Week of 5/8-5/13/2023: Healing Depression & Earth with Joy & Cosmology

May 8, 2023. Depression Remedies from Nature, Mystics, and Cosmology
This meditation is a response to the psychologist who attacked Matthew for daring to suggest that depression and acedia were spiritual issues. Matthew reports that many therapists came to the University of Creation Spirituality precisely because their training excluded the spiritual dimension. In addition, people found value in grief rituals Matthew has led, with one man declaring he was going to fire his psychologist of 21 years because the ritual healed him on the spot. Meanwhile, Barbara Ehrenreich wrote that the 17th century birthed an “epidemic of depression” and suicides because there was no longer a viable cosmology and ritual.

“How Forests Heal People.” Nitin Das on YouTube.

May 9, 2023. A Story of Healing Depression and Acedia sans Pills.
The psychologist who disagreed with Matthew linking depression with spiritual issues believed medication was the answer. Matthew responded that sometimes that is so and sometimes it is not. If people find themselves living in a spirituality bereft and oppressive society, it may be the context itself that is rendering people depressed. One therapist who attended ICCS at Holy Names College had been abused by her father as a child and had been in therapy for years. She was amazed at the healing which began as a result of reading the mystics, and especially Meister Eckhart. She has been using him in her practice ever since. Even Carl Jung found great value in Meister Eckhart.

May 10, 2023. A Second Story on Healing Acedia and Depression sans Pills
Matthew was teaching a class on “Psychology and Spirituality” and asked the students to draw a picture of their soul. All of the drawings were interesting and full of life except for one, which was very dark. Eventually Matthew learned more of the student’s story. She was a nun and an artist and at one point a fire broke out in the convent and destroyed all her paintings. Her superiors then assigned her a job of handing out mail in their institution and when she became depressed she was sent to a psychologist who put her on meds. At ICCS she was introduced to Art as Meditation, the mystics and cosmology, and left her meds.  She returned home a completely different person and her community helped her find work creating cards, etc.

Soul painting, Little Havana, Miami. Photo by Frankie Cordoba on Unsplash

May 11, 2023. Joy and Work, Healing and Justice-Making
Eckhart often talks about Joy and Justice. And Matthew speaks of “the importance of our work for healing and balance-making and truth-telling and reminds us of how joy flows through all good work.” One example of justice and truth-telling filling the news these days is the courage of an older woman in calling out a man who assaulted her and then defamed her for telling her truth. A jury, after deliberating only three hours, unanimously found her story coherent and true and fined the famous defendant five million dollars. This is justice at work in a patriarchal society. At last. Matthew tells us: Joy is to be found in both our inner work and outer work and we are invited to bring our inner work to the outer work while deriving joy from both.  It is all a fruit of the Spirit.  And, whatever other burdens we carry, the Spirit is present in our work.

May 12, 2023. When Joy Affects History and Cosmology Initiates Joy
We explore how joy and holiness can be an antitode to evil, as per Rabbi Heschel. Historian Pere Chenu, for instance, said that “the joy of St Francis had more influence than King John’s oath of fealty to the pope, not only upon the prosperity of the church but also upon men’s progress in the knowledge of Christ.” What a powerful statement about the impact of joy! Speaking of joy, the stars and the wonder of the cosmos can also inspire us and fill us with wonder and delight. Cosmology can contribute to the healing of our world and of our souls.

Trailer of Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story, reflecting on his prophetic life and legacy of speaking out against evil. Journey Films

May 13, 2013. Mother’s Day 2023
This day is not only Mother’s Day, but the fourth anniversary of the beginning of our Daily Meditations! This is cause for joy! The meditations were consciously begun on Mother’s Day because of our love and concern for the great Mother, Mother Earth. How can we support our dear planet during these perilous times? One way is through a focus on cosmogenesis, which views the universe as a verb, as an on-going reality. Continues Matthew: It holds such promise as a “spiritual initiative” that can awaken humankind. May we all, women and men alike, practice the archetype of motherhood daily: compassion, protection, sensitivity, and giving life and love.

“I’m here for Life on Earth.” Photo by Alisdare Hickson on Flickr.

Banner image: Joy in our beautiful Planet. Photo by Brad West on Unsplash

Recommended Reading

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

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