Two days ago we celebrated Christmas in our DM with a meditation on what I called Doxa and Moxa, which become simple and direct ways to talk of the Cosmic Christ and the prophetic and historical Jesus respectively.

“The Cosmic Christ” by Ullrrich Javier Lemus. Used with permission.

Doxa is the word Glory in Greek, the basic language of the Christian Scriptures.  It is one of the keys to the meaning of the mystical archetype of the Cosmic Christ.  

Whenever we deal with the word glory in the Bible we are being alerted to the Divine Presence in the cosmos. 

Hildegard of Bingen teaches that “there is no creature that lacks a radiance” and Thomas Aquinas follows suit when he talks about the radiance of the Divine in all things. 

The Catholic monk and ecumenical pioneer Thomas Merton, friend to both the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn, had a mystical experience one day while crossing the street in downtown Louisville at noon rush hour when he saw all these “strangers” as beaming light from within them.  

In his journal the next day, he wrote, “How is it possible to tell everyone they are all walking around shining like the sun?”

The way we tell them is through naming the Cosmic Christ.  “We are all other Christs,” says Merton and Dorothy Day.  St. Paul says “it is not I who live, but Christ who lives within me.”  

“Christ Breaks the Rifle.” Image by iconographer Kelly Latimore. Published with permission.

We are all carrying the doxa or glory of the Christ within us.  We can also use the language of the Buddha nature or Buddhahood or, in Judaism, Tselem meaning image of God. 

Merton does so when he says We are other Christs…In us, the image of God, which is complete and entire in each individual soul, is also in all of us ‘the image of God.’

Moxa is a word I have invented from the word moxie which according to Webster’s dictionary means courage and energy and pep.  

It summarizes the human person that Jesus was, what incarnation means—what becoming flesh and Homo sapiens means–joining the caravan of flesh that began with the original fireball 13.8 billion years ago and morphed into every galaxy and planet, supernova and star in our universe of two trillion galaxies and that includes also our home, Earth, so abundant with multiple gifts of flesh we call elephants, lions, polar bears, rainforests, whales, sharks and so much more.  

All God’s creatures. All our relations.  All sacred flesh.


Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, pp. 225-241. 

See Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Societypp. 21-130.

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

Banner Image: The Divine embodied in all beings, in harmony: “Garden of Eden.” Detail of a painting by David Paladin. Published with permission.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you sometimes feel that you are walking around shining like the sun?  And other creatures too?  And other humans also?


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

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics


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17 thoughts on “Doxa, Moxa and Christmas, continued”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you begin by telling us that two days ago we celebrated Christmas in our DM with a meditation on what I called Doxa and Moxa, which is a simple way to talk of the Cosmic Christ and the historical Jesus respectively. Doxa is the Greek word for word Glory. It is one of the keys to the meaning of the mystical archetype of the Cosmic Christ. You then point out that, “Whenever we deal with the word glory in the Bible we are being alerted to the Divine Presence in the cosmos”–which is the cosmic Christ from a Christian perspective. It has other names among other faiths, for as the philosopher of religion, John Hick titled one of his books, “GOD HAS MANY NAMES–as you have shown us in your book, NAMING THE UNNAMEABLE. Then you show how Hildegard of Bingen teaches that “there is no creature that lacks a radiance” and Thomas Aquinas follows suit when he talks about the radiance of the Divine in all things, and Merton does as well when he had a mystical experience where he saw a bunch of “strangers” as beaming light from within them. We are all carrying the doxa or glory of the Christ within us. So, as Merton says, “We are all other Christs.” You then say that, “Moxa is a word I have invented from the word moxie which according to Webster’s dictionary means courage and energy and pep.” It summarizes the human person Jesus was, “what becoming flesh and Homo sapiens means–joining the caravan of flesh that began with the original fireball 13.8 billion years ago…” All God’s creatures. All our relations. All sacred flesh. And I must admit, I have met a number of very radiant and illuminating people in my life !!!

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    “Jesus Should Not Be Referred to In The Past Tense or Future Tense”

    Sometimes more strongly and sometimes less so I feel the presence of Jesus. Jesus as He was and as He still is and will forever be, should not be referred to in the ‘past tense’ or ‘future tense’ . And what is the Cosmic Christ other than that ‘Holy Being’ with the attributes of the Holy Spirit? Jesus becomes forgotten in the world only because we choose to ‘cast Him away’ as not being ‘present’ in today’s world. The person of Jesus is ever present to us in the here and now, is it not so? If we only testify with the validity and proof from using our physical eyes, are our minds and hearts deceived from that which we do not see?

    We can tell everyone they are all walking around shining like the sun, but they still will not understand when we tell them through more words by naming the Cosmic Christ, will they? Should everyone not be led to their own personal experience and encounter with Jesus in the here and now? How can ‘experience’ ever come to one by words, more words and supposed ‘convincing’ arguments no matter how theologically correct they may be? Are we to be led by any and all theologies, or by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Would it not be wise of us to choose the latter?– BB.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Bill, I get what you are saying when you write: “Jesus Should Not Be Referred to In The Past Tense or Future Tense”–because as it says in the scriptures, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). But the truth of the matter is that the human Jesus lived some 2,000 years in the past, and if you believe in the second coming of Christ or the “parousia” as it is called in the Greek, that would be in the future.

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        But the only truth 2,000 years ago was that some saw Jesus with physical eyes. Is the past and future all that Jesus represents to some – then that is yours to behold, but Jesus was never dormant nor non-existent both before ‘the birth’ and after the ‘ascension. To say otherwise is to say that Jesus comes and goes as a ‘limited attraction’.
        If we are of spaceless and timeless form in Spirit, we are not bound by a second coming but are in fact liberated from it and from judgement. Those bound by time are still subject to judgement. — BB.

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    I’ve seen this light shining, as what I have come to know as the aura. I’ve seen it around the trees, and at times around people. It’s not something I am in control of seeing, but rather this seeing is a gift of grace. At times it has appeared to me while in a forest of trees, as I was simply in silence, being present to the presence of the trees. With people, this shining light has appeared spontaneously during a conversation, or while in ceremony with others, in which it looked like a rainbow of colors, weaved together, pulsating around them. At other times while chanting a mantra, I’ve seen this shining light, in sperm like shapes dancing here and there and then coalescing into a circle, continously expanding as I chanted.

    When I try to look directly at this shining light, it disappears, however when I use a soft gaze, or my peripheral vision, the ability to see this shining light remains and the light radiates more brightly and also remains longer.

    Whenever I receive these moments of grace, it heightens my awareness. I always feel a deep sense of gratitude for these holy instant moments, as I know they are a gift.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Today you write: “I’ve seen this light shining, as what I have come to know as the aura.” I too have seen auras and its true what you say, “When I try to look directly at this shining light, it disappears, however when I use a soft gaze, or my peripheral vision, the ability to see this shining light remains and the light radiates more brightly and also remains longer.” I first realized I could see them some 50 years ago when I was sitting in church and I was listening to the sermon and could see a light surrounding the minister…

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    My spiritual journey is having faith and being inspired by the mystics to continue being open to the awareness/experience/transformation of the Sacred Presence of Divine Spirit of Love~
    Wisdom~Light~Life~Creativity~Compassionate Service… within our hearts/souls and among us in All of our co-Creation~Evolution of our multidimensional/diverse Cosmos, especially our Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth with All Her graceful abundances and living sacred things, creatures, beings, with-in our Loving Diverse Oneness….
    ????

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    Thanks Jeanette for your beautiful sharing today!

    Over the Christmas week-end, my friend and I listened to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
    I think the song is a good example of “Doxa.” Cohen concludes that even when we fail
    as King David and Samson did, we can offer praise to the Great Mystery of Life.
    Here are my favorite segments from Hallelujah and Anthem.

    It doesn’t matter which you heard
    The holy or the broken Hallelujah

    And even though it all went wrong
    I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
    With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

  6. Avatar
    Brigid Cannon, OP

    In answer to your question, Matthew, I can say “yes” I felt inside the Spirit shining like the sun when I visit our elderly and sick sisters. They emanate so much love and gratitude for my visit. I am humbled by their graciousness. I have also experienced in a child’s face as she sits and gazes at a Gore for the first time.
    And as Jeanette shared, I have seen it in a tree in Spring bursting with white flowers standing alone on our property. I have experienced it holding a trusting chickadee in my hand as it takes a sunflower seed and then flies away. I see snow blanketing the earth with warmth, silence and making all things beautiful.

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    Thank you Matt. You summed up so succinctly a description of how my faith has metamorphosed. BUT, I needed a reminder. The images in this post are so beautiful and evocative. It’s been more than 20 years now that you have been my teacher. I count you among the small group of people who have changed the direction of my life. I am eternally grateful. Thank you!

  8. Avatar

    Do I see auras and glowing radiances? No. Once in a while, though, I have very intense encounters with the sheer glory, beauty, perfection of things in periods of stepping beyond dulled ordinary perception. Direct engagement with the world around me. Awe and astonished wonder within the “ordinary” world.
    I’ve also found that deep love seems to break down barriers and filters of the ego, allowing a very different, grace-ful space within a human connection. This isn’t a “visual” perception, but an experiential one.

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    Like Melinda, I do not see glows or auras, but I intentionally look at faces and see the outline of the Christ/God-force shining through in the features. I experience Presence from time to time, especially in nature.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Sue, You write that “Like Melinda, I do not see glows or auras…” But it makes me also think of a few lines from a song about growing old by Warren Zevon. He writes:
      The moon has a face and it smiles on the lake
      And causes the ripples in time.
      I’m lucky to be here with someone I like
      Who maketh my spirit to shine.
      (“Don’t Let Us Get Sick”)
      Perhaps, you can see these things…

  10. Avatar

    I do feel that all life is sacred. Sometimes, after I have written something, especially something that flows out of me most easily, I marvel that I have written the words at all. Where did the words come from? Not from me. Surely from Spirit.

    Truly there is Doxa in everything, and I try to express it in my scripts. In “Amici,” Samantha’s waiter Paolo reminds her to appreciate Doxa. He says, “Maybe you are afraid of becoming too full of life! Don’t be afraid of life, Signorina. The one who put us on this plane is not a god of scarcity. He gives to us abundance! A thin woman can nurse a baby as well as a voluptuous one, but God does not stop with what is sufficient! In Italy, we do not serve our pasta with a pat of butter and a dash of parmigiano. We do not serve our breads in little cakes or our wines in petite little bottles. Look outside on a clear night in the mountains. Is the sky sprinkled with a few dozen stars or is it dashed with a multitude of burning torches like so much mica in an Italian grotto! Were animals put on Earth simply to serve our needs–horses to pull our plows and fishes to fill our bellies? Or did God place some here simply to delight our fancies–lustful peacocks and plodding armadillos, awkward hatchetfish and curious meercats? Eat. Eat the desserts life places on your plate. I think you have been counting your cholesterol too long. Mangia!”

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