The late Buddhist monk and saint Thich Nhat Hanh promises that “the valuable jewels in the Christian tradition will be rediscovered” when it rediscovers “non-duality.”
This is what the mystics are all about—non-duality. As Julian of Norwich puts it, “between God and the human there is no between.” And, “God is in our sensuality,” thus melting the age-long patriarchal hang-up of spirit vs. matter. And Rosemary Ruether telling us that the very foundation of patriarchal philosophy is: Dualism.
This is why the teachings we have been treating since the day before Martin Luther King’s birthday that include King and Chenu and Aquinas and Teilhard on non-dualism are so refreshing and hopeful: that there are men who are allies to women in the effort to move beyond dualistic consciousness. The promise this foretells, as Thich Nhat Hanh informs us, has the potential to re-do Western consciousness and religion and unveil the still “valuable jewels in the Christian tradition.”
Let us consider more closely how, by studying nature and evolution, Teilhard de Chardin’s consciousness was awakened from dualism to non-dualism. He writes:
Matter and Spirit: These were no longer two things but two states or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff, according to whether it was looked at or carried further in the direction in which it is becoming itself or in the direction in which it is disintegrating. Matter is the Matrix of Spirit. Spirit is the higher state of Matter.
Teilhard is telling us that the patriarchal teaching (rooted in Plato) of what Augustine called the “war” between matter and spirit, body and soul is over. Like Eckhart who said “the soul loves the body” and Aquinas who taught that soul is the “élan” in matter and a “wonderful communion” is to be celebrated between spirit and matter, Teilhard is saying that matter and spirit are no longer “two things” but “two states or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff.”
A marriage has occurred! Matter and Spirit feed one another. Incarnation is not to be ignored. “Matter is the Matrix of Spirit” and “Spirit is a higher state of Matter.”
To be continued.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, p. 56.
And Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 59-70.
And Fox, Christian Mystics, p. 222.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Black and white transcending dualism in co-creating harmony: “Black and White Chords Friends” by Rawpixel, on Pexels
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree with Thich Nhat Hanh that Christianity needs a new beginning—one that is non-dualistic—for its treasures to truly emerge? And that the mystics are important guides in the undoing of dualism?
Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time
While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward
Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond
Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.” –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.
Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations
As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us I wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice. This revolutionary book does just that. Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations. Study and practice these teachings. Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth