Being & Non-being Rising to Action, Passion & Compassion

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.

“Asma Ul Husna / 99 Names Of Allah” by Atif Aslam. Shehryar Writes

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. 

Breakthrough: sunflower seedlings carry their shells to the surface as they germinate. Wikimedia Commons.

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. 

Kenyan runner Simon Cheprot stops just before completing a 10km international race to lift a fallen rival, Kenneth Kipkemoi, and carry him across the finish line. Okpekpe Road Race

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?

Recommended Reading

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.  


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9 thoughts on “Being & Non-being Rising to Action, Passion & Compassion”

  1. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Today’s DM is deeply and profoundly impacting. The synthesis of the message, along with the imagery; with the fourfold paths of CS had a particular movement of coherence; which penetrated the depths of my being. I found myself at moments weeping a river of tears, yet this emotional response was tethered to hope… being rekindled within me. It was as if Spirit was blowing a fresh breath of warm spring air, over my heart, mind and soul and the seeds that have been planted of the fourfold paths of CS; where really beginning to break open in the ground of my being.

    I’ve listened to Mathew speak of these teachings many times, however what unfolded, evolved and emerged in the synthesis and convergence of today’s message, moved me to that sacred space and place of expansion, in which I experienced a fuller and more comprehensive pathway of seeing and perceiving how to live in the fullness of the movements of the fourfold pathways within CS… as I often get stuck bouncing back and forth between the via negativa and the via positiva. The impact of today’s DM was like a mist dissipating, like that which takes place in the early mornings, during the spring thaw… revealing with more clarity the wisdom pathway forward that I am to continously walk in, with others.

    I offer a bowed Thank You, a simple gesture of gratitude and appreciation to the whole DM team… for your many gifts that nurture and sustain us all, on this journey we share in.

  2. Avatar

    In today’s profound meditation of being and non-being, especially in the via negativa, the words in the DM – “A kind of resurrection occurs when we move from tomb to womb and learn to give birth from a deeper and deeper place.” – reminded me of my readings and explorations the last few years of the sacred multidimensional spiritual ‘afterlife’ explored, experienced, and written about by prominent channelers and research psychologists (eternea.org; noetic.org). I’m presently reading the third book by Robert Schwartz, “Your Soul’s
    Love: Living the Love You Planned Before You Were Born.” It’s a short book and a good introduction to the spiritual dimension of the ‘afterlife’ with personal life stories. Robert’s wife
    Liesel is a channeler and he’s a certified hypnotist and spiritual researcher at least the past twenty years. Their website is yoursoulsplan.com . Another prominent psychologist who passed is Michael Newton, Ph.D., and his two famous books are “Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives” and “Destiny of Souls.”
    ????

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Damian, I appreciated your comment but I must admit that I have never seen a place in the literature of the Creation Spirituality movement–not Matthew or anyone he sees as a peer who makes use of channelers–now research psychologists that’s different…

      1. Avatar

        Richard, I’m not so concerned about whether authentic spiritual channelers fit in the “literature of Creation Spirituality movement” as much as also acknowledging the reality of the non-physical spiritual dimensions, experienced by spiritual channelers, near death experiences (NDE) and other experiences of the non-physical spiritual dimensions by many people, also being an essential interrelated part of our earthly physical reality and the Cosmos. These multidimensional spiritual realities influence one another and are All part of the Whole of God’s ongoing co-Creation~Incarnation~Evolution of God’s sacred multiverse Cosmos… Our eternal souls and spiritual journeys, not only on earth (which Creation Spirituality rightly and beautifully emphasizes), but in All spiritual dimensions are vitally essential. It’s not an either-or/dualistic perspective about Reality and Truth. Matthew I know is very personally open to our non-physical spiritual dimensions of Reality/the Cosmos, and has acknowledged and written about people who have the gift of experiencing these deeper spiritual dimensions and communicating with spiritual beings of departed loved ones and angels..

    2. Avatar

      Damian: Thank you! “Your Soul’s Love: Living the Love You Planned Before You Were Born.” YES! YES! YES! “Living the love I planned before I was born.” That feels so right, and now I’m 88.
      Thank you for bringing this line into my world. I feel grateful.

  3. Avatar

    Ideally, life’s despairs and journeys through sorrow would be integrated, responded to with wisdom and patience, and become a source of growth and a spark for creativity. But life is seldom ideal and many people spiral into depression without having the ability to recover and move on. This is horrifying for the sufferers, who are expected to “just cheer up and get on with life.” It’s even worse if the sufferer is a member of the clergy, since there are often hidden beliefs that they’re expected to embrace: “suffering is good for the soul” and “God never gives you more than you can handle.” This just piles on the pain, adding shame and guilt.

    It’s also dangerous, cruel and a remnant of outdated ideas. Depression isn’t just a minor “blah time” or a response to a sudden tragedy, which is hard enough to cope with. It’s a chemical imbalance in the brain, like the brain poisoning itself, and can be extremely difficult to treat. It’s not always possible for people to find a medication and/or therapy that helps. Some medications also cause suicidal ideation. For people in these situations, there is no “silver lining” or redeeming value to their suffering. It is horrifying and relentless.

    If you know someone who’s depressed, or has become quiet or withdrawn, BE ALERT, offer help and get professional advice if necessary. Learn more about the various symptoms of depression (such as anger). Take it very, very seriously.

    1. Avatar

      Melinda, what you say is so important. The idea that suffering is a gift, necessary for you to grow and become wise, given by a “loving God”, no less, is the argument used by people in power who cause much of the suffering of the powerless in the first place so they don’t rebel and threaten their hierarchy. Some people who suffer serious trauma come out of it stronger and wiser, some commit suicide, some become very angry and go out and shoot a bunch of people. No, having to suffer is not a gift, it just is–period.
      A gift is if, when we suffer, we have people around us–parents, friends, teachers, etc., who support us in out suffering, who teach us through their example, their love, to deal with our suffering with calmness and acceptance and not make it worse by raging against it.

  4. Avatar

    Thank you for this posting ( and prior postings). The message was exactly what I needed to read and helped me shift my perspective on a current situation in my relationship with my spouse and, more deeply, myself. I experienced moments of grace and love while reading and copying by hand the words.

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