Acedia, Energy Loss, and Zealotry

The first chakra is the beginning of all the chakras – it is where the fire, the seed, the snake lie coiled up and ready for action. If that fire, seed, or snake is not uncoiled, no energy happens. We are listless.

The Kundalini serpents of energy rising through the chakras. Image by VaXzine on Flickr.

Acedia is the first of the sins of the spirit because it is where our energy dries up.

Not long ago I met an African American pastor in a city church who told me how sad she is at how little energy the young people she knows have. “They are so tired. I am much more energetic than they are!” she exclaimed.

Another adult I spoke with said to me, “This generation of young people seems to wake up tired. Why is that?”

Where has all the energy gone? That is the question of acedia.

Another danger that looms today lies at the opposite end of the spectrum in intense zealotry. We see zealotry playing out on social media and in political discourse that has lost all boundaries.

Riot of tribalism: “Capitol Breach 2.” Photo by Brett Davis on Flickr.

Is intense zealotry also an issue with the first chakra? Surely it is. For it is about tribalism, “my tribe is better than yours and has the right to rule over yours.”

We find this in racial supremacy or in political supremacy whereby we reduce politics to mere political parties and fail to ask the questions about values that transcend political identity – such as fair elections.

The first chakra is about the whole, but tribalism contradicts a sense of the whole. Arrogance drives inclusivity out the door.  And arrogance (not pride) is the second capital sin that is grounded in a misdirected first chakra. 


Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, p. 190f

Banner Image: “Apathy.” Photo by Parker Whitson on Unsplash

To read the written transcript of Matthew’s video teaching, click HERE.

Queries for Contemplation

What examples of zealotry and tribalism do you find in our current national discourse? What ways exist to melt that divisiveness and create an authentic sense of zeal for beauty and healing and wholeness?


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3 thoughts on “Acedia, Energy Loss, and Zealotry”

  1. Avatar

    With regards to today’s DM and the queries for contemplation, what came is an image. This image was one of a see-saw. At each end of the see-saw, sat a tribe, digging its heals in, misusing its power, throwing its weight around. Back and forth the conflict went.

    But what if they made a different choice, took a stand to do something different and began walking towards one another on the see-saw? What if they began walking towards one another, with a compassionate desire to really see, hear, and listen to one another, coming to know one another as One, yet different? Would they find an equilibrium of balancing diversity with unity?

    Whom is brave enough to stand up and take the first step towards one another? Whom is willing to trust in the true power of Divine Love, and the wisdom of Her ways, that is prompting, leading and guiding us all, to be this one, whom makes a different choice?

    Who trusts in Her words of truth whispered, “Be not afraid, for you are not alone, when you make this choice! Even if you lose your balance and fall, you will be comforted, consoled and encouraged to begin again.”

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, I like your image of the see-saw but even more your conclusion that those “Who trusts in Her [Divine Truth’s] words, “Be not afraid, for you are not alone, when you make this choice! Even if you lose your balance and fall, you will be comforted, consoled and encouraged to begin again.” Thank you for your words, Jeanette !!!

  2. Avatar

    Matthew, thank you for your spiritual insights and wisdom that explain a lot of the sources of our deeper personal and modern(and historical) spiritual problems that have serious and destructive effects on our personal, interpersonal, social, environmental, and cosmic environments. God bless us all on our contemplative spiritual journeys as Co-creators with God’s Spirit of Love-Truth-Life-Peace towards God’s Divine Plan of Loving Creative Oneness….

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