Today, the day I am writing this meditation, is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is an occasion, among other things, to meditate on death. Mortality. One’s own. “Remember you are dust and into dust you shall return.”
The forehead is the sixth chakra, the chakra signifying our minds and the need to purify our minds, that is, to use them for the purpose for which they were intended. To seek Truth and to share it.
Ash Wednesday ushers in Lent or a period of 40 days and 40 nights in imitation of Jesus’ fasting in the desert for 40 days and nights following on his baptism as described in Mark’s gospel.
It is a time like Ramadan in Islam or Yom Kippur in Judaism to take stock of one’s life, of one’s values, to ask: How can I do better? How can I live out my values more authentically, more really in my work and relationships and daily life decisions?
Accordingly, it is a time of practicing choosing detachment or letting go in order to deny our ego for a period one or more of its incessant satisfactions in order to purify our choices in a fuller way.
As children, we often gave up candy for 40 days or a program on television or going to the movies, etc. Adults would give up smoking or drinking, etc. It reminds oneself that we are still in charge of our lives—we are capable of making choices. Sometimes they hurt a bit.
The image of the Cross is invoked to remind Christians of what a drastic letting go and sacrifice Jesus underwent at the hands of the Roman empire whose values he rejected.
This is why Lent is a preparation for Good Friday and for Easter, the Good News that sins of empires that torture and kill and destroy do not have the last word.
Speaking of empires, I find I have Rupert Murdoch on my mind this Ash Wednesday. After all, he holds sway over a vast and powerful media empire that delivers “news” to millions of viewers. He calls it “Fox News” and as we saw in yesterday’s DM, whether it wishes to or not, it is going through a certain public soul reflection at this time.
Maybe the rest of us would do well to give up Fox News for Lent this year while the truth and facts about it are rolling out.
To be continued
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 333-358.
And Fox, The Reinvention of Work.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Fox News: We Deceive/You Believe” Billboard banner of Change.org boycott of Fox News advertisers. Photo by Aaron Bassett on Flickr. Participate in the boycott HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
How do you propose spreading the word that giving up Fox News for Lent this year might be a very valuable act of purification? Including for its employees? How do you undergo the practice of purifying your sixth chakra at this time?
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
The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time
Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter