Reprint: Spiritual Narcissism/Spiritual Ecology Matthew Fox & Llewelyn Vaughn Lee

October 11, 2013 - 7:33 pm 31 Comments

Matthew Fox & Llewelyn Vaughan-Lee:

Spiritual Narcissism / Spiritual Ecology

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Matthew Fox:Today we are discussing ecology and spirituality. Now who can deny that it doesn’t matter what your particular tradition is, or if you’re an atheist, if your backyard is burning up and you can’t plant food anymore, and the waters are rising? We’re all in trouble. And it can finally bring religions together and get over their narcissism.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: I hope so. Mysticism, as you know, has always held this common thread underneath religion – the union of inner experience. Part of the reason I edited the book Spiritual Ecology was to try to bring that into the ecological debate because I felt that, although it was present, it wasn’t voiced enough.
MF: Absolutely. That’s what I’ve been trying to do with the archetype of the cosmic Christ — to awaken at least Christians that crucifixion is not something that happened 2,000 years ago, it’s happening with the killing of the rainforests and the whales and the polar bears and everything else today.

LV-L: It’s happening to the Earth.

MF: To me, that not only can energize spiritual warriors to get work done today, but it also can reinvent our faith traditions themselves, which I think fall into narcissism as distinct from mysticism.

LV-L: I have a concern that somehow people who have a spiritual awakening or awareness are somehow too focused on their own individual inner spiritual journey, and to me this is a travesty of real spiritual awakening or spiritual awareness, which has to do with the whole, and this whole includes the Earth.

MF: I couldn’t agree more. If your breakthrough does not lead to transpersonal service, to compassion, to justice, including eco-justice, then I doubt its authenticity. And Jesus said it very simply, that by their fruits you’ll know them. And we can be so taken by our spiritual experiences that we don’t realize this about energizing you to serve.

LV-L: In Sufism they actually say after the station of oneness comes the state of servant-hood, that one is then in service. Sufis are known as servants.
MF: Or as Jack Kornfield put it, after ecstasy comes the laundry.

LV-L: Somehow we have become so focused on our own human journey that we’ve forgotten that this human journey is part of the Earth’s journey. There used to be, I’m sure you’re aware of this, a deeper understanding that our soul is part of the world’s soul, the anima mundi, and we’ve lost that connection. We’ve lost that understanding that our spiritual light is part of the light of the world. And we have to regain that.

MF: Right. And how the Earth story itself is part of the cosmic story.

LV-L: It’s all one. It’s all one living, breathing, inter-related, interdependent spiritual organism as much as a physical organism, and I think we have, for some extraordinary reason, forgotten that.
MF: I think there are a lot of reasons, and one of them is the anthropocentrism and the narcissism of the modern consciousness. But I also think part of it too is the beating up of matter over the centuries by theologically influential thinkers. That kind of separation, that kind of dualism is so destructive because then you think the body is secondary, and then Mother Earth is secondary, and everything else. To put things in context, we wouldn’t have our imaginations and our breath and our food and our existence without matter. Matter is not an obstacle to spirit.

LV-L: I think the early rejection of all of the Earth-based spirituality by the Christian church has left a very sad vacuum that we’re now, in a way, seeing the result of.
MF: Paying the price for. And I think it goes back, actually, to the 4th century. If you’re going to run an empire – as the church more or less inherited the empire in the 4th century, it behooves you to split matter from spirit, and also to talk about original sin, and get people confused about their own inner nobility and empowerment, and divinity, really. I think that it has served political interests and cultural power trips to split people that way.

LV-L: Well, the male domination of nature kind of took the high ground, and now we have to, in a very few years, try to redress this balance and reclaim the sacred nature of creation. And what is central to me is to try to bring that into the ecological debate because I don’t see how we can address this physical devastation of creation, this ecocide, unless we look at its spiritual roots and reconnect ourselves to the sacred nature that is the world around us.
MF: And within us. And that’s what makes deep ecology different from ecology.

Lewellyn Vaughan-Lee: The mystics teach simple things, but those  simple things change people’s worlds. How can we re-energize that  mystical perspective so we can bring it into this global arena that is  calling out to us? I mean, the Earth is calling. That’s why I called  this book Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth because the Earth is crying, the soul of the Earth is crying. We need to respond from our own soul as well as with our hands.
Matthew Fox: And, of course, Einstein said it’s from intuition and feeling that we  get values, not from the intellect. He says the intellect gives us  methods; it does not give us values. And I think when you look back at  it, this is how various traditions of monastic learning also included  the heart in some way or other.

LV-L: When you say including the heart, I would suggest something even more  radical. How can we bring our love for the Earth into the center of this  concern with the well-being of the Earth? In fact, Thich Nhat Hanh  recently said real change will only happen when we fall in love with our  planet. As a mystic, I believe in the primacy of love, and we have  this love for the Earth. It is so generous. It has given us life. It has  given us breath. It has given us water. And we have treated it so badly  in response. I feel that this mystical center of divine love is really  the power behind the planet, because it is really what gives life to us  all. I mean, it’s a really radical thought to bring that essential  quality into the ecological debate. And although we have this  physical responsibility, how can we bring this love that belongs also to  our sense of the sacred? How can we learn once again to live in love  with the Earth in the way we live, in our daily activities so that  everything becomes imbued with this sense of the sacred? One can  educate the mind, but also we somehow have been stripped of the power of  love, which is, as a mystic, the greatest power in creation.
MF: In our traditions, certainly the Jewish tradition but also Aquinas, it  is said too that the mind resides in the heart. We don’t have to, how  should I say, pit one against the other. That real heart knowledge -  when you’re really in love with something, you want to learn more about  it.

LV-L: Also the heart and the mind in the heart see the oneness in things.  Sufis say when the eye of the heart is open—the Sufis talk about the eye  of the heart—then in each atom there are a million secrets. And we see  the unity in life, in everything that we are part of. We need to reclaim  that unity, that oneness, because life is dying and it’s dying because  we split spirit and matter, we separated ourselves from creation. The  analytic mind tries to split everything up into smaller and smaller  pieces. We need to return to this oneness, this awareness of the  interdependence of all of life, this web of life, which our ancestors  knew and revered so deeply. Somehow we have lost connection with  this spiritual dimension of creation, and to me that is the root of our  present ecological imbalance because we don’t respect or revere  creation as our ancestors and indigenous peoples have always done. And  somehow, as you say, the mystics have held this thread in the West, but  a thread is no longer enough. It needs to be a revolution, a revolution  of the heart, a revolution of consciousness that sees the oneness that  is within and all around us. I suppose the challenge is, how do we give  this back to humanity, this forgotten treasure, this secret, this deep  awareness of the real nature of creation, that it is not dead matter? I  always say the world is not a problem to be solved, it’s a living being  to be related to, and it is calling to us. It needs our attention, not  just of our minds, but also of our hearts. It is our own awakened  consciousness that can heal the Earth.

Matthew Fox: Another   dimension, I think, including when it comes to the love, is grief. We   don’t deal well with grief in our culture, and that’s one reason I  think  anger gets battered all over the walls. We don’t deal with anger  in a  constructive way very often. I do a lot of grief  ceremonies – we  need practices and rituals. When grief builds up, when  you can’t deal  with grief, not only does anger build up, but also the  joy and love get  clouded over, and people feel disempowered. So I think  grief work is a  part. What can I say? Who cannot be grieving  today about what’s  happening to the Earth? You’d have to be extremely  busy covering up your  grief and putting a lot of energy there.

Lewellyn Vaughan-Lee: I think we do. We’re a culture of mass distractions. We try to avoid at all costs seeing the real fruits of our actions. I   would say the most important practice is to listen. Thich Nhat Hanh   said to heal the Earth, listen to its cry because the Earth is crying,   but we don’t know how to listen. We’ve forgotten this feminine wisdom of  deep listening. If there is deep ecology, there is deep listening. We   have to relearn this feminine wisdom of listening to the Earth. It is  so  old, it is so wise, it has been through many crises before, and we  need  to cooperate. Thomas Berry said we are only talking to   ourselves; we are not talking to the rivers; we are not listening to the   winds and stars; we have broken the great conversation. By breaking  that conversation we have shattered the universe. And we have to learn  again how to listen to the Earth, and how to open that ear of the heart.   We have been told this great lie that we are separate from the Earth,   that it is something out there. It is not out there, we are part of the   Earth. We are made of stardust. We need to feel the grief  within  our own self for the Earth and learn to listen to the Earth,  learn to  hear it, learn to re-attune ourselves, just like the shamans  did of old,  just like the wise people who listened to the wind, who  listened to the  rivers, who felt the heartbeat of creation. And it  might not sound very  practical but it has a deep, deep wisdom within  it, and I think we need  all the help we can get at the moment.
MF: Absolutely. And that’s where the world’s spiritual traditions, if they   get out of their anthropocentric, reptilian brain dimension of wanting   to conquer each other and be number one or something gets shaken down,   and as you say, bring this feminine dimension back, the receptivity and   contemplation and silence.

LV-L: And not to rush for a quick fix, because I don’t think we can quickly   fix this environmental crisis. It has been building up for centuries.
MF: I do think that the patriarchal mindset feeds the reptilian brain excessively, whereas, I think the real way to treat the reptilian brain  is to learn to meditate and be still, because reptiles like to lie low  and in the sun… We have to make room for that mammal brain, which is  half as old as the reptilian brain in us, which is the brain of  compassion and the brain of kinship and family, and also of getting   along with the rest of nature.

LV-L: This is what Chief Oren Lyons said (in the book), when he spoke about  our original  instructions in the Native American tradition. He said one  of the  original instructions is we have to get along together. And  it’s very  simple, but once you realize we are one living community and  we can only  survive as one living community, it’s very fundamental.  It’s not  sophisticated, but we seem to have forgotten it, that we are  part of  this living, interdependent, interwoven organism that is all  around us  and that we are part of. I think we have a duty, any  of us who  have an awareness of this, to bring this into the forefront,  to claim  it; not to allow this dark side of our civilization to devour  all the  light. That’s why when you spoke about religious narcissism,  and I spoke  about my concern that spiritually awakened people are just  using their  own light for their own inner spiritual journey or their  own image of  spiritual progress, we have to make a relationship between  our light and  the world which is hungry for this light.

And there used  to be always  this relationship between the light of the individual  soul and the light  of the world’s soul, and somehow we need to  reconnect with this Earth  on a very deep, foundational, spiritual  basis. We are part of one  spiritual journey, one life journey, one  evolution, and our soul and the  soul of the world are not separate, and  we have to reclaim this  connection. And somehow, as you say,  human spirituality and  religion became narcissistic, and that was never  the intention because  Christ’s love was for the world; the Buddha’s  peace was for the world.  The message is always for the whole.
MF: I think today a lot of young people are being caught up in the vocation   of re-sacralizing the Earth, but doing it through everything from the way we eat and farm to the way we do business and politics.

LV-L: It’s   the attitude that we bring to it. It’s always the attitude. If we come   in the deepest sense, with an attitude of prayer or even just respect   and reverence for each other, for the Earth, for what is around us,  then  the healing can begin, and the forces of darkness will recede. But  we  will wait and see.
Matthew Fox was described by Thomas Berry as possibly the “most creative, comprehensive & challenging religious-spiritual teacher in America”.  Llewelyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi mystic & successor of Irina Tweedie who brought the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Indian Sufi Order to the West. This exchange of views was sponsored by Bioneers.  Publ. here 10.9.2013.

New Pentecost? From The Introduction to Spirit, Time, and The Future

June 12, 2011 - 3:21 pm 89 Comments

Introduction: A New Pentecost Awaits

The Holy Spirit has within her presence and potentials, a restless, powerful, and urgent expectation of continually giving birth to a new reality. This new Spirit-infused reality is both inclusive and paradoxical; Its effects are both individual and social, personal and cultural. The impulses and directives once they are actively acknowledged and released can be experienced as either gracious or tense. These urgings can be genuinely inspiring, and once they are felt, are life changing and undeniable.

 

At times, the release or re-birthing of these energies and principles can appear dramatic and challenging in its chaotic, alchemical, and transformative demands. As Spirit, the omnipresent energies and gracious expressions of God can be universally experienced. Succinctly, She can best be experienced and understood as the source of vitality, wisdom, and compassion. However, while available to all, most often it is the willing and the receptive who acknowledge this truth most readily. They are the more open and vulnerable to sensing and to experiencing God’s omnipresence as being a sustaining and loving reality that lives within and among us.

 

The new Millennia has dawned, but it has not yet become a conscious and widely acknowledged part of our dominant culture. The activity of The Spirit has not been perceived widely in our prevailing religious church practices. She has not been given serious regard in our current theological and liturgical understandings. It is also true that tracking carefully the turns of time and calendars does not guarantee the Spirit’s appearance as a growth in awareness or an advance in consciousness. While it remains true that the greater manifestations of the Spirit are continually available, yet most often they will lie latently within time or go ignored and unused in our lives.

 

Despite the intense and unsettling struggle we can easily witness all around us, we need not give up hope. When we consider the continual wrestling we encounter with the imposing ethically dark forces of human whim and will, the entrenchment within resistant and powerful patriarchal systems and as condoned by cultural inertia, we are tempted by feelings of resignation. However, by looking deeper, and searching heartfully, we can find that we are continually supported by those glimpses of increasing awareness. Our sense of hope can be restored by acknowledging the increase in spiritual investigations, and by our willingness to actively question and to reverently wonder. In that searching, and by that willingness, we promote a more constant access to supernal qualities of light, hope, and truth.

 

The evidence for establishing a new consciousness is becoming more available and more widely recognized in contemporary culture. If it is true that a new awareness is dawning, then as more people consciously attune their lives and actions to its insights and demands, it will certainly become progressively better known. Across the wide spectrum of human thought and spiritual practice, we can be assured that this new manifestation of Spirit will be revealed and Spirit will invite and extend Her influences into every home, and into every heart.

 

The Spirit is brooding over the world (Deuteronomy 32), and She is ready to hatch her offspring— the women and men of God who will fully recognize her, will see the Spirit as a tripartite source: First, as a world creating, Spirit acts as our indwelling vital and dynamic presence; Second, as a sustaining source for a shared relational wisdom and social experience; Third or lastly, as an ethical imperative for meaningful social reform and for ecological repair/transformation.

 

When individuals invite these energies and heed the influences of the Spirit, they open themselves to those life- transformative explorations and move consciously towards a greater commitment to pneumatic living or participating in a Spirit centered life.

 

To the degree that this Spirit’s invitation is welcomed, affirmed, and embodied, there will be an increase in compassionate awareness. This inbreaking spiritual energy will broaden and deepen our social conscience as well as enliven our spiritual imagination. From our receptivity, we can reinforce our insights personally and then work together to courageously transform them into necessary and ethical actions. The result will be an alchemical and gracious reordering of spiritual perceptions and baseline ethical realities. This realignment to Spirit will work collectively to foster a large scale cultural re-birthing- bringing forth a broader, and deeper comprehension of the Spiritual dimensions of our daily human existence.

 

How this Spirit centered effects are to manifest themselves, or how they will become more widely known and then more easily assimilated is not yet fully clear. What we can witness and affirm is that the cracks in our world’s icy indifference, in our rampant Western egotism, and all the deep veined fissures of cultural isolation that previously divided humanity from itself, are cracking open more readily than the polar ice caps! The indifference and isolation are giving way to the need for developing more cultural interdependence. Such compassionate cooperation will be a hallmark of this new age or coming consciousness. Because of the increasing cultural disillusionment that we can see running blatantly throughout our society, a tipping point or a crisis point is rapidly becoming necessary. Perhaps we can say, as a supernal counterbalance or as a gracious response to them, Spirit and all her ameliorative effects will be brought closer and become more available to our daily social awareness.

 

One author, Donald Gelpi,2 puts it in these words:

 

 

“A contemporary pneumatology faces then a formidable task. In order to counteract those forces that stifle Spirit awareness, it must prophetically challenge individuals and communities to rend their hearts and open themselves to the illumination of the Spirit.”

 

 

It is our crisis and our opportunity, our social demands and our soulful urgings that will move us into confronting this formidable task. One of the intentions of this book is to contribute to the background information and to the greater understanding of these powerful and dynamic forces. It is my goal to begin to outline how the Spirit works, and to clearly acknowledge the cultural changes that would be necessary to usher in a genuine Age of the Spirit.

 

Increasingly over the recent decades, our contemporary culture has written about the dramatic and idealistic possibilities of cultural change. Accordingly to current forecasts, these changes are thought to commence or to correspond to the date and time that is outlined in the Meso-American Mayan calendar. The time when such culturally predictive signs and expected wonders will seemingly occur will be on December 21, 2012. Now it is important to state that this wish for change or cultural transformation is not new! Similar to the recent, vain imaginations and hopes for a new spiritually inspired the social order linked to the Harmonic Convergence in 1987. (And even without appealing the wildly speculative and obtuse claims of the latest group of Nostradamus interpreters) We can easily see this American cultural and religious tendency dating as far back in Protestantism in North America and most notably with the Millerites3 in 1834. They were the religious sect who assembled on a New York Mountain-top; It seemed as if there was an expectation of calamity or collapse, of some impending doom, accompanied by celestial catastrophes, and at the end of such tribulation, there would be some arcane but nonetheless some Scripturally predicted and religiously assured form of divine deliverance! Each century, or so it seems, arrives with its own version of a Second Coming! These largely erroneous predictions abound in Western Millennial literature, and are wrapped up in the personal revelations of religious leaders who are “enraptured” 4 with their own world-view! Somehow, they are able to cajole and convince their followers into believing in its imminent appearing! Modern media has often been a willing, uncritical, and enthusiastic ally to these controversial and often unfounded assertions.

 

Without going into an extensive Biblical exegesis, or a rigorous religious examination of comparative texts, let me state clearly that there are no dangerous religious books per se, only dangerous interpretations. Those who lack a historical, and most importantly, an imaginative and metaphorical understanding of Scripture, are primarily to blame for being the source of such fear and apprehension! Those who would take a literal or fundamentalist approach to any text are the same ones who are most prone to insult and alarm. These same panicked individuals or the same fear fueled groups, are the ones who are the most likely to proclaim their distress to others. There is an uncanny and unfathomable desire to sound the alarm- particularly when the warnings are based on their own version of all the disastrous effects that are to come!

 

As for the current dire warning about 2012, even the Mayans themselves are at odds with the current rash of books and predictions that offer dramatic warnings and portents of doom. As the long, extended article 5 cited in the end notes of this papernames it, our Western Christian understandings of the religious life, its examples and archetypes have been “exhausted.” This observation is one of my key concerns. Our Western religious language has been stripped of its power to proclaim dynamic and transformative messages. Because of this accepted infirmity, and the inability for conventional approaches to Western spirituality to inspire our culture, as I see it, the time is ready, even overripe, for a “New Pentecost” among us….

 

It is my contention that these changes are not literally connected to a specific time or place; they are not limited to a specific date in calendar or hour of clock time. When we are dealing with all the dire and scary predictions that we have been popularly given, first we have to make objective and scientific allowances for those uncontrollable events such as shifts in the tectonic plates that cause earthquakes, etc. That should quell some of more fantastic fears based on some supernatural punishment or fear. Next, comes the humble and honest admission that there are some events and changes that remain well beyond our human control. This humility and honesty can encourage the responsible and ethical imperative to learn how to cooperate, and to learn how best to prepare ourselves to respond to these cataclysmic events as effectively and as compassionately as we can.

 

However, there is a larger, more harsh admission to be made: Most, if not all of the social crises and environmental dilemmas we now face are humanly authored, and they are culturally created. These systemic imbalances and the shifts in our planet’s ecological extremes are primarily perpetuated by our dominant myopic social priorities. It is a case where our ethics controls our climate, and that our weather imbalances are being directed by our secular and monetary values.

 

On the positive and transformative side, Spirit is manifest whenever the heart is warmed and whenever the will is informed. I believe that our lives can be activated to receive the spiritual impulses of grace and change, and then we can, as a result of that leavening, act to make those effects evident in our lives. From our individual transformations, we can come together and apply it as a social force within our culture.

 

The aim of this book is to be an updated, expanded consideration of the depth and dimensions of the Holy Spirit. It will offer new perspectives without losing sight of its original, linguistic definitions and will recount some of the wider understandings that are to be found within our Western Judeo-Christian heritage. This concern for keeping a consistent dialogue with theology, however, is not a defensive, turgid, or a brittle one. It will align itself with a progressive working definition from both theological research and the writings of depth psychology that holds to a more inclusive and universal understanding. As such, it freely goes beyond the traditional dogmatic definitions and any of the narrowly accepted orthodox scope of language and its conforming beliefs. Consequently, the ideas expressed will be along a line of thoughtful consideration that never loses touch with its foundational integrity. As an inclusive theological overview, this research affirms that the Spirit always has been and will remain an omnipresent correspondent with every archetype that affirms and honors her place, her possibilities, and her potentials.

Becoming A Peaceful Warrior & Male Spirituality

December 7, 2009 - 4:08 pm 12 Comments

A Brief Reflection on Becoming A Spiritual Warrior

Today, I will focus on how this new yet ancient spiritual approach that validates and can direct the particular hunger that men in our world are experiencing.
While feminism has had its proponents, and victories, we have seen its reluctant message become more mainstream, men of all ages are finally summoning their courage to look at the shadow side of our masculinity found in war, greed, selfishness, and hostile competition. Men from many of the developed countries are actively questioning social, economic, and political assumptions concerning roles and responsibilities. Men are also calling into serious question the images of masculinity in our music and films that promote violence and depersonalization of both men and women. In the 1970′s, liberation movements for men consisted of drum circles and the Iron Man Wild John ideas that frankly, became comic and largely ineffectual when it came to transforming Pentagon priorities or Wall Street abuses. Now this quest, for initiation and radical change, for empathy and understanding, for dignity, and for finding the lost dimensions of our souls while letting our spirits grow and be free, is, under political, economic and family duress, arriving at a level of depth and maturity rarely realized in earlier decades.
Along with political and economic reform, this striving for a new definition of what it means to be a man is what being a peaceful and spiritual warrior is all about.
(now before the women in this gathering recoil or rebel… Of course, women can be warriors… But that often centers on reclaiming or recapturing the masculine energies in themselves, and that integration is a worthwhile goal… But as a man, I cannot fully speak to that… But it is clear that such necessary alchemy and growth towards individuation is the right path as such transformation or wholeness is a universal human need.)

The principal reason I emphasize the need of men to awaken to the depth of their character and to the greater sense of meaning and purpose in their struggle to be alive, strong, compassionate, and at peace, is because our whole world, maybe its very survival, depends on men learning these lessons of how to possess a vigilance for peace, for upholding human rights, dignity, and self worth in their days and in their ways that neither an illustrious sense of title, worldly power, or a bank account can truly give them. There is no equation that states happiness is equated with money or power… Happiness comes to men when a man feels useful and when he is able to express his positive emotions when and where it matters most!
As one my “Socrates” or one of my mentors, Matthew Fox, puts it there may be no greater need that adopting a warrior mentality. A warrior is different from being a solider… “A solider follows external orders, usually to accomplish some external goal, whereas a warrior finds his or her strength and purpose in following their hearts…” Fox is the principal modern exponent of Creation Spirituality- an inclusive, earth centered approach that honors science, the world religions, the arts, and what can be called the best of the human spirit. He puts it this way:
“To become a spiritual warrior encourages us by challenging us to risk- to go beyond social expectations and the ordinary ways of perceiving and relating. It asks us to look within and to acknowledge the wonder and the reverence that can be found in oneself, life, and in all our sacred relationships. ”
The reason the old, fearful forms of religion still endure is found in the abdication of human responsibility for the world, our cultural priorities, and our families. There is tenacious part of the human psyche that feels that it is easier for us to accept being passive, afraid, even guilty, than it is to accept our personal responsibility as powerful co-creaters of our own world.
Fox defines it further in these words: “[A spiritual warrior learns to let go- Letting go of comforts, security, of past images of himself, or past ways of relationships. It is being willing to risk the unknown for what is yet to be. Here the essential masculine task is to learn what serves growth and goodness, and then to obey one's inner wisdom directives so that he can practice only what will not harm him or live in ways that will not robs anyone else of their dignity, freedom, and respect.]” To be a warrior then, in the understanding of Creation Spirituality, requires the journey of a lifetime. It is a sacred, intimate, yet all inclusive quest, that seeks out and tries to find what is authentic, real, and nurturing to oneself and affirmative towards others. How? It is having the inner awareness, insight and confidence to face down negativity and evil in all its disguises.  When one gains that courage, that strength of will, that is when the real or the deep work begins; the work to see what it is possible to heal and restore, to truly know deeply what the world and what life requires of you.
As a spiritual warrior, you will be asked to face the greatest enemy- oneself; and you will be enlisted to support others in their battles and challenges for the sake of the world, for all biological life, and for the future of all the children on the planet.
Creation Spirituality urges you to engage in life’s promises and pitfalls, with an open and willing heart. For the way of the true warriors are full of growth and change. As we intentionally create and transform who and what we are, for who and what we can become, we serve our world needs and promote by our example what a more enlightened relationship, family, or society can become.
I invite you this day and to each day that affirms and celebrates our need for greater peace in ourselves and in our world, to learn more about this approach and others that also serve the cause of harmony, beauty, balance and peace. Let it be an opportunity for you to express more of who you are, and how you can participate more fully in spirituality and in the original blessings that have been given to us by God, or good!
Namaste, Shanti, Salaam, Pax,
Blessed Be, Peace…

Readings and Reflections for Mother’s Day

May 7, 2014 - 7:52 pm 12 Comments

Opening Words:

“[To ascertain the true destiny of a woman, we must give her legitimate hopes and encourage a high ethical and spiritual standards in herself; values and principles that when taken to heart, will radiance through her love and concern to her marriage, her children, her career, and all through her life....

A woman does not need to follow rules in order to grow, as much as she must allow her inner nature to blossom; to allow her intellect to climb; allow the artistry of her soul to be freely expressed and her spirit grow unimpeded by any relational artifice or insincere social demands.

A woman is a creature who is always changing, growing, unfolding her powers of self-understanding, and she passes on those lessons to all who share her life with her....]” Margaret Fuller (adapted)

A Woman’s Prayer for Peace:

When I think of peace, I think of a world where human beings are no longer brutalized by the accidents of birth such as sex, race, religion, or nationality. For me, peace is a way of structuring human relations where daily acts of kindness and caring are tangibly rewarded.

It is a way of thinking, feeling, and acting where our essential interconnectedness with one another is truly honored….. Where power is no longer equated with the bullet or blade, but is held within a holy chalice-

the chalice which is our ancient and modern symbol of the power to give, to nurture, to enhance life. And I will not only pray for this peace, but sparked by the light of this chalice, I will actively work for the day when such peace is evident among us. … AMEN Riane Eisler

The Cost of War

Near the end of his presidency, Eisenhower warned our country about the prospects of letting a military-industrial complex run the economy, and shape the priorities and values of our nation … He said:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and who are not fed, who are cold, and who are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone; It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children.”

As this service holds within it, a focus on motherhood and peace, we are asking you to lend your efforts towards joining in a campaign with mothers around the world, to end terrorism and violence. The web site listed in your order of service is: petitiononline.com or can be found by typing in mothers and peace, and then search…. By signing, each of us can contribute to creating a safer world for all human families across our globe.

 

Offertory and Quotes

The greatest battle that was ever fought- Shall I tell you where or when? On the maps of the world you will find it not. For it was fought, and is still being fought by the mothers of men. Joakuin Miller

Reflection:

1 It has been said that a mother is only as happy as her saddest child…

We who are the adults and the parents of this world have to realize how we instill happiness and how we promote sadness; For it is in how we express and act out our values and follow through on our choices, that we teach more about what real happiness or true sadness is; More than any external media driven images, more than any wrapped gift or material possession, more than any words in a textbook, more than any platitudes or prayers can muster, we carry the potentials for happiness and peace with and among us.

We are one, after all, you and I; together we suffer,

together we exist, and forever we shall recreate each other.

Teilhard de Chardin

We are together, and we are one, after all, you and I; together in this world, we celebrate and we suffer, together we exist, and forever we shall recreate patterns of harm or health in each other. May we, this day, begin to create a lasting sense of peace, and recreate more happiness and less sadness in our world, and in all the days to come….

 

Closing words:

It is said and believed across the world’s faiths, that a mother’s charge is to nurture and to refine the character of her children. She does so through her examples, her courage, and her caring about those ideals that promote life, truth, love, and peace….

Brief Ritual of Blessing: St. Blaise-Blessing of The Throats on February 3rd each year…

February 3, 2014 - 10:01 am 1 Comment

 

            The Blessing Of The Throats  February 3rd

 

Background/History:

 

According to Catholic tradition and legend, one of the most valued legacies of the sainted ones are the gifts of healing and enlightenment accomplished by intercessionary prayer and their inspiration as role models for our lives. One of the most enduring rituals that honor the gift of healing and spiritual embodiment comes down to us as The Blessing Of The Throats.

In the ritual that follows this explanation, we will offer this ancient rite and ask that it will open us up to greater spiritual expressiveness, prophetic outspokenness, that advances the realm of God within and among us.

St. Blaze or Blaise was an early church bishop in Asia Minor during the 4th century AD. Not much is known of this saint except that he was a physician before he became a bishop and that he was a gifted healer who generously offered himself to people and to animals who were brought to him. The particular healing associated with the throat relates to the story of how he saved a young boy from choking.

we honor and recall this gift of healing today by understanding the importance of the throat area as not only the physical center for swallowing, speaking and breathing, but for what that vital part of our body correlates to in our feelings and in our consciousness. When looked at metaphysically, the throat is the center of the true self or our authenticity.

It is the area that deals with the passions of deception, denial, and lying. It is also the part of our psyches that needs to speak up for oneself, and address others- to speak up to oppression, manipulation, or subservience. As a spiritual truth, we are all equal, and deserving of compassion and being heard.

Speaking up for justice with integrity is an important quality for the healing of our society, for freeing our personal and soulful progress, and for empowering our world’s health, safety, and evolution.

In this ritual, we will pray together to be open to these inner truths, as well as affirm the right to restorative healing, the uninterrupted flow of breath, blood, life and language that are given to us by God.

 

RITUAL: People wishing to receive the blessing/healing or the freeing/strengthening of this ritual, will be asked to kneel before the priest, and let the crossed candles touch each side of their throats. Then the priest will speak the words of invocation, release and blessing and offer the transmission:

 

“May the grace and power of God free you from whatever binds you; May you be released and healed to express your true self, your life in God, in every way.”     AMEN 9

 

 

 

A Prayer for St. Bridget’s Day and A Celtic Invocation and Response

January 31, 2014 - 3:34 pm 3 Comments

 

This morning, as I kindle the fire upon the hearth, I pray that the flame of God’s love may burn in my heart, and in the hearts of all I meet today.

I pray that no envy and malice, no hatred or fear, may smother the flame.

I pray that indifference and apathy, contempt and pride, may not pour like cold water on the fire.

Instead, may the spark of God’s love light the love in my heart, that it may burn brightly through the day.

And may I warm those whoa re lonely, whose hearts are cold and lifeless, so that all may know the comfort of God’s love.

 

Invocation:

Be with us, Bridget, might Celtic triple goddess of the flame and the flood, crafts, weaving, and creativity.

You who bring inspiration, art, healing, poetry, medicine and smithcraft, be with us today.

Stir for us, the cauldron of ideas and transformation!

Response:

Come to us with air, creating inspiring words and thoughts.

Come to us with fire, for the potter’s kiln, the smithy’s forge.

Come to us with water, to heal the sick with love and compassion.

Come to us with earth, and bless our creations, born at Solstice, now to manifest!

BLESSED BE!

 

For February 2nd and 3rd- St.Blaise\Candlemas

Selected Reading: The Light Within

["The truth is that we cannot be left unchanged by encountering others... Every relationship of our lives, every turning toward one another rather than away from

others, or choosing to hide oneself, is an ever-deepening encounter with God, and with our essential humanness.

When we allow ourselves to experience this, when we love, we discover that our fear can only be finally dispelled by the confrontation, by the embrace and the grace of the encounter itself. Each time we are willing to live in the light, the shadows covering ourselves are dispelled and less fear survives. The reality of such love and courage casts out our fears, the more practiced, the more perfect it becomes."]

Reprint: Teilhard De Chardin: A New Year’s Prayer

January 4, 2014 - 9:28 am Comments Off

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  As we launch into 2014 we at the Teilhard de Chardin Project are reminded of the New Year’s prayer Teilhard once offered:

“At the beginning of this new year, what we ask of that universal presence which envelops us all, is first to reunite us, as in a shared, living center with those whom we love, those who, so far away from us here, are themselves beginning this same new year.    On January 1, 1932, Teilhard de Chardin found himself in Central China with some 40 other men  engaged in Citroën’s Croisiére Jaune, an event described this way by a New York Time movie review of a documentary made about it.

“La Croisière Jaune (The Yellow Journey) is the record of an astonishing motor trip from Beirut, Syria, across Afghanistan, the Himalaya Mountains, the Gobi Desert and the rest of Asia to Peiping.”  It follows “the itinerary of the two heroic little groups who drove in [all-terrain vehicles] along the fabled [Silk Road] where six centuries ago Marco Polo crept along by foot and caravan. The main group started from Beirut going east, while a smaller group worked westward from Peiping, later falling into the hands of the war lord of Sinkiang, who commandeered the autos and imprisoned the men.”

Teilhard was traveling with the westward group, which had left Tientsin on April 6, 1931.  Having successfully joined forces with the eastward group in Sianking Province, they were now working their way back to Peking.  Thus, on this New Year’s Day, after 8 months of sharing rigorous hardships on the road, the 40 members of the Citroën Expedition gathered shortly after dawn at a small mission church to attend a Mass celebrated by their colleague Pere Teilhard de Chardin.  In addressing them Teilhard acknowledges the fact that most of them are unbelievers.    The leader of the expedition, Audouin-Dubreil, kept a copy of his address:   My dear friends, we have met this morning, in this little church, in the heart of China, in order to come before God at the beginning of this new year.  Of course, probably for not one of us here does God mean, or seem, the same thing as for any other of us.  And yet, because we are all intelligent beings, not one of us can escape the feeling, or reflection, that above and beyond ourselves there exists some superior force, and that, since it is superior to ourselves, it must possess some superior form of our own intelligence and our own will.   It is in this mighty presence that we should recollect ourselves for a moment at the beginning of this new year.  What we ask of that universal presence which envelops us all, is first to reunite us, as in a shared, living center with those whom we love, those who, so far away from us here, are themselves beginning this same new year.   Then, considering what must be the boundless power of this force, we beseech it to take a favorable hand for us and for our friends and families in the tangled and seemingly uncontrollable web of events that await us in the months ahead.  So may success crown our enterprises.  So may joy dwell in our hearts and all around us.  So may what sorrow cannot be spared us be transfigured into a finer joy, the joy of know that we have occupied each his own station in the universe, and that, in that station, we have done as we ought.    Around us and in us, God, through his deep-reaching power, can bring all this about.  And it is in order that he may indeed do so that, for all of you, I am about to offer him this Mass, the highest form of Christian prayer.

We wish you and all those you love, wherever they may be, a joyful new year with a renewed zest for life!

 

Autumn Thoughts and Thanksgiving Prayers

November 16, 2013 - 12:55 pm 16 Comments

 

 

INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING PRAYER

We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us.

We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water.

We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.

We return thanks to the moon and stars, which have given to us their light when the sun was gone. We return thanks to the sun, that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.

Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in Whom is embodied all goodness, and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.

 

Iroquois Prayer, adapted

(Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace)

Prayer for Autumn Days

God of the seasons, there is a time for everything; there is a time for dying and a time for rising. We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

God of autumn, the trees are saying good bye to their green, letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk. Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on the ground, our lives have their own patterns. As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives. We always need to recognize your power-filled presence. May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender. We must wait for harvest in faith and hope. Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and vision. God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life. For all this, we are grateful.

Author Unknown                                               Appropriate for many faiths

I am Thankful for the Renewal of Hope in Our Country

Hope is the thing with feathers  
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune without the words,  
And never stops at all... 

I've heard it in the chillest land,  
And on the strangest sea;         
Yet, never, in extremity,  
It asked a crumb of me.

If we were to accept the dire reports of national economic difficulties uncritically, there would be little reason for hope during this Holiday season. While strong and often convincing in its details, all those mounting reports can lead to the feelings of powerlessness and increase our sense of despair. I feel that Hope is our best remedy.

As the Western Scriptures remind us, ” Hope is the anchor of our faith.” Within that assurance, it is important to avoid either the Pollyanna response that everything will be all right, or worse, that everything will return to the way it was. I see it as our spiritual imperative not to give in to despair, discouragement, or the difficulties we all face, that we all share…

In the words of another one of our poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, we are experiencing an “anxious autumn”, and quite possibly a cold, harsh winter… But Spring with its promise, is natural harbinger of hope, just as our places of worship can serve as our invaluable sources of support, caring, and shared sense of hope among us.

Hope is a courageous emotion; It is defiant and persevering, for it seeks to find and affirm whatever is good and noble in our struggles. We rely on hope as a path to wisdom, and it is through sharing our hopes and affirming what we are truly grateful for in our lives that makes holiday worship so meaningful for so many of us.

Even if we are struggling, as a nation, through an “anxious Autumn”, let us reflect on the words of our contemporary author, Barbara Kingsolver, who reflects on the nature of hope in these words:

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most [courageous thing] you can do is to live inside that hope.”

Happy Thanksgiving!