How Concepts Can Assist Our Spiritual Journey’s Deepening, iii

In interacting with students and retreatants in my teaching over the years, and in responses to my writings, I have witnessed how deeply peoples’ lives can be affected by concepts like the Four Paths of creation spirituality.  How naming and offering concepts can enhance one’s spiritual journey and vocation and work.  And also, one’s understanding of others who are on their particular journeys. 

“Four Paths” mandala by Phila Hoopes, created during an independent study on Original Blessing. Published with permission.

Also, such concepts can assist to interpret the mystics of old and invite them into the 21st century. They furnish a welcome hermeneutic or method for interpretation of our deepest experiences, what Rabbi Heschel called “the recesses of our soul” where the prophet lies in each of us.  I have applied them in my writings and teachings on Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, John of the Cross and elsewhere with exciting results.   

I have also seen other concepts assist the naming of the journey and therefore the expansion of it.  Concepts like: “Panentheism” (all in God and God in all) that deconstructs theism and is the way of mystics and mysticism.  The “Cosmic Christ” that names so richly the Living Christ, the Resurrected Christ, the sacredness of the universe both in its macrocosmic reality and its microcosmic reality and that names how all beings are other Christs, ourselves included. 

And that corresponds to the “Buddha Nature” in Buddhism and the Tselem or “image of God” in Judaism.  We can also call it “cosmic wisdom” and is thus ecumenical. 

Microcosm to Macrocosm: An Epic Journey from the Heart of Atom to the Universe. Kurdistan Planetarium

Père Chenu, who named the creation spirituality tradition for me when I studied with him in Paris in Spring, 1968, talks about both “Continuous Creation” and “Continuous Incarnation.”  Both of these are named in the archetype of the “Cosmic Christ.”

Concepts like “Realized Eschatology” and our “Royal Personhood” are found in the Scriptures and also in the mystics and can lead to a new sense of time and of our dignity and responsibility in making justice happen in the world. 

So too the recovery of the divine feminine or “motherhood of God” and a refreshed grasp and application of “the sacred masculine” can assist to deconstruct Patriarchy and get us on a healthier path to sanity and survival assisting Mother Earth, not making war with her.

These are just a few concepts that can uplift our spiritual journeys and urge them on, feeding and nourishing them in good times and in bad.

 See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 88-107.  

Also see Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ 

Also see Fox and Andrus, The Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

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

Banner Image: “Reflection of the Cosmic Moment” window by Doyle Chappell, inspired by The Coming of the Cosmic Christ at aChurch4Me, Metropolitan Community Church, Chicago. Published with permission of the artist.

Queries for Contemplation

What concepts do you play with and pray with that refresh your soul and your work?

Recommended Reading

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.

This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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8 thoughts on “How Concepts Can Assist Our Spiritual Journey’s Deepening, iii”

  1. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    The concepts that I am immersing myself in more deeply, which are refreshing my soul are those of the mystics Pierre Teilhard De Chardin and Pere Chenu… side by side. What I find really interesting and to be honest, quite astounding; is that the concepts they teach of, within the often hidden mystical aspects of the Christian faith… are so very similar to what I learnt in my Shamanic apprenticeship.

    This journey of weaving these threads together, although a long and arduous one; has actually been not only healing on so many levels, with regards to reconciling certain things pertaining to my Christian roots… but it has also brought me a sense of peacefull acceptance of my own souls journey, due to the unfolding, evolving, emerging convergence that is internally taking place within me.

    In all honesty, if I hadn’t been guided by Spirit, in finding the hidden mystical concepts within my Christian roots… my soul would have continued to languish in the anguish of entanglement and tension.

    It breaks my heart, that the concepts of the Christian mystics; like Teilhard and Chenu… and the many others that have refreshed and rekindled the spark of the Divine within my soul… have been silenced, condemned, exiled and excamunicated… when the blessings of what they have to offer, not only to the Church, but all of humanity… could be the healing and unifying balm so needed in these times we are living in.

  2. Avatar

    I love Black Elk’s statement, I think it perfectly states what panentheism is:

    “We should understand well that all things are the work if the Great Spirit. We should know that he is within all things, the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, and all the four legged animals and the winged peoples; and even more important, we should understand that He is also above all these things and peoples. When we do understand all this deeply in our hearts, then we will fear and love and know the Great Spirit and then we will be and act and live as he intends.”

  3. Avatar

    I find the concept of panentheism inspiring–God immanent and transcendent both and even more than that. The idea that God is in everything widens my perception and understanding to honor and be in awe of every single part of creation from a glorious rainbow to a slug. All major faiths, including indigenous ones, lead to this same place at their core. Thank you, Matthew, for continuously reminding of this deep ecumenism and what it should lead to–action for the good. I am reading a fascinating book, “The Love Song of the Universe”, by Mary Sparrowdancer, which describes her journey to awakening from mostly an indigenous point of view and experience.

  4. Avatar

    Taking a theology class at university in 1973, I expressed my views that God was to be found in all creation, birds, flowers, etc. The Priest teaching the class nearly stroked out, saying my views were “Pantheism” and heretical. Being a good 19yr. old Catholic girl, I clammed up and mentally wrote him off as having anything worthwhile to teach me. I’ve been a pantheistic-heretic ever since yet still worship with more “enlightened” people at a Carmelite Monetary. My journey continues to deepen and thrive.

    1. Richard E Reich

      Well, God bless you Carol that you were strong enough to hold on to your own views even when the priest said you were wrong. One distinction however, pantheism teaches that everything IS God, whereas pan(en)theism teaches that all things are IN God and God is IN all things. A distinction I’m sure your priest teacher would not even understand.

  5. Avatar

    Not just the Mystical Revelation itself, with all its unfolding nuances and lessons, for me this Mystical Experience had two other deeply meaningful aspects:

    1) It was a GIFT of participation, revelation, and awe, of something completely outside my “traditional Christian female’s” prior knowledge/training (no theology or mysticism). Girls all knew we weren’t invited to “serious religion.” Unwrapping and exploring the layers of meaning in Mysticism gave me the additional Gift of the Spirit’s message of welcoming and inviting all women (back) to the mystical table.

    2) It is LOVING/SOUL-HEALING. It is a top-to-bottom, inside-to-outside, soul-to-body alignment, a healing, compass-template/guide that illuminates G*d’s Original Life and Truth. It is fundamental intuitive knowledge given to every human, deep in the core of their body/soul. When our connection to this deepest Soul-Truth gets fractured, blocked, or distorted by trauma, or when we lose our bearings and wander away, distracted from its Truth, we are MEANT to sense the pain, to seek for our soul’s healing. Mystical Revelation is when deepest Wisdom is brought fully into consciousness, but we sense, and can access, aspects of this intuitive Wisdom, Love and Healing in other ways, too. G*d is Love that heals our wounded souls.

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