Yesterday, we celebrated Walt Whitman’s birthday as a “Bard of 7th Chakra Numinosity.” One valuable reason for comparing the seven chakras and seven capital sins is that to do so empowers us to face evil and not flinch or run from it.
As we saw in yesterday’s meditation on Walt Whitman, to hold to a vision of an inclusive and celebrative community—the work of the seventh chakra–is to resist temptations to narrow “isms” that tempt us. Community–the community of all light beings including ancestors, angels or spirits, and other humans committed to building community together—is the medicine for that which tears community apart: Hatred, Self-hatred, Violence, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Adultism and so much more.
Let us turn to the healthy seventh chakra therefore even while we name and lament the unhealthy or off-center seventh chakra. There we will be nurtured and strengthened.
Among indigenous peoples the community hold primacy over notions of individualism. Identity comes from one’s relation to the whole. To cosmos. To the tribe. To the whole community, local and distant. As Vine Deloria puts it,
The possibility of conceiving of an individual alone in a tribal religious sense is ridiculous. The very complexity of tribal life and the interdependence of people on one another makes this conception improbable at best, a terrifying loss of identity at worst.
Community is another word for Creation. If all creation is made of light—which is what today’s physics is telling us—then all community is in some way the gathering of light, the relationship of light beings to each other. The gathering of light and sending it out is the work of the seventh chakra.
So much community has been lost in the modern world where parts and not the whole were emphasized. Loneliness abounds. To survive, our post-modern times must rediscover community. Science is helping by reaffirming for us the interdependence and interconnectivity of all things—such teachings that mystics have known for centuries. But our institutions and professions from education to law to business and economics and politics is often stuck in modern modes of individualism. Post-modern values would return community to the fore.
Communities exist everywhere in nature. Wes Jackson, director of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, speaks of the relationship between soil and the human.
Soil is a placenta or matrix, a living organism which is larger than the life it supports, a tough elastic membrane which has given rise to many life forms.
But soil is not being acknowledged for what it is. “It is itself now dying. It is a death that is utterly senseless, and portends our own.”
To ignore community is lethal. Deadly.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, “Community and Interdependence,” in Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, pp. 92, 80f.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Baltimore Ceasefire Peace Walk March by communities calling for an end to gun violence, 8/6/2017. Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you feel the tension in trying to move beyond modernist individualism consciousness to a post-modern (and pre-modern) sense of community and interconnectivity? The move is not easy or quick, is it? Is soil part of your community?
One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths
Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit