Some of the Ways We and the Earth Experience the Via Negativa

Today we will consider some of the different ways we and the earth experience the Via Negativa. In his book, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, Matthew says that once on a lecture tour he had a dream, and it was what the Native Americans call a “Big Dream.” He said in Part I of the book that the “climax of the dream contained this refrain: ‘Your mother is dying.’” And while he found nine different meanings for this phrase, the first one that he saw was “Mother Earth is Dying.” With this in mind, read the following quotation:

Official trailer of the classic documentary, Koyaanisqatsi, which powerfully shows how out of balance our planet is. Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers.


If Jesus Christ is Mother Earth crucified, then eating and drinking at the Eucharist is the eating and drinking of the wounded earth. The ingesting of the sacrificial victim brings about an awakening of consciousness to the sufferings of Mother Earth and all her children. 

MORE ON THE VIA NEGATIVA (Four more quotations from Matthew Fox.)

We are the species that sins. There’s no evidence that any other species does. 

Trees are as valuable when they are dying as when they are alive, offering homes to countless insects and other animals, as well as providing rich humus which will nourish new life. Photo by Maddy Weiss on Unsplash

In some way I see death as a recycling process. In some way we get recycled, it seems to me, into the pool of being. 

Laughter is often our sole outlet for responding to the incongruities of life’s paradoxes and contradictions. 

An institution is a home for evil spirits just as a dog’s fur can be a home for the tick and the flea. 

See Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, p. 214.

See also Fox, Natural Grace, pp. 62, 156.

Also Fox, Prayer: A Radical Response to Life, pp. 87-137.

Banner image: Reflection. Photo by IvanBE pratama on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Share some of the ways you experience the Via Negativa in a positive way—such as in times of meditation, etc.

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Natural Grace: Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science 
by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake

Natural Grace, a 208 page inspired dialogue between theologian Matthew Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake, unites wisdom and knowledge from unconventional angles. Considering themselves heretics in their own fields, Matthew and Rupert engage the conversation from postmodern and post-postmodern perspectives, deconstructing both religion and science—while setting the foundation for a new emerging worldview. Having outgrown the paradigms in which they were raised, both Fox and Sheldrake see it as part of their life missions to share the natural synthesis of spirituality and science rooted in a paradigm of evolutionary cosmology.

Prayer: A Radical Response to Life

How do prayer and mysticism relate to the struggle for social and ecological justice? Fox defines prayer as a radical response to life that includes our “Yes” to life (mysticism) and our “No” to forces that combat life (prophecy). How do we define adult prayer? And how—if at all—do prayer and mysticism relate to the struggle for social and ecological justice? One of Matthew Fox’s earliest books, originally published under the title On Becoming a Musical, Mystical Bear: Spirituality American StylePrayer introduces a mystical/prophetic spirituality and a mature conception of how to pray. Called a “classic” when it first appeared, it lays out the difference between the creation spirituality tradition and the fall/redemption tradition that has so dominated Western theology since Augustine. A practical and theoretical book, it lays the groundwork for Fox’s later works. “One of the finest books I have read on contemporary spirituality.” – Rabbi Sholom A. Singer

Rick Reich-Kuykendall
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3 thoughts on “Some of the Ways We and the Earth Experience the Via Negativa”

  1. Avatar

    Anything we see, hear and do ourselves that is negative, screams out the positive if we are receptive to it. One is magnified when the other is present. Nothing exists withing an isolated container. ‘Injustice’ shouts out for the healing that ‘Justice’ brings, does it not? If we look closely, will we not find and see that the positive and negative are always in perfect balance? And we in our actions and the forces of existence bring forth that balance.

    Also, when we shout out that we are ‘the victim’ and point the finger at others, is it not then that we in turn are victimizing the other, being the victim of our wrath? The ‘negative’ wants to live on as we invoke its transference again and again, if we choose to give it ‘more life’.

    Today more so than ever, those ‘of the world’ are caught up in this transference of the negative, as if playing a tennis match where the same ball is lobbed back and forth continuously, and no one wins. All of this happens when those on either side ‘of the net’, on either side of the argument, refuse to see or listen to what may be the positive in the other side’s viewpoint. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! — DM Team for including an introduction to the trilogy documentary films starting with “Koyaaisqatsi”, a Hopi word for the predictions, warnings, and dangers of modern life ‘being out of balance’ with Sacred Mother Nature/Earth… The subsequent two reviews of the trilogy on YouTube, including the director himself, are excellent! I am looking forward to watching the three classic cinematic documentaries, which uses mainly symbolic images of modern life and nature to give an important message about our unbalanced destructive modern life and the myth of progress in our pervasive technological society.
    These trilogy documentary films are very appropriate to the theme of the institutional shadow/evil side of our modern —military/industrial economies/technological — life and values destroying Sacred Mother Nature and endangering all living species, including our own human species.

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