We continue our meditations on Evil and Hatred. To go deeper, to face these realities, we must become stronger. How do we do that?
Just as one does not go into a mine without a lantern, so too, one does not take on Evil without preparation, inner preparation. It is necessary to bring a lantern into the darkness that Evil and its shadow spread. Here are some practices to consider.
1. Root yourself in the Sacred. Wherever you find it—in nature, in music, in prayer, in Scripture, in reading the mystics, in studying the stars, etc.
2. Let the Sacred take you to the Source. Aquinas: “God is a source without a source.”
3. Remember Thomas Merton: “Every non-two-legged creature is a saint.” Hang out with saints. The more-than-two-legged ones like your dog or cat or horse or bird or plants or trees, etc.
4. Fill up on goodness. Original Goodness (Aquinas). Original Wisdom (Hildegard). Original Blessing. Original Buddha Nature (Buddhists). Original Christ Nature, the Cosmic Christ in us (Christians). Image of God (Jews). Etc.
5. Become a camel. That means, learn to store your experiences of goodness and beauty, wisdom and insight, and the reverence and Joy that comes with them, the Trust and the Gratitude. Be a camel carrying such memories and experiences into the desert, the void, the via negative that awaits you.
6. Be a light. To yourself first. Find the light within, the “spark of the soul” within that Eckhart talks about where a holy birth takes place constantly.
7. Remember the Breakthroughs, the ecstasies, the Oneings, that generate in you experiences of Immensity, Intensity, and Intimacy. Carry them with you wherever you go and wherever you find yourself whether among friends or foes, alone or with others.
8. Practice emptying and taste Nothingness. Bring Nothingness to the table.
9. Practice subtracting, knowing that “the soul grows by subtraction, not by addition.” (Eckhart)
10. Practice Forgiving.
11. Call on the Black Madonna to assist your at-home-ness with darkness and mystics like Mechtild of Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart, John of the Cross, Hafiz, Rumi and others familiar with the apophatic Divinity, the via negativa and dark night of the soul.
12. Roll up your sleeves and go to work. “Hope is a verb with the sleeves rolled up.” (David Orr) Work like hell—and with imagination and creativity—for Justice. And for healing.
See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, Part I, “Blessings of the Flesh: The Sacred Flesh,” (of the Universe, the Earth, the Human Body including the Seven Chakras), pp. 21-130.
And Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 297-307, 231-244.
Also see Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Prayer before action: protestors gather at the San Francisco Civic Center in a sunrise ceremony (11/15/2016) supporting the water protectors at Standing Rock. The ceremony was followed by a march to the SF Army Corps of Engineers to stop permission for the laying of pipe under the Missouri River, a source of water for the tribe and millions of others. Photo by Peg Hunter on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Which of these practices are you already engaged in? Which other might render you even more courageous and alive and strong enough to stand up to Evil in our fraught times?
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