healing

rumi1.jpg

The fragility of the human condition suggests that we are in constant need of some form of healing at any given time. The maladies that we experience in our bodies, mind or emotions remind us that to care for ourselves is our primary calling and holy mandate. Human flourishing depends on the health that we experience and the health we seek to assist in others.

My wounded-ness is a mirror that helps me see my need for help and a window that helps me to seek out the care givers that exist all around me. Unfortunately my pride often gets in the way of the willingness to ask for assistance and advice on the journey back to health. Whether we like it or not we are designed with an intrinsic need for companionship, and that extends to our healing needs. While the immune system is profoundly unique in its capacity to govern our lives the need for a boost of resistance from outside sources is regularly required.

He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. - Chinese Proverb

Most of the ill health we walk through is the result of things outside of our control but when we choose to neglect the wisdom that is universally on offer it can have dire results. Doctors are dispensers of wisdom that comes in the form of medication, advice, and a plethora of treatments that provide us with the necessary bolster that we cannot conjure up on our own. Wisdom as a divine force incarnates in many forms sometimes disguised as remedies that bestow solace and hope into our immediate trial. Wisdom as medication draws on the magical powers that reside in all of creation.

While we will all eventually die from some form of ageing process the ongoing life flow that we require comes from a delicate and intricate web of mitigating circumstances. When I have needed healing of some kind from the obvious outlets societal help there can also be unexpected surprise sources that arrive to bolster my faith in the healing mystery of the unexpected.

Fyodor Dostoevsky once said that the soul is healed by being with children. Those of you who have ever experienced the holy presence of children or grand-children can attest to this miracle. While they can test you to the limit they can also break through your defences and minister to your immune system in ways that defy logic. Their honesty, simplicity or creative genius can cause you to find joy and laughter in difficult times and be momentarily distracted long enough to find relief in your ailments. I often wonder if Jesus' comments on the Kingdom of God belonging to the children was a way of reminding us that if we are more trusting, receptive, and curious we might live a healthier (godly) life?

“Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.” ― Novalis

Another significant agent of healing is the arts, the primordial agent of the creator God reflected in all matter, medicating humanity through its divine essence. A poem, song, or story are all conduits of sacredness, soothing and satisfying our needs with the aesthetic of their imaginative interplay. Music has always been a wonderful healer in my life, arriving at exactly the right time bring light to my darkness and compassion to my depression and self pity. The Artist William Blake said that the imagination is the seat of God in the human condition... and no one does healing like the divine imagination.

As I notice and respond to the holy agents that present healing to me the more I will invariably pass it on to others. The law of reciprocity suggests that when you extend love and kindness to others it will always find its way back to you in good measure. Sometimes the best way to experience healing in your life is to find someone who needs the very same therapy and empathise with their ill health. Healing in its purest form is always a collaboration between the human and divine, the known and unknown, coming together to recalibrate our well being.

“Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.” ― Marianne Williamson




reflect

“If I speak of myself in different ways, that is because I look at myself in different ways.”

― Michel de Montaigne

Pataua: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Pataua: Aotearoa, New Zealand

I am constantly amazed at how creation mirrors belonging to us, a reflection of the divine in all things that asks us to pause and contemplate our place in the universe. Sometimes when we see something super imposed on itself we begin to fully comprehend the essence of the thing. The grandeur of a landscape reflected at the waters edge or the shadow of a mountain overlaid on the valley below can momentarily capture our attention and help us find new ways of seeing the world around us.

Water is the original primal agent of reflection, the first mirror that God gave humanity, an opportunity to see ourselves through the eyes of nature. Humans were relative late comers to the creation party arriving with little relational understanding of what it would mean to be contributing energies to the grand scheme of things. Rather than submit to our primordial parent we set about to write our own narrative, which ultimately turned us into monstrous overlords who have become entrenched in a trajectory of ecological and anthropological terrorism. Our failure to listen to the reverberations of Mother Nature has resulted in an inflated sense of self admiration and egotism that ironically came when we saw ourselves in her image. The greek myth of Narcissus is a reminder that excessive pride and self confidence can distort our view of ourselves and the world before us.

The mystical reason behind why creation mirrors our image is not to enlarge our ego but invite us into something bigger than ourselves, a request by the powers that be to lean into the 13 billion year old story that wants to include us in its universal agenda of fruitfulness.

‘For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known’. - St Paul

What ever reflects me reshapes me, and reminds me that I am more than what I think I am. The ancient biblical writer when expounding on the idea of God as love suggests that love is a mirror that is trying to help you become the best version of yourself, even though we often miss her subtle queues of intimate seduction. The more we look into the mystery of love the more we see the face of God refracted in us. The ancient Hebrews used the word ‘face’ to describe the presence of God in all things, the welcome mat for dialogue and interaction. Whenever we come face to face with the mysterious otherness of love we are reminded again that we are fully present with God.

In the indigenous culture of Aotearoa New Zealand we have a saying, ‘Kanohi ki te Kanohi’ which means face to face to face in the flesh. When we come into direct contact with the other we experience their Mauri, the principle life force of their essence. This Mauri is the divine signature in all of humanity, a reflection of our eternal oneness and need for each other.

When we see ourselves reflected in all of creation, and allow that imaging to evolve our consciousness, life takes on new meaning. Just as Jesus was a reflection of the divine, incarnation is the sacred work of purpose in the human condition.

The prophet+priest (part#2)

Prophet Amos as depicted by Gustave Dore

Prophet Amos as depicted by Gustave Dore

The role of the Prophet is to lead us into sacred space by deconstructing the old space; the role of the Priest is to teach us how to live fruitfully inside of sacred space. The Prophet disconnects us from the false, and the priest reconnects us to the real at ever larger and deeper levels. Unfortunately, most Ministers might talk of new realms but rarely lead us out of the old realm where we are still largely trapped and addicted. So not much genuinely new happens. - Fr. Richard Rohr

The prophet and the priest are the twin guides that manage the ongoing health of my internal and external spirituality. They remind me that sacredness hides in the fabric of all things, and that sacredness is constantly calling me into deeper levels of unitive consciousness. The ongoing cycle of construction, deconstruction and new construction is the rhythm of its divine agenda.

The Prophet confronts my old familiarity, not to denigrate or disparage my previous paradigm but to conjure up new possibility and suggest that life is evolving with or without me, so why not take the risk and let mystery lead me by the hand into the unknown. The innate bravery of the spirit of prophecy breathes on my staleness, activating a fresh taste of expectation and anticipation. It suggests wild and innovative alternatives that are not restrained by previous iterations of my orthodoxy or orthopraxy. Prophets do not dance to the beat of the institutional drum, but are happy to confide in a willing Priest who will help re-imagine those of us who are willing to break free of the hamster wheel of the predictable and mundane.

The Priest is the intermediary who curates the renovation of my current reality by exegeting the blueprints of the prophetic, in order to instigate a new architecture and aesthetic. Change can be a vicious intruder that comes when we least expect it suggesting a make over that sometimes insults our sensibilities. The Priest softens the blow by shaping a creative process that enables us all to adopt change in ever increasing measures. Priestly patience is the virtue of willing acceptance and open hearted resolve that helps us to willingly enter into the mystery of prophetic futurity.


I am part prophet and part priest a duality of distinction that enables me to successfully navigate the transformation that is shaping my becoming. Learning to listen and lean into their subtle queues is a life long challenge of observation and obedience.

The priest in me tentatively welcomes the necessity of the new, somehow persuaded by the benefits that its transformation has on offer. She/he is committed to a slow unfolding, aware that all good things come to those who have learn’t to wait…on God. The priest says be still on know I am God, and the prophet brings the enthusiasm and energy to enable such a posture. Together they settle your heart and strengthen your resolve in order that we might enjoy the journey we find ourselves on.

The priest in you loves the prophet in you…listen to both voices as they help wisdom and revelation do their divine bidding in your life.






prophet+priest (part#1)

‘It is both a distinction and affliction to be a prophet’ - Abraham Heschel

Ezekial: Sistine Chapel

Ezekial: Sistine Chapel

The distinction of being human is that we are all living into the futurity of hopefulness that fuels our becoming. The prophet in me is not just a religious construct but an intrinsic inquisitiveness with the unknown and yet to be revealed…hopes mysterious and romantic alluring.

This prophetic fascination enlivens our will to live, constantly proposing alternative futures that awaken us to new moments of self-discovery. At the core of our deep oneness with all of nature lies a fascination with wonder, that feeling of admiration for the inter-relatedness of all things. We are all prophets in the making, a mix of futurity and antiquity collaborating together to nurture our current reality.

Throughout history prophets were charged with reconnecting us with the beauty of the divine life all around us. They used God metaphors to remind us that our ‘this-ness’ is only as healthy as our connection with that which is other and yet to be experienced. God for the prophet was always that which enhanced and animated our evolution. The word-of-the-Lord was always more than a message of rebuke or adjustment from some distant deity, it was a charge to incarnate and awaken your God-consciousness.

The prophets knew instinctively, as you do yourself, that we are all made in the image of something far greater and all encompassing, that calls us to grow, morph, and transform into the new likeness that is on offer. This prophetic awareness is instinctively linked to our discernment, intuition and conscience, which shapes our virtuous desires, longings and cravings.

Leaning into my prophetic awareness will mean allowing my status quo and comfort levels to be challenged and confronted. The prophetic will not settle for a mediocre version of myself, a below par expression of unfulfilled dreams. In fact the prophetic centre, our imagination, is constantly conspiring with the powers that be to renovate our understanding and release us from the fixed-set mindsets that plague our rational constructs.

We often mistrust our imagination due to a historical over dependence on reason. It seems that we have let knowledge become the God of choice especially when it comes to making decisions and disseminating the relevant information on offer. We have seen our imaginings as fanciful and unrealistic in the light of logical explanation and clear thought, and yet the creative centre of our wild-ness and untamed nature constantly pushes us to take risks, trust our hearts and fall in love with adventure.

The prophet in you is listening to voices that are echo's of ancient manuscripts written before the dawn of time, that don't necessarily subscribe to an objectivity that is clear, concise, and sensible. The subjectivity of your prognosticating self will always suffer the scrutiny of those who might be more measured or controlled, suggesting that wisdom is confined to their prescribed agenda. You owe it to yourself to listen to the notions and impulses that surge inside of your creative centre, lest you become a societal clone that finds itself trapped in a really bad version of the Truman show, a film that depicts the power of institution and corporation as agents of fear and control.

We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented. It’s as simple as that. - Christof: Truman show

When we feel trapped by our circumstances, a victim of the empire or powers outside of our control the prophet in us will always find a way to question and confront the false reality that holds us captive, in order to propose an alternative future.

Listen to your inner prophet, trust your instincts, and let your muse lead you into a new way of being.

moments

How do I know if my life is heading in the right direction, making sense or achieving the results that really matter? These existential questions plague the human condition with relentless abandon, never seemingly satisfied with any rational explanations that might sound like feasible answers.

Every year we make new resolutions based on previous unmet expectations hoping for some kind of magical remedy for the constant disappointments that seem to arise based on our addiction to comparison and competition.

The measuring rods that we use to define our sense of achievement are influenced by a raft of cultural presuppositions that often never deliver or satisfy. We often feel like our backs are against the wall and time is not on our side. Our fear of missing the mark or missing out is depriving us of the contentment we really need.

“Life is not measured by time. It is measured by moments.” ― Armin Houman

We have been told that we have to use our time wisely, set goals, make a list, review our plan and manage life with scrupulous discipline which seems pragmatic and maybe productive, but oh so boring. Life is more than attainment, winning, acquiring, and procuring in order to accomplish something.

If we could just pause and take a break from the frenetic drivers that govern our continued progress of existence based we might actually discover a deep sense of satisfaction that hides in the sacred moments.

mother teressa.jpeg

Father time is the personification of time itself, depicted as an elderly man that hovers over us like a winged creature carrying a scythe and hourglass, or a time keeping device that represents times one-way movement. Eventually he became a companion of the grim reaper, the embodiment of death. Around the new year Father time became a convenient trope, stylised wearing a sash with the previous years date on it. This characterisation helped to promote a subtle humiliation or embarrassment around our misuse of time and challenge to improve our use of it. While Father time is the pragmatic and practical reality of life as we know it Mother-moment is the nurturing companion that draws us into the deep immeasurable experience of the significant. If Father time is the fore ground of truth then Mother moment is the background of meaning.

Hiding in the backdrop of your hectic schedule or busyness is REST, the divine pause that recalibrates your attention so that you can enjoy the beauty of the moment that is there for you. Rest is not non-doing but rather a lean back into the real doing of being. I am a human being that contributes to the landscape around me in ways that go far beyond any kind of extrinsic personal participation to the benefit of society.

For most people I suspect that time is considered to be something which ‘flows’ relentlessly and continuously; which you might be able to slow down if only you could move fast enough; but which you have to live with, and through, and the very existence of which, surely nobody can ever challenge. To me it is ‘the relativity of events’ and with no events there can be no such thing as ‘time’. - Robert F. Beck.

In the relentless and continuous hides moments that will slow you and ground you in the experience of something significant. These events are glimpses of the divine that interact with your life reminding you that you are not alone nor insignificant. Those moments are a mixed bag of good and not so good, a reminder that life does not move to a predefined script with preferential outcomes.

Enjoy and endure the moments you are given and time will be on your side.



pain

Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing. - Fight Club

On a recent visit to the gym I came across a blackboard quote at the entrance that said, “Pain is weakness leaving the body”. While this attempts to stimulate a renewed focus on fitness and physical strengthening it completely misses the point.

Pain is not weakness leaving the body, it is the bodies warning system informing you of an internal suffering that is the result of a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. These unbearable feelings move us to find some kind of remedy in order to alleviate the affliction. Yet because it comes in many shapes and sizes it can often be difficult to locate its source and eradicate its affect. Its illusiveness speaks to the complex nature of suffering that we all experience.

While I tend to see pain as an enemy intruder who is trying to disrupt my physical, emotional or psychological well-being, it can also be a friend who is trying to alert me to a bigger need going on in my life. Suffering is the universal complaint of the human condition that we must learn to accept and assimilate. If I am not careful I might try to avoid or brush off this inconvenient interruption and miss the valuable lessons we can learn in difficult times.

Suffering and pain are a reminder that life is a complex mix of uncertainty and unpredictability that randomly arrives without warning. The Buddha says that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional especially if we can let go of those narcissistic desires that self pleasure our egos.

It is always by way of pain that one arrives at pleasure. - Marquis de Sade

Arthur Henry Young

Arthur Henry Young

Pain and suffering are inevitable, yet in their own way they journey us toward moments of pleasure that feed into our happiness. Pleasure is the natural medication that momentarily alleviates our discomfort, distracting us long enough to feel the relief of contentment and hopefulness. Even the most excruciating pain can be dulled by a pleasurable feeling of rapture and gratification.

‘Carry each others burdens…..’

As fellow sufferers we can all help to support others who are overwhelmed by the burdens that they carry. While we may not be able to take away their pain we can be conduits of empathy and sympathy, a reminder to others that they are not alone or unnoticed in their dilemma.

When the weight of pain is at its peak, ravaging your concentration and overcoming your sensibilities, know that it will pass because there is something bigger and more beautiful governing the universe.

God gave us pain to remind us we are alive, so we will learn to value the joys and beauty of the world.

- Tom Corr


metaphor

“Unless you are educated in metaphor, you are not safe to be let loose in the world.” ― Robert Frost

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A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. Allegory, trope, parable, symbol and emblem are all ways in which we seek to explain or understand the deeper truths that hide behind the literal simplifications that no longer suffice. Our ever growing curiosity and inquisitiveness demands a greater connection to the deeper things of life. The human quest for that illusive idea of genuine truth finds clarification by employing the language of metaphor, which asks bigger questions of that which remains unanswered.

The religious traditions have long employed metaphorical language in order to remind us that the mystical truths of the universe are more than scientific deductions or literal readings of sacred texts. Down through the ages the prophets continued to remind us that the divine continues to re-incarnate its voice in the essence of all things so that that we might find solidarity in its sacred purpose. Metaphor gives our spiritual texts a new reading, a new voice into our ongoing maturation and evolution. Jesus highlighted this in his skilful story telling, reimagining the truth with parabolic genius. If we were to simply adhere to his supreme example by learning the art of story telling we might find our audience more interested in what we have to say. Unfortunately we have succumbed to propositional proof texting and doctrinal dissertation, further alienating our potential hearers.

Love as the ultimate metaphor for God does not finds itself caught up in the art of legalese, a right and wrong modality that focuses on behaviour as the arbiter of true faith, but lives into the poetic proclamation of acceptance as the true heart of a loving God. The literal reading of law will only tell you who is on the right or wrong side of the judgement ledger whereas love which has grace as a consort is constantly finding new ways to affirm our inclusion in the grand narrative.

The creation stories in the Bible aren’t intended to be taken literally. They’re not science; they’re metaphors. They provide meaning, not facts. -Matthew Fox

For some of you this quote will challenge the traditional way in which you have been taught to read the Bible, but please don't get hung up on the word ‘literal’, instead focus in on the word ‘meaning’.

Our sacred text will forever be a beacon of hope for those who want to read it to find meaning, which will always hold more sway over right beliefs or accurate factuality. Right beliefs have caused more arguments and divisions than we can shake a stick at but meaning has brought us together on so many deep levels. Love works with meaning because it is flexible, romantic, and intimate. The law is important but only because we refuse to put love first, retreating back into our fearful default of comparison, competition and climbing.

Metaphor is our creative companion who wants to help us re-language our lives in order that the story of who we are can flourish and fulfil its destiny. The sacred art of story telling, poetry and song writing are all dependent on metaphor, mediums that enrich our quest for meaningfulness, providing us with new answers to the age old unanswered questions.




scared

'When I am alone I get a little scared sometimes’ - anon

Arthur Henry Young

Arthur Henry Young

Everyone has times when they are a little scared about the circumstances they find themselves in, wondering and worrying if things will work out ok. The unpredictability of life is a constant reminder that our fear of the unknown is a dominant force that plagues and pummels our consciousness. It would seem that our brains are hard-wired to constantly evaluate the positive and negative possibilities of any and every scenario. This fickle and fragile thinking is an instinctive part of our core design, a reminder that the optimistic and pessimistic leanings of our innate constitution have a huge say in how we process the unforeseen on an ongoing basis.

The positivity gurus try to teach us nifty techniques in order to annihilate our fears, or at least quell their overpowering influence on our disposition which can be helpful but not altogether liberating in the long run. Fear is here to stay, regardless of what techniques you learn, you may just need to learn how to cope with it differently. Being scared is reminder of your need to find safety and support in the moment. Its not our enemy but a friend who is trying to protect us against undue risk and remind us to listen to our intuition.

Fear not only elevates your nervous energy causing you to catastrophize in the moment but in a strange kind of way it can also have the reverse affect of enlarging your hopefulness. Hopefulness says that weeping can last for a season but joy comes in the morning, a reminder that you have a future even when you present is falling apart. It is the antidote for fear because it has the ability to find light in your darkness and strength in your weakness, even when you can't see it.

As a young child I was petrified of the dark and somehow convinced that something or some one was out to get me. My imagination would dream up outrageous possibilities of harm while somehow hoping for a rescuer of some kind.

'Fear not for I am with you’ was the ancient mantra of our forefathers and mothers who needed a constant reminder that the soothing presence of otherness was always close by. That presence which we historically call ‘God' came in many forms, a song that would start singing to interrupt our thoughts, the arm of friend who empathises with your pain or a sign from mother nature that you are part of a universal protectorate.

When you get scared don’t try to will it away or ignore its reality, look for the hope that hides in its shadowy corner waiting to make itself known.

“If you don't learn how to be scared, you'll never really learn how to be brave.”

― Simon Holt, The Devouring


restriction

You've got yourself stuck in a moment

And now you can't get out of it

- U2

Arthur Henry Young. Life through the eyes of Trees

Arthur Henry Young. Life through the eyes of Trees

Have you ever felt like your life has been taken hostage by circumstances that you have no control over or power to change, causing you to wonder if fate has dealt you a bad hand or that there was some kind of malevolent force conspiring against you for unfair reason. The unpredictability of life can be down right scary at times, full of uncertainty and apprehension. Learning to navigate this terrain takes skilful resolve and wise input from as many sources as possible. Getting stuck is inevitable, it's the futures way of introducing you to the possibility of change and transformation. For many this can evoke a social anxiety that disorientates and disturbs the inner workings of our well-being, but as disconcerting as it is, evolution comes to us all, not just to disturb our equilibrium but to introduce us to new ways of seeing and thriving in the world around us.

We are living in unprecedented days of advancement and progress where antiquity is being confronted at a fast rate of knots by futurity. Our ancient ways of seeing the world and primitive social constructs are under threat by the ever increasing advancement of knowledge. Human consciousness and the sciences are collaborating together like never before, suggesting that our old binary ways of looking at the world are no longer sufficient and that we need to consider a more unitive and non-dual way of processing the deep inner workings of life.

The mystics believe that the holy work of sacred spirit is a counter intuitive partnership with 'release and restraint'. ‘Release’ seeks to promote ever greater dimensions of freedom and flourishing while the ‘restraint’ element is the arbiter that seeks to define the boundaries and limitations that manage our well-being.

Our ancient biblical forebears described the HOLY SPIRIT as a restraining agent that controlled the equilibrium of all matter, a binding force or energy centre that holds everything in play, including the life flow that governs the animation of humanity. If we are to believe that there is something bigger going on behind the scenes then we have to ask how our experiences of restriction have actually presented the divine to us. If God is present in the restriction or restraint then we have to discern the moment in order to find the grace and power that is potentially on offer. Restriction slows us long enough to get in touch with that part of us which is in pain or in need of healing. Depression, once seen as something to overcome or exorcise from our life is now being recognised as a signpost that is pointing to a deeper suffering or agony that is deep in the human psyche.

'My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness'.

If we refuse to lean back into or engage with the struggle of constriction we can end up trying to prematurely extricate ourselves from the situation only to find ourselves back there sooner than later. I personally hate the claustrophobic feelings of restriction and invariably try to extract myself as fast as possible, but truth be told I need to let the powers of restriction and restraint have their way with me especially if I am going to learn the subtle art of trust. When I get stuck I need a helping hand, a rescuer of sorts who reaches into my life to remind me that I am a communal agent that is constitutionally connected to others and in need of assistance. More often than not my independent inclinations cause me to withdraw and battle it out alone afraid to let my vulnerability be seen by another, after-all, who wants to come across as weak and needy. Pride has a wonderful way of putting on a strong front even when your life might be imploding in the background and the ego likes to be in control especially when your soul is crying out for help. Our egotism loves the path of ascent, the upwardly mobile direction of success and external notoriety but the soul knows that the path of descent is the only true way to wholeness and health.This path is one of letting go, or in Biblical terms ‘carrying your cross’; facing your demons or befriending your grief and loss.

When Bono wrote the lyrics of 'Stuck in a Moment’ he was referring to his good friend Michael Hutchence who sadly took his own life. A poignant line in the song is…"You've got to get yourself together, you've got stuck in a moment...” which for me is not a get-over-it or toughen-up taunt. I would like to think that he was saying, if you are stuck in a moment then you need to get yourself together with someone else because you cant do this on your own. Maybe we need keep an eye out for those who are on the same path of descent and cosy on up in order to find solace in the moment. Or maybe we need to look to those who have travelled this road before so that we can glean from their wisdom and insight. Which ever the case you are not alone on your journey. Some thing WHOLLY is going on.


radical


To be a radical is to advocate for thorough or complete change to the systems and institutions that threaten our evolution as a species. The religious, political and social structures that have traditionally undergirded society are in need of constant adjustment and upgrade, an overhaul of sorts, especially if we are to advance and flourish in this post-christian age.

radicalface.jpg

The word radical isn’t as dangerous as it sounds. It comes from the Latin radix, meaning “root,” the same as radish, which isn’t particularly revolutionary. It refers to going deep, which is what I try to do. I want to get at the root of Christianity, which, for me, is Jesus’s teachings on love and inclusiveness. It’s about the poor being able to lead decent lives. It’s about caring for those who suffer. And it’s about justice. I believe Jesus calls on us all to be mystics — that is, lovers of God, of creation, and of each other — but also to be prophets or warriors, people who defend what we cherish. So to be radical means to go deep, the way roots go deep, but also to “uproot,” to question whether we’re doing enough to bring about justice. - Matthew Fox

The mystics and prophets must be the dominant voices that we listen to if we are going to embrace the new future that is pushing its way into our present reality.

Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who was a real scholar of the prophetic said that the primary work of a prophet is to ‘interfere'. We need to interfere with injustice — whether it’s ecological, economic, racial, gender-based, or social. The radical prophetic voices that are emerging today need to be willing to challenge the status quo and question the long held beliefs and traditions that have shaped our moral and ethical constructs.

Our fear of disruption and change exacerbates our suspicion of any kind of deconstructive conversation and consideration. Hence why the radicality of the mystics and prophets confront and expose our insecurities when they conjure and propose alternate futures.

To constantly question the old concepts and traditions is the only way for us to find the new answers that will help to explain our unsatisfied yearning for a full and enjoyable life.

For many years now I have been asking questions about religion and how it has over-promised God to the masses, while suffering under the weight of an inflated view of its role as a kind of social and spiritual conscience. Don’t get me wrong, religion has done some great things for society but it has always suffered from its arrogant stance as the primary answer for human wellbeing ignoring the science practices that are now contributing heavily to the existential conversation. Spiral dynamics is providing us with a new comprehension of the spiritual opening the door to new realms of enquiry.

Some of the big questions I am currently asking are ???

What is the new place that religion should hold in a post-christian world?

How do we hold to our sacred writings and interpret them in the light of our equally valid cultural exegesis?

Can we overcome our dualistic predilection towards binary positions of exclusion or can we adopt a fully inclusive world view?

Have we cannibalised the beauty of our sacred canon by proof texting the hell out its meaning? Excuse the ‘hell' pun!

One of the big rocks of my protestant tradition has been what theologians call ‘original sin’, the idea that all humans are born into a state of sinfulness. This notion supposes a God who is harshly punitive, and that because of two peoples action around eating the forbidden fruit the entirety of the human race is condemned, at least until the brith of Jesus. Matthew Fox calls this a ‘preposterous idea’.

We’re born as blessings, as expressions of the love and creative power of God and the universe. We’re capable of making wrong decisions, of choosing evil from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When we do, we slip and fall. But that doesn’t affect our being. It’s like learning to walk. We fall then, too, but we get back up and try again. - Matthew Fox

Augustine, a fourth century theologian came up with the idea of ‘original sin' in a time when Christianity took over the Roman Empire, and if you are going to run an empire original sin is a helpful idea, especially if you want people to question their self worth and existential well being. If we look at the rest of creation we can see that they have a really healthy understanding of being and belonging, happy to be alive. It’s only humans who torture themselves with guilt, shame, regret and everything else that goes with a negative view of our innate essence. Our original wounded-ness is real but not because our forbears ate an apple, but simply because all birth and re-birth is traumatic.

Otto Rank was a brilliant Jewish psychologist of the early twentieth century. He said that everyone comes into the world wounded, because leaving the comfort of the womb after nine months is traumatic. Separation from the mother is our original wound. And when that bell of separation is rung again later in life — by divorce or death or something else — we re-experience the trauma. For Rank the only salve is 'unio mystica', the mystical union that we experience in love and art.

To be radical is to suggest a new reading of the script handed down from our ancient progenitors. Maybe ‘original blessing’ should be the new mantra that graces the lips of the religious and deeply spiritual, reminding us that we are fundamentally ‘good’ even when we act out to the detriment of our fellow earth citizens.

Be radical by choosing the good over the evil…you can do it.

This blog has been inspired by the writings of Matthew Fox. ‘The Mystic and the Warrior'

The image is the album cover of ‘Radical Face’ music…check it out