My apologies for a mistake I made in my meditation on Earth Day. But it’s not so bad a mistake–it’s sort of a positive Freudian slip if you will. I confused the words exuberant (from Thomas Berry) and exultant.
It’s not so bad a mistake for two reasons: First, exuberant and exultant are almost synonyms. Here are their meanings: Exuberant: joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic; produced in extreme abundance; plentiful and profuse. The opposite is sterile.
Exultant: filled with or expressing great joy or triumph: Jubilant.
Second, one enhances the other so we all got a two for one—we are charged to be both exuberant AND exultant over existence, over the news of our blessed home, Mother Earth, and the 13.8 billion year journey that brought us all here. We are invited to share our exuberance and exultation on behalf of the cosmos, our mother, as well.
One way our ancestors talked about celebration is honoring the Sabbath. An invitation to take a day off for letting things be, tame our compulsion to control and always be in charge. Thomas Aquinas says the number one thing we celebrate on the Sabbath is: Creation.
We have been meditating lately on the topics of shame, shaming and being shamed, and the price we all pay when patriarchal culture leads with shame and not with gratitude and excitement about our existence.
And that shame and aggression born of shame have a lot to do with deep feelings of not belonging.
But we do belong. We belong to Mother Earth and to the universe that birthed her and us over a 13.8 billion year gestation period. We belong to the soil and the trees and the flowers that have fine-tuned the oxygen for us. We belong to the sun and the moon and the tides that brought life from the ocean to the land.
We belong with our pets and four legged ones everywhere, to the birds that sing to us and strut their beauty that we can admire, to the rivers and lakes that invite us into their presence. And so much more.
And we belong to one another, we are social animals, we want to get along and need to get along, and joy and celebration is intrinsic to our celebrative nature. They are far more natural than hating, projecting, lying, and packing guns out of fear of one another.
See Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.
And: Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion.
See also: Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE
Banner Image: Papua New Guinea soccer fans enjoying the game in support of the Pacific Partnership 2011, a five-month humanitarian assistance initiative. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Grandin. Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Queries for Contemplation
If feelings of not belonging are behind shame and aggression, how best to enhance our sense of belonging? How do you deepen your sense of belonging?
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.
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 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