Nothingness and Supreme Court Folly, continued

In yesterday’s DM, we meditated on the important mystical experience called tasting Nothingness.  Nothingness has been served up in generous proportions by the flood of ugly and mean and dangerous and “embarrassing” decisions released by the unsupreme court the past ten days. 

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified on June 28 that the former White House tenant waved off concerns about armed rallygoers marching to the Capitol on Jan. 6. Washington Post.

Many people are feeling deeply depressed by the goings on, including the Jan 6 commission which, while doing its job faithfully and professionally, is unveiling truths about our past government that are painful to learn about.  How a president, still cheered on by many, personally conspired and acted and invited thugs to a sacred ritual to certify votes cast by hundreds of millions of Americans and knew they were armed and dangerous but, because “they will not harm me,” encouraged and wanted to join them in the insurrectionist rampage that killed five people, injured hundreds and sought to kill a vice president and speaker of the house.

And it is this individual who appointed the three most recent members of the supreme court.  When he goes to prison for his lies and crimes, might that in some way invalidate their presence on the court?

Nothingness is part of the mystical journey that empties us.  Christians call it kenosis and also the way of the cross.  There is much to learn from our encounter with Nothingness.  It is integral to experiences of suffering. 

As the United States Supreme Court ends their historic term by lurching to the right in significant rulings,
looks at pivotal cases on deck that may shake up the country in the court’s coming term.

Slaves tasted it.  Their descendants in Jim Crow times tasted it.

Indigenous peoples having their culture ripped from them tasted it. 

Women taste it on a regular basis—so much so that Carol Christ reports that “women’s experiences of nothingness begin at birth and continue throughout their lives.”

And now many Americans are tasting it as we watch our democracy melt in front of our eyes.

What is the mystical teaching about Nothingness?  There is hidden some wisdom within Nothingness.  Thomas Merton called it “the golden zero.” 

Gandhi said that to be active in the struggle for justice, you must prepare yourself “for mountains of Suffering” and that “if you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth, you must reduce yourself to a zero.”  

Indeed, he says that “true individuality consists in reducing oneself to zero.  The secret of life is selfless service.”  Nothingness is often part of our deepest callings and vocations.  Gandhi says: “The highest ideal for us is to become free from attachment.”  to be continued

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 148-156.

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

Banner Image: Police guard barricades at the U.S. Supreme Court on the day Roe v. Wade is overturned. Photo by Ted Eytan on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Have you had experiences of both personal nothingness and of social or political nothingness?  How did these experiences transform you or light fires in you?  How does it feed your vocation?

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12 thoughts on “Nothingness and Supreme Court Folly, continued”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today our Queries for Contemplation ask us: “Have you had experiences of both personal nothingness and of social or political nothingness?” Yes, but from a sociological and psychological point of view I think a better word for nothingness in this context is “Anomie.” The definition of anomie is “a personal state of isolation and anxiety resulting from a lack of social control and regulation and its related words are: rootlessness, meaninglessness, alienation and isolation. Now this, is what you describe when you say: “Slaves tasted it. Their descendants in Jim Crow times tasted it. Indigenous peoples having their culture ripped from them tasted it. Women taste it on a regular basis—so much so that Carol Christ reports that ‘women’s experiences of nothingness begin at birth and continue throughout their lives.’ And now many Americans are tasting it as we watch our democracy melt in front of our eyes.”
    “How do these experiences transform you or light fires in you?” There was a day when many Christians were working towards bringing the promised “millennium” of peace to the world. Right now however, it seems impossible–with politicians hell-bent for war, money, and weapons to buy for war and sell to other countries (to use on us and our allies), and with Christians that believe that God is going to burn up the earth and start over again, so why try to preserve it?
    “How does it feed your vocation?” It makes me work for peace and understanding, which I do through teaching…

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    Thank you for this depth. You keep getting better and better in the communication of truths, a distilling. Over the past two weeks, i watch myself go from feeling anger and outrage to quiet rootedness in something much greater knowing there is a plan and my part on path of truth and justice will be shown to me. I am grateful for your work and teachings. You make a difference ?.

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    We’re born to die, to grieve, mourn, and moan over the serial losses, disappointments, and diminishments of a sorrowful and unjust world. The spirit of these recent DM’s reflect Matthew’s bitter aftertaste of drinking from the dregs of this worldly cup, the same one Jesus initially shied from in fear, but obediently swallowed at Gethsemane. Our whole world and journey is a Gethsemane (which means “wine press”), riddled as it is with sorrow, suffering, injustice, and death, the technology-enhanced “automatic weapons” of darkness that squeeze (press) the biological and psychological life (juices) from the unsuspecting grapes of our being. Such is necessary to change them into the godly wine of self-sacrifice and service. Nobody likes the bitter taste of dying, but it must be swallowed in resignation repeatedly like so much castor oil. One can either resign, or be dragged into it, either way you’re going. It’s inescapable, like being dragged through a knot-hole, the quantum “zero point” birth canal (Alpha) from which all life bubbles and froths into space-time, and via which it returns (Omega) in the heave-ho rhythms of divine respiration. Get used to it, the bung hole is part of the wine barrel, the only gateway of deliverance to a better world. Said Solomon, “It’s far better to go to a funeral than a party, because everyone must die, and the living need to remember this, and take it to heart” (Ecc. 7:2). There’s no scarcity of funerals these days, or occasions for mourning. But I say, in the best sense of the word, be ‘jealous’ of the physically dead, and let your grief turn into joy. For they have been eternally delivered from the convulsions and tumults of the topsy-turvey, wine press world we still inhabit.

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    I forgot to mention in my ‘comment’ yesterday that Michael Dowd, environmentalist (, also recommended Joanna Macy’s book, “A Wild Love as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Planetary Awakening.”

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Actually, the Joanna Macy’s book is titled, WORLD AS LOVER, WORLD AS SELF. She was one of my teachers in the doctoral program at the University of Creation Spirituality…

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    Jeanette Metler

    While gazing contemplatively upon the Cross one day, I saw the horizontal beams moving up and down… with the heart being the fulcrum point… that offers balance between the swaying tensions of the via negativa and the via positiva. The vertical beams of the Cross, the via creativa and the via transformativa, however, remained stationary… yet also aligned with the fulcrum point of the heart.

    Kenosis is NOT about pushing away, or trying to grab and hold on… in order to find balance within the tensions… but rather it’s about remaining centered and grounded in the heart of conscious love, compassion and mercy… that fulcrum point… with a willingness of nonattachment to one’s own agenda… so that something else has space TO BE. This letting be is fundamentally creative and transformative. Kenosis in this way, becomes a direct gateway of experiencing the divine reality of the gracious and infinite generosity of God’s unconditional love, compassion and mercy… which is a part of our Original Blessing.

    This abundance surrounds us, maintains and sustains us… however, it is our habitual patterns of self-protection, defenses and offenses … our fear, our lack of trust, our self-doubt, our many insecurities and life’s uncertainties, our feelings of unworthiness… the many distressing disguises that we cling to… that make us spiritually blind, unable to accept, receive, acknowledge and respond to that which is always flowing towards us. The primary purpose of kenosis, as Cynthia Bourgeault says, “is to clear the lens of our perception of reality, henceforth, restoring the broken link with the very nature that flows forth… from a dynamic groundness of fullness… a Oneing With, that is beyond imagining.” The kenosis of letting go and letting be… in this way, then becomes a divine exchange… a heart centered fulcrum point of actually aligning with the resonant frequency of this exchange of conscious love, compassion and mercy… through releasing the immediate causes of our dissonance that are creating the tension of disharmony and imbalance. We are seeing these chaotic causes, experiencing this dissonance and feeling the tension of this disharmony and imbalance revealing itself all over the world.

    This is what each soul is going through, within this collective Dark Night of the Soul, whether each one is consciously aware of it or not… which we are personally each experiencing… as well as seeing playing itself out… socially, and politically… and basically feeling through ALL of our relationships. Yes, there is the tension of the horizontal movements of the Cross… the via negativa and the via positiva… which there has always been and always will be… but more importantly there is also a reuniting with the vertical aspects of this Cross… that being the via creativa and the via transformativa… which is the unconditional loving, compassionate and merciful principle of the universe itself… which unfolds, evolves and emerges from within the fulcrum point of our own hearts. One way of perceiving not only this Dark Night of the Soul, is to also see it as the way of kenosis… that reunites the as above with the so below… through all four pathways that Mathew teaches of within Creation Centered Spirituality… which is the Original Blessing of the Cross.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Not to detract from what you have said about “kenosis” but the word in the original Greek literally means: “emptying” and in Christian theology it refers to the self-emptying that Christ went through as recorded in Philippians 2:5-11…

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    Thank you, dear Matthew, for providing the quote about hope being a verb with the sleeves rolled up. It is one of my favorites. We must grieve, there is no healthful way around it, we must go through it and endure the pain in order to begin to become transformed. My own experience of nothingness, darkness, the abyss, has gradually affirmed and strengthened my passion for justice and my compassion for all those who suffer. But it can also lead to bitterness, resentment and hatred of the “other” and projection of all the darkness on some target. Clearly this has been going on in our nation with all the politically manufactured divisiveness. All we can do is keep on being honest with ourselves and keeping our own spark and those of our neighbors alive.

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    Nothingness is a perfect way to describe it. In my family of origin, I felt it at times. I was not smart enough, successful or tough enough. I am an older woman now. Almost miraculously, I love and like myself, due to God’s care. The state of this world, and America has caused extreme sadness, and loss of hope.

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    Tanya Hunnewell

    My good friend Toni Marrero recommended that I visit your site and after reading so much more on my phone than I ever would intend to, I forwarded the link to several of my friends because I knew these teachings and traditions would resonate as they did for me.

    I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, was sent to church alone on Sundays as my parents… wanted to sleep late or weren’t believers? I’ve actually never even thought to ask! Alone, I sat on the bench, kneeled obediently, rising as I was told to recite rote prayers of declarations I didn’t even comprehend until I was much older.

    So, imagine a child much younger than you would ever expect becoming a thorn in the sides of the sisters! Asking questions and making points that they didn’t expect to have to address. Certainly not with children this young or ever!

    To find the list that contrasts the two traditions of Fall/Redemption Religion and Creation Spirituality have opened my mind wide to see that I am not a sinner, to find balanced gender, to see activism and justice as I also believe it to be represented and so much more. I just ordered 4 of Matthew’s books on Audible!

    Blessing to you all,

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