Adam Bucko and I are continuing our dialog in our book, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation on the topic of spiritual experience and the assistance that concepts offer to expanding and deepening spiritual experiences. Specifically, we are talking here about the four paths of creation spirituality.
Matthew Fox says:
The goal of social justice and the via transformativa is that the whole community can live life fully. It’s about the celebration of life. If you’ve left that out of your path because you’re so married to being a warrior twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, then first of all you’re going to run out of steam and burn out; but also you’re not going to taste what it is you’re really trying to bring about, which is the justice that allows the celebration of life to come alive (the via positiva).
So there is a danger that any one of these paths can be an end in itself. That’s one of the great values of the four paths–to remind us that we move in and out, in and out. That’s how they feed one another, and that’s literally how one stays young, because one is staying spiritually alive.
Adam Bucko responds:
I agree, the Four Paths are extremely useful here. They really deal with all of life and all of what we are and are capable of as human beings. If you don’t have the whole picture, it’s easy to just take one of those paths and practice it, thinking that it’s the whole path. And it’s not.
I think that the beauty of the Four Paths is that they really reconcile different schools of spirituality that perhaps traditionally have not always agreed with each other. They reconcile things like action and contemplation, and contemplation and creativity, creativity and social justice.
Fox: You apply them to your work with young street people, don’t you?
Bucko: For our first few meetings with homeless youth, we focus on two questions: “What breaks your heart?” and “What makes you truly alive?” We spend about one week on each question.
Fox: Your two questions sound like you are asking about the role of the via negativa and the via positiva respectfully in each of their lives.
Bucko: The goal is not to answer these questions. The goal is to be present to them with all that we are.
Adapted from Charles Burack, ed., Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality, pp. 198f.
And Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation, pp. 20-25, 93.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Rainbow spiral. The spiral is an ancient symbol representing birth/death, creativity/destruction, tension/release. Photo by Reid Zura on Unsplash.
Queries for Contemplation
Ask yourself the two questions Adam Bucko poses to street youth: What breaks your heart? And What makes you truly alive? Live with both the questions and answers for a while.