We have been meditating on being (and therefore on non-being also) as we consider names for Divinity that call to us today. A return to the foundation, that “to exist is the most perfect thing of all,” as Aquinas put it in our meditation two days ago. Without existence, nothing else can happen.
When we return to Source and Beginnings, gratefulness for existence can rise and refresh us and stir us to action.
Being includes suffering of course, we do not feel or undergo only the Via Positiva in our life journeys. Being connected to the Source is not always pure pleasure or bliss. It can also be wrenching and sorrowful and break the heart.
This is one reason the archetype of the cross speaks deeply to many along the way.
The rupture that occurs in the Via Negativa breaks us open to more creativity, more birthing of multiple and fresh and untried acts of imagination that come from a deep place of both being and being broken.
A kind of resurrection occurs when we move from tomb to womb and learn to give birth from a deeper and deeper place. “If you want the kernel, you must break the shell,” says Eckhart. Creativity is eager to share the kernel, the “pearl of great price” that is not discovered without some breakage which in turn can become breakthrough.
The action we give birth to, the Via Transformativa, is effective action when it comes from a deep place of Joy and Gratitude on the one hand, and of suffering, loss and rupture on the other. It is from our Nothingness and our tasting of ashes that we often give birth to the “son of God who is always needing to be born” as Eckhart reminds us.
What is the alternative to acting from being and from non-action? Action/reaction. Reptilian brain response alone. “I win, you lose” kind of action. Superficial action.
Compassion does not happen from the reptilian brain alone. It requires a motherly heart, a caring and non-dualist relationship, a playing out of the inherent interdependence and interconnectedness set deep within the universe itself since all beings are stamped with it.
Compassion is the acting out of our interdependence, what Thich Nhat Hanh calls our “interbeing.” Compassion, sharing at the level of being, can fuse all our decisions and actions with an attitude of not taking being for granted—ours or others’.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion.
And Fox, The Reinvention of Work.
Also see Fox, Meditations with Meister Eckhart: A Centering Book
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Reaching up, reaching down.” Photo by Akshay Paatil on Unsplash.
Corrections: An image in yesterday’s DM was incorrectly described as depicting a lotus. In fact, naturalist/reader Sue-Anne Solem tells us, the plant was a water lily. Our apologies for the error!
Queries for Contemplation
Are your decisions and actions fused with an attitude of not taking being for granted? Are they born of being and of non-being? What follows from that?
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God
A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice
In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register
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
Meditations with Meister Eckhart: A Centering Book
A centering book by Matthew Fox. This book of simple but rich meditations exemplifies the deep yet playful creation-centered spirituality of Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart was a 13th-century Dominican preacher who was a mystic, prophet, feminist, activist, defender of the poor, and advocate of creation-centered spirituality, who was condemned shortly after he died.
“These quiet presentations of spirituality are remarkable for their immediacy and clarity.” –Publishers Weekly.