical scholar Krister Stendahl instructs us, the word basileia that we translate as “kingdom of God” can also be translated simply creation. That creation is the kingdom/queendom of God.
Jesus teaches that “the reign of God is among you” and many of his parables underscored the simplicity and diversity of the reign of God, which at times was like a mustard seed, at times like leaven, at times like a net, at times like a gathering of sheep and goats. Everyday things–the kingdom/queendom of God!
And yet so rare because we have eyes and do not see, ears and do not hear. Like the Buddha, Jesus taught that humanity has to wake up to see differently, to realize how close to heaven we already are.
In contrast to experiencing the garden as paradise, Thomas Berry perceives an “inner rage” in our souls toward the earth.
Only now have we begun to listen with some attention and with a willingness to respond to the earth’s demands that we cease our industrial assault, that we abandon our inner rage against the conditions of our earthly existence, that we renew our human participation in the grand liturgy of the universe.
Is there an “inner rage” we are carrying round inside of us toward Mother Earth? Toward the “mother” and the “feminine” and toward the mother in us all? As well as toward the Earth itself?
As I have pointed out elsewhere, the effort to “climb Jacob’s ladder” to escape matter (“materia” in latin) and mother (from “mater” in Latin) is baked into century after century of spiritual practice. Maybe this is one place of the origin of an “inner rage.” One that we see in the fierce denial of climate change in our day as well as the fierce effort to control women’s bodies at all cost.
Is patriarchy born of that “inner rage” which taps so directly into the reptilian brain?
If so, then the return of the divine feminine and the “motherhood of God” is essential medicine for our very survival. So too is ejecting patriarchy in favor of a healthy masculine which includes a sacred marriage of the divine feminine and sacred masculine. This needs to begin with our inner selves, our souls and psyches and imaginations and move from there into our institutions from education to politics to religion to media to economics to agriculture. Our inner work becomes our outer work.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
Also Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, # 360.
Banner Image: “Loggers with time on their hands IMG_5792” by F.Eatherington is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Do you recognize an “inner rage” at work today including a rage toward the earth? How do we calm an “inner rage” against the earth? Against one another? Against our bodies?
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God
Join Matthew Fox for a thought-provoking 7-week course: Answer the Call for an Uncommon Life Through the Mystical Teachings of St. Hildegard, Tuesdays, 6/15 to 7/27. While the course has begun, registration remains open, with recordings of past classes available. Learn more HERE.
Join us for a Virtual Teach-in with Isa Gucciardi and Matthew Fox, hosted by Rev. Cameron Trimble.
August 13-14, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Session 1: Friday, August 13 at 4pm-6pm PT
Session 2: Saturday, August 14 at 9am-12pm PT
Session 3: Saturday, August 14 at 12:30pm-2:30pm PT