My Deep prayer for the New Year is that we humans continue to do our INNER WORK that can lead to far healthier OUTER WORK.  

From the Howard Thurman and Sue Bailey Thurman Collections, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.

With that in mind, our DM’s recently have been focusing on the issue of a healthier masculine and feminine gender balance in our consciousness and ultimately in our institutions and professions including religious, political, economic, media, educational and academic institutions.

Some people seem to think that this healthier balance is in competition with the Webb Telescope launch.  I heartily disagree and that is one reason I cited from the profound statement from Howard Thurman about the importance of the “curiosity of our race” in our quest for our origins—a quest that can be deeply enhanced by Webb if it is successful.

I remind you of the teaching from Thomas Merton that I have cited in a previous DM. [see it here]  I repeat it here.

Even if humans can fly, so what?  There are flying ants.  Even if man flies all over the universe, he is still nothing but a flying ant until he recovers a human center and a human spirit in the depth of his own being.”  

Gazing upon the horizon. Photo by Kyler Boone on Unsplash.

But part of that human center is, as Thurman insists, a “curiosity about our origins.”  This is where Webb Telescope can assist us.

Merton goes on: What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves.  This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it all the rest are not only useless but disastrous.  

This ‘most important of all voyages’ is an inner journey into our deepest selves to see what is holding us back from our best self.  

Webb is not about escaping earth–it is about bringing more knowledge about Father Sky and therefore our deepest history to Earth.  How Earth came about therefore. am against Elon Musk’s notion that a few rich people will start life over on Mars and save our species.  Quite the opposite—we should stay here and do the INNER work that will allow us to reinvent our outer work and repair the Earth as we know it.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, pp. 121f. 

See also Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Love – Occupy Wall Street Meditation: Meditation at the OWS May Day 2012 Rally at Union Square, New York.” Photo by Paul Stein on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

How has your inner life expanded because of the gifts we have received from the Hubble Telescope?  How might our inner lives expand from the gifts we might receive from the Webb Telescope?  Might it bring people into more cooperation as distinct from competition?

Recommended Reading

A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey

In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.
“This wise and marvelous book will profoundly inspire all those who love Merton and want to know him more deeply.” — Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

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7 thoughts on “A New Year Prayer”

  1. Avatar

    Both the inner journey and the outer journey are equally important and neccessary in discovering our true origins. The abyss to be traveled is both the as above and the so below, as well as the abyss from the head to the heart. Each of these mirrors the other.

    What the images from Hubble awoke within me, was the utter beauty of God’s creation and the infinite creative expressions and manifestations of this. What comes to my remembrance are the words, “What is it that makes you God, mindful of us?”… us whom have often scarred, defacing such beauty within ourselves, each other and all of creation? What also at the same time comes to my remembrance are those moments of being so filled with awe and wonder at the beauty before me, I was left speechless, filled with gratitude for the moment of truly seeing, experiencing and encountering such creative expressions and manifestions of God’s beauty.

    What arises from my heart then is an Indigenious prayer, which I’ve added to, as my prayer for this year.
    May we awaken to the beauty before us.
    May we awaken to the beauty behind us.
    May we awaken to the beauty above us.
    May we awaken to the beauty below us.
    May we awaken to the beauty within us.
    May this awakening open the eyes of our hearts,
    minds and souls to truly begin tending to, nurturing,
    caring for, and protecting all that is beautiful before us,
    behind us, above us, below us, and within us; in the Spirit
    of mindful compassion, soulful mercy and heartfelt love…
    for this beauty is a natural expression and manifestation
    of our true origins living in right relationship with
    the all and the everything of creation.

    1. Richard Reich

      Jeanette, you site the Hermetic doctrine of “as above so below and as within so without.” These words ring true when thinking about the interiority of ourselves. And thak you for your insightful prayer/poem…

  2. Avatar
    Susan Alice Mufson

    Firstly, I totally agree with Matthew about the wonder-filled possibilities of the Webb telescope. Secondly (full disclosure— I’m a psychotherapist with a Jungian leaning) , I want to emphasize that the deep transformation that comes from the inward encounter and exploration must involve confronting our own shadows, which can initially seem like a frightening undertaking, but is invaluable.

  3. Avatar

    I’m glad Matthew clarified that the inner journey is also very valuable in our Contemplative Spiritual journey and an important part of Creation Spirituality. The Sacredness of our inner and outer spiritual journeys is also beautifully integrated in indigenous culture/spirituality as exemplified by the beautiful indigenous prayer quoted by Jeanette.

  4. Avatar

    Beautiful, challenging quotation from Thomas Merton – “Even if man flies all over the universe, he is still nothing but a flying ant until he recovers a human center and a human spirit in the depth of his own being”

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