Reintroducing a cosmic awareness to the way we look at the world and develop our work worlds and institutions is basic to our survival as a species—and to the joy we undergo on our time on earth.
This is not only true in the practical realm of eco-awareness and caring for Mother Earth without whose health we do not survive, but also when we consider care for our souls, for example the joy and beauty and caring that make us whole and content and resistant to avarice and greed and envy.
Consider this teaching from Teilhard de Chardin, mystic, poet, scientist, Jesuit priest:
It is almost commonplace today to find people who, quite naturally and unaffectedly, live in the explicit consciousness of being an atom or a citizen of the universe. This collective awakening must inevitably have a profound religious reaction on the mass of mankind—either to cast down or to exalt.
Do we—including our institutions of education and politics, religion and economics–“cast down”? Or “exalt”?
Albert Einstein tells us that “The most important function of art and science is to awaken the cosmic religious feeling and keep it alive.” Is our art—music and theater, film and video, dance and architecture—busy “awakening the cosmic religious feeling and keeping it alive?” Why or why not?
How about our rituals and ceremonies and liturgies? Are they doing the same?
To speak of the cosmos is not to speak of something very big “out there.” It is to awaken a way of seeing, a way of living and of consciousness that take in the mystery of the universe and in fact every human person is capable of. Thomas Aquinas says that this is what makes the human person great: That each one of us is “capax universi,” capable of the universe.
But are we taught that greatness in our schools? In the media? In our religions? In our homes?
The micro/macrocosmic vision of the world is a psychology in itself. Paul Ricoeur speaks to this truth when he writes:
..to manifest the ‘sacred’ on the ‘cosmos’ and to manifest it in the ‘psyche’ are the same thing…. Cosmos and Psyche are the two poles of the same ‘expressivity’; I express myself in expressing the world; I explore my own sacrality in deciphering that of the world.
Here dualisms of us and cosmos, of inside and outside, of receiving and giving are broken through. Here unity is celebrated.
Simone Weil tells us therefore that “one should identify with the universe itself.”
Queries for Contemplation
Have you learned to identify with the universe itself? Do you see yourself in the universe and the universe in you? What difference does that make? Do you manifest the sacred on the cosmos and in the psyche?
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