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Today's Meditation features Matthew Fox putting Thomas Merton and Meister Eckhart in dialogue with Buddhism and Christianity to explore the Divine Spark within all things. Ubuntu (I am because you are) also adds light and love and connection. We all grow together. Everything belongs. Nothing is lost: there is a spiritual as well as physical conservation (and conversation) of energy--as you already experience.
We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.
In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.
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Ron and Jean
MEDITATION 698: Matthew Fox, Thomas Merton and Meister Eckhart on the Divine Spark within All Things plus spiritual conservation of energy
The Creation Spirituality Lineage Calling All Social and Environmental Activists, Mystic Explorers, Justice Makers, Cosmic Thinkers, Earth Keepers
Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox
Spark of the Soul as Cosmic Christ
in Merton & Eckhart
June 15, 2022
Merton talks about Eckhart’s “Christian doctrine of creation” in which he recognizes that the distinction between Creator and creature does not have the last word. “A basic unity within ourselves at the summit of our being where we are ‘one with God’” prevails.
That is the image of God in us, the “spark of the soul” in Eckhart’s language, that can also be called the Cosmic Christ. Merton writes that
something like the ‘New Man’ of Christianity, as understood by the Christian mystics (including the Apostles)” is at work. “’I live,’ said Paul, ‘now not I but Christ lives in me.’
“Cosmic Consciousness: The more you know about consciousness, the more you know about Buddha or God.” Image by Hartwig HKD on Flickr.
Merton pivots to the Buddhist understanding of the Buddha Nature in all things. “In Zen enlightenment, the discovery of the ‘original face before you were born’ is the discovery not that one sees Buddha but that one is Buddha…”
Merton recognizes the Cosmic Christ—the Christ in all beings—as parallel to the Buddha Nature experience in Buddhism and in doing so is echoing Meister Eckhart. Consider this poem entitled “O Sweet Irrational Worship.”
The consciousness of Nature: “Tree of Life.” Image by Daniel Arrhakis on Flickr.
Wind and a bobwhite
And the afternoon sun.
By ceasing to question the sun
I have become light,
Bird and wind.
My leaves sing.
I am earth, earth
All these lighted things
Grow from my heart.
One commentator on this poem says: “The earth song conveys Merton’s consciousness of the ground of being.” Indeed it does—and it is Eckhart’s consciousness also. It is a profound Cosmic Christ consciousness telling of the light in all things, ourselves included. We are all Cosmic Christs.
And all beings are: “Life is this simple: We live in a world that is absolutely transparent. The divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable—it is true.”
Eckhart does not limit his theology to our being other Christs but to our acting like other Christs and imitating him and his compassion in our actions. He says that we are to be
…doing his works [and] behaving exactly like Jesus….Christ says here, ‘Follow me’…‘follow’ is a command to act….Mold yourself in all your works on his pattern.
In his New Seeds of Contemplation Merton writes:
If we believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God, there is no one on earth in whom we are not prepared to see, in mystery, the presence of Christ.
Peaceful warriorhood: Asya Serpinska, 77-year-old Hostomel Animal Shelter owner, went toward the front lines of the Ukraine-Russia conflict to rescue pets and zoo animals caught in the fighting. Washington Post
We do not see the Blinding One in black emptiness. He speaks to us gently in ten thousand things….He shines not on them but from within them.
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If you can't reach Matthew's video on the website, try his Vimeo channel HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you find the Christ, the Buddha Nature, the Image of God not so much shining on things as shining from within things? Have you also become light and earth and bird?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, pp. 229-233.
And Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, p. 347.
Banner Image: “Cosmic Consciousness: Growing awareness and a consciousness expanding into the cosmic frame liberate the ego from its annoying inner conflict. ” Image by Hartwig HKD on Flickr
A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey
In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.
“This wise and marvelous book will profoundly inspire all those who love Merton and want to know him more deeply.” — Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism
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.