Creativity as Bestowing Divine Gifts & Bliss on One Another

We are finding in Eckhart’s sermon on “the Holy Spirit as a ‘rushing river’” insight on what makes a Sister Dorothy Stang or an Alexei Navalny joyful and generous and brave. 

Even in his final letters from prison, Alexei Navalny communicated hope, says Anton Troianovski, Moscow Bureau Chief for the New York Times. MSNBC.

Becoming empty of ego and fear and agendas–“living without a why” as Eckhart puts it on many occasions–allows Spirit to enter and work in us and through us.

He says as much at the beginning of this sermon when he cites the psalmist “The rapid or quick-flowing river has caused the city of God to rejoice” (Ps. 46:4) and then tells us what is coming in his sermon.  

We should pay attention to three things in connection with these words.  First, the ‘rapid river’ of God; next, the city to which it flows; third, the advantage that comes from this.

White water rafting, Kuala Kubu Bharu, Malaysia. Photo by Firdouss Ross on Unsplash.

Have you ever thought of God as a “rapid river that flows?”  What I receive from this language is an image of being on a raft on a rapid river without oars, just being taken along for the ride.  I love this image of creativity–a moment when we are not in charge and are being carried along by a force and power bigger than us– the journey can be tumultuous and unexpected but it is a ride to remember. 

A joyous ride when we are not in charge.  One doesn’t look at one’s watch, it is too much fun to ask “what time is it”?  Too much is happening.  It is too joyous.

No wonder that, when speaking of “the advantage that comes from this,” Eckhart talks in depth in this sermon about our creativity: 

Siberian shaman SNOW RAVEN performs an honoring of the creatures and music of her homeland for Amazon Prophecy Project, supporting the indigenous people of the Amazon.

God is emanative with his goodness upon everything that in any way can accept him.  Thus human beings should be communicative and emanative with all the gifts they have received from God.  Saint Paul says: ‘What is there that we have not received from him’? (cf. 1 Cor 4:7) 

People who do not bestow on others spiritual things and whatever bliss is in them have never been spiritual.  People are not to receive and keep them for themselves alone, but they should share themselves and pour forth everything they possess in their bodies and souls as far as possible, and whatever others desire of them.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, “Sermon 26: The Holy Spirit, Like a Rapid River, Divinizes Us,” in Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 363-367.

See also Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet.

Banner Image: Rafting the White Salmon River. Photo by Justin Kent on Flickr

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree with Eckhart that if we do not share “whatever bliss is in us” we have “never been spiritual?”  And that creativity constitutes are sharing through which we “pour forth everything we possess in body and soul as far as possible”?

Recommended Reading

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

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9 thoughts on “Creativity as Bestowing Divine Gifts & Bliss on One Another”

  1. Avatar

    Bliss is experiential and its manifestation cannot be contained. How is it that ‘a blissful person’ does not or won’t emanate what their essence is emitting? Can a blooming flower contain and hold back its fragrant scent? It attracts the bee’s of pollination does it not?

    Is it not more likely that people with spiritual gifts that do not use them experience no bliss and thus have none for themselves and further none to share with others? This would be our tragedy. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    “Creativity constitutes our sharing”. It is these words that beckoned me to go deeper. Creativity is a Divine Gift, given to all, that opens us up to the movements of the living esence and presence of the Great Spirit; present within the all and the everything of creation. Engaging with this gift sparks our imagination and the soul’s hearts desire to express our authentic originality and the diversity of our individuality; inspired and intuited by the true and sacred vision of our Wholeness and Oneness.

    Creativity is a spiritual pathway, in which we find a way of focusing and bringing into substance and form, the reality of our being part of this vision; sharing these expressions; in contribution to and in combination and collaboration with this God established Sacred Law of Oneness and Wholeness, co-creatively together.

    We all share a portion in this Divine design of the Great Webb of Life, as each manifestation within the creation of the all and the everything possesses unique gifts, which are to be broken open, given and shared; as a blessing to the whole. As we respond to this living spiritual reality, we deepen our experience of really seeing, feeling, tasting and knowing the beauty and goodness of this co-creative partnership of being and living in the sacred harmonies and balance of right relationship with all creation; that honors, respects, appreciates, protects and preserves this Wholeness and Oneness.

  3. Avatar

    My initial feeling when I read this was that no, it doesn’t necessary mean we are not spiritual if we haven’t fully shared the bliss within. Perhaps, for some it is like a precious pregnancy and it seems to me that what happens on the internal level must have some significance, regardless of the extent it is shared.

  4. Avatar

    CREATIVITY~BEAUTY~JOY~COMPASSION~DIVERSE ONENESS… IS ALIVE FLOWING and PRESENT within each one of US in ALL CREATION, in ALL of OUR UNIQUE SOULS in the FAMILY of Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and OUR Sacred multidimensional-multiverse LOVING Co-CREATING EVOLVING COSMOS ….

  5. Avatar

    Watching the YouTube video of the Shaman really brought my sharing of Spiritual gifts into focus. Watching the video, I was given permission to relax. I was at peace with myself. I was OK. Then I felt the sharing, because I was relaxed. I was allowed to feel my usual buried sadness for the animals. And then I felt my hope, and my “everything’s going to be ok”. All while being relaxed and comfortable. The experience was a shared one with all who were there. It wasn’t dramatic. It was a valuable experience.

    Thank you, Matthew and helpers for posting it. And great thanks to the shaman, who demonstrated great sanity.

  6. Avatar

    What is the relationship between bliss and grief? What if what brought bliss now brings extreme pain, and terror? Maybe life works like this – life cuts through death, love cuts through pain…the path cuts through worlds. Maybe that’s what Navalny meant when he was in the Polar Wolf on Christmas, about being in night and being in inverse…oh oh oh, rather than ho ho ho.

  7. Avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing the music of Snow Raven. What she is creating is certainly the rapid river of the Spirit pouring into her and flowing out to us.
    She emanates the Spirit. She says she does this by listening in stillness, quieting her mind and letting the music sound through her. Her body and voice is making the Sound of the Spirit and the Sound of the Spirit is making her body and voice. Why? So we fall in love with the Earth, so we take care of her like she takes care of us.
    So we take care of each other.
    I know we all do this when we love one another. Love flows like a river,
    is living water, creating in our bodies
    a sound, a touch, a movement, a form
    to contain this love.

  8. Avatar
    tinofirei carrington Mutanha

    Thank you so much for the word. It is by such sermons , short or long that help build and strengthen our souls. Truly, smoothly flowing waters signify the stillness and tenderness of God’s touch and denotes that His Mighty can take us places without any hurdles, some of which are unbelievable.

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