Yesterday we meditated on our cosmic and earthly belonging and how wonderful it is to belong to this universe of two trillion galaxies and to this exuberant and abundant Earth.
And how deep feelings of belonging can displace deep feelings of not belonging that feed shame and aggression and violence.
In the modern era, we were taught that the universe was a machine. This resulted in feelings that we did not belong. Father Sky was dead, inert and so distant. A toxic shame spread. Ideologies of original sin fed the toxin.
But that is then and now is now. Otto Rank talked about our “original wound” as separation such as we all undergo when we leave our mother’s womb. To me, that is a far more useful naming than Augustine’s “original sin.”
I also talk about “original blessing” because that is what is primary, the goodness of our existence in this exuberant earth and universe. (It is also Genesis one which tells us of the “goodness” and “very goodness” of the universe.)
Cosmologist Brian Swimme excites people to both exultation and exuberance. A few days ago he and I engaged with the Shift Network personnel describing a course we will teach together in the fall called “Humanity’s Future: Science, Spirituality and the Noosphere.”
He offered these wonderful metaphors for what we now know about our species. First, he talked of how Earth was once molten rock. But today it is home to giraffes and whales and chimpanzees and tigers and humans. How about that? How wild and amazing is that?
Next, he invited us to imagine a stadium of 50,000 people watching a football game, cheering their teams on with joy, shouting and laughter. Then substitute 50,000 chimpanzees for the 50,000 humans, chimpanzees being our nearest ancestors with whom we share 99% of the same DNA.
What would the stadium be like? There would be war upon war going on in the stands, for chimpanzees never evolved to embrace tribes other than their own small group. Wars among chimpanzee tribes are fierce, they eat each other’s fingers and genitals.
We humans have been expanding our sense of kin and kinship far beyond the tribal mode. Granted, we often fall back on our chimp tribalisms and warlikenesses, but we are not destined to stay there.
We do learn to celebrate the whole. We do learn to belong and expand our belonging. This is the invitation of Jesus and the prophets and authentic spiritual teachers everywhere.
See Matthew Fox, “Father Sky: The Cosmos Lives!” in Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 3-18.
And Fox, Original Blessing.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Hope in His Eyes.” Photo by H.KoppDelaney on Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
What does hearing the story of a stadium filled with humans vs. a stadium filled with chimpanzees say to you?
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
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