Teilhard, Einstein, Aquinas, Ricoeur & Simone Weil on Cosmic Awareness

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.

As within, so without. Clockwise from top left: 1) “Forest” by Allain Siddiqui on Unsplash. 2) Tree-like branching in lungs. HouseOfMica.org. 3) Tributaries of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. NASA. 4) Fungal hyphae form mycelium networks among trees. Wikimedia Commons.

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”?

An excerpt from “The Council of All Beings” ritual, invoking Our Relations to guide with their wisdom. Elizabeth Darlington.

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.

“Meditation.” Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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.”

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 66, 71.  And Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas, pp. 21-24.

Banner Image: Step into the cosmos. Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash

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?

Recommended Reading

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

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7 thoughts on “Teilhard, Einstein, Aquinas, Ricoeur & Simone Weil on Cosmic Awareness”

  1. Avatar

    We understand that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have not left us as orphans, even if the entire world should stand against us. We are ‘love and faith soaked’ to such a degree that we can be defiant to ourselves and anyone else that tells us otherwise. Defiant, because ‘the world’ will always look to point out our deficiencies, that we have lost, to put us down, to make us think and believe less of ourselves and others.
    But the ‘love soaked’ and ‘faith soaked’ are always the defiant ones, not taking no for an answer, humbly ‘calling a spade a spade’, and not out of true relationship and belonging. For ‘the defiant in Christ’ rule the ever-present moment, while others are trying to grasp any joy out of their day. Be defiant. We belong to ‘the class of souls’ that rule ‘the beginning and end’ and the ‘ever-present moment’.
    Be defiant, put on your armour, take up your shield of faith and sword of ‘the Spirit’. Our power lives in defiance of the ‘status quo’, as the status quo is only for those bound to the earth and the physical matter of existence. We are much, much, very much more than that. Be defiant and question all as a true measure of coming to terms with our faith. ‘Rule’ and take back the moment. Be the rightful owner of what has been given to you. Being defiant to all else is the true measure of obedience to ‘the Word’. Holy defiance does not exist without love and obedience as ‘its Master’. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    Some may think it strange… my response to the suffering and sorrows unfolding in this world… my choice of reintroducing a cosmic awareness of the JOY of caring for soul… through the beauty of playing with sound… that brings feelings of comfort, consolation, and contentment; while in the midst of so much tension swirling all around in this world.

    The joy of sound… my own little mass offered to this world… from the forest grove. Joyfully I play the ancient lyre… like David did for King Saul… sending these sound waves out into the Cosmos… to all. The haunting yet peaceful sounds of the native flute… I send on the winds of change… bringing calm to the storm. With the drums… I beat rhythms… gently touching the hearts of all… offering love that heals.

    The joy of sound… a gift I give, unseen… kindling the Spirit of the Sacred within and without… attuning, harmonizing, and converging with the music of the Cosmos… and the beauty and blessings that unfolds, evolves and emerges from this little offering.

    Can you sense the sound… traveling through space… reaching out to touch your soul… my joyfilled gift sent to all.

    1. Avatar

      It is strangely beautiful Jeanette because you shared your love of sound with us that I can imagine your song because it is the same song resonating in my soul only you are playing the notes with lyre and flute in the forest.
      Of course I felt your joy and peace and healing love!
      As I go thru this day, this delightful image of you will inspire me to play along.
      Much gratitude for the Sound of Music you play in Nature and word.
      The forest creatures and I love it.

      God must of put her DNA in us because how else would we love Life so much. There is a print of everything, a copy of the evolution of the universe coded in our Being. We spend our Life exploring and expressing this code, this Love song written in Spirit, flesh and atoms. We are the instruments composing with our lives the love song of the Cosmos.

  3. Avatar

    Appreciate the peek into your article about cosmic awareness that I read today. My intention is to connect with this awareness to heal self. May our deep connection with each other and the universe, flow more easily to heal that which is no longer serving “us”. The mystics and those who have lived within the universal cycles have always known this. Now advancing science is on the same page. May we come together to this sacred place.
    Thank you.

  4. Avatar

    Matthew, you and all the mystics in human history (including the Shamanic Indigenous spiritual traditions) are sharing with us their profound spiritual experiences/realizations that WE are All Unique Sacred Parts of the LOVING DIVERSE WHOLENESS~ONENESS of the Ongoing Evolving ETERNALLY DIVINE COSMOS PRESENT in our daily lives, Within, Through, and Among US….

  5. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Today you ask: “Have you learned to identify with the universe itself? Do you see yourself in the universe and the universe in you?” I have learned this from the first two principles of Unity (there are only five): “God is the name we give to the source and essence of all that is,” and “God as source and essence of all that is means that human beings are expressions of God.” And I personally see, since God is a name for all that is, so is the universe a name that we give to the source and essence of all that is. Although I, like Spinoza do not consider myself a pantheist but rather panENtheist.

  6. Avatar

    The first and most foundational law of the universe is the Law of Divine Oneness, which highlights the interconnectedness of all things. You can become the Divine Oneness of the Universe by uniting opposites. This is Gnostic mysticism.

    The goal of Gnostics is to, first, become One with the Divine Oneness of the Universe and then, ultimately, go spiritually through It and beyond, to become One with the Divine Principle of Existence Itself.

    The Divine Oneness of the Universe is the “only begotten Son of God.” who we can become One with, and then go through — through Jesus/Krishna/Buddha as the Divine Oneness of the Universe — to get to, and become One with, the transcendent beyond the Universe, “God the Father”.

    The Divine Oneness of the Universe is the Universe seen as an essentially undifferentiated mass of light-permeated by the World Soul, or the “Son of God.” The Christian’s “God the Father” is the Gnostic’s Unqualified Absolute, the transcendent Father-Mother beyond creation.

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