Igniting the Next Phase in Consciousness:  Partnering with Matthew Fox

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by Sally Petersen

“At our most elemental, we are not a chemical reaction, but an energetic charge. Human beings and all living things are a coalescence of energy in a field of energy connected to every other thing in the world.” — Lynne McTaggart, The Field

The field of energy that McTaggart speaks of is a Creative Field, and we are all co-creators. In September, people from around the world gathered for the first Creative Field Conference at Sunrise Ranch near Loveland. The conference, called “Igniting the Next Phase in Consciousness,” marked the beginning of the third year of the Creative Field Project, which was developed to allow participants to create and join in an ever-expanding field of love in the service of evolving human consciousness and in the future of our planet.

What is a Creative Field? The Creative Field Project defines it thusly:
• An already-existing field of collective awareness and energy
• A context for engaging with others in our individual awakening
• A global network of people committed to the evolution of consciousness
• A critical mass of intention that transforms the world.

The Creative Field Project is designed to increase participation each year through small groups which meet monthly for facilitated deep discussion. The groups explore topics of human awareness, spiritual healing and transformation. They investigate how an ever-expanding field of love can effect positive change in the world and how we can each offer ourselves in service. One of the speakers at the conference was priest and theologian Matthew Fox.

Matthew Fox – Lessons from the Mystics
The author of over 30 books, American priest and theologian Matthew Fox has long been a lightning rod for religious reform. Formerly a member of the Dominican order within the Roman Catholic Church, Fox was expelled in 1993 from the Dominican order for disobedience — or as Fox says, “The Pope fired me.” His beliefs and teachings of “original blessing” were seen as heretical to the Catholic view of “original sin.” Embracing the teachings of early mystic visionaries such as Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas Aquinas, Saint Francis of Assisi and others, Fox became an influential proponent of what he calls Creation Spirituality, which also embraces Buddhism, Judaism, Sufism and Native American teachings.

After his expulsion, Fox became an Episcopal priest. He continues to bring his passion for transforming the spiritual experience through education and the use of mystical approaches to worship. The “Techno Cosmic Masses” he created, based on raves, are designed to connect younger worshippers to a more ecstatic and body-centered celebration of spirituality. A rave is a youth-oriented dance party involving modern genres of fast-paced electronic dance music and light shows.

In his keynote talk at the conference, Fox presented eight steps for ushering in the next stage of our evolutionary consciousness.

1. Compassion. A universal truth, compassion is taught by all major religious teachers. Aggression stems from the reptilian brain; there is no compromise with a crocodile. The development of the mammalian brain 2.5 million years ago introduced compassion; it was important to bond with others because of the need to care for a family. The essence of compassion, according to Meister Eckhart, is the belief that what happens to another, whether it be a joy or a sorrow, happens to me. With the truth of our oneness comes the realization that I am not just me. “We need to trust our selfhood enough that we can mingle with the selfhood of another,” Fox said. He quoted Thomas Aquinas, who said, “Put a bridle of love on your passions, and your passions will carry you into compassion.”

2. Breath. Meditation that honors breath is primal. In languages all over the world, the word for breath has the same root as the word for spirit: in English, respiration, inspiration, spirit. Breath is sacred; it is the source of our power and strength, fundamental to life itself.

3. Learn to integrate. Science points to the truth of interconnectivity and interdependence. “Current scientific thought is a gift to our understanding of consciousness, Fox said. Reality is not objective; it operates within the context of relational interaction. Matter is nothing more than “frozen light” — really slowly moving energy. The oldest and most universal name for divinity in the world is Light. In fact, we each carry the lineage, the story of the whole universe itself. Recognizing that everything in the Cosmos is light helps us realize that we are aligned with the Universe. “We’re here to fall in love with trees and animals and galaxies, as well as poems and music and heroes,” Fox said.

4. Re-marry the divine feminine and the sacred masculine. “Women have been doing their inner work, [and they] deserve more evolved men,” Fox said. “The Goddess has been returning for 40 years; she’s back and she’s pissed.” Our greatest challenge today is not coming from another empire; it is our own destruction of the planet. The masculine principle in us all has tortured earth for its secrets. It’s time to take care of Mother Earth.

5. Let go of war. Money going to war means it’s not going to education and health care. We are in a time now as described by the mystic Hafiz: “Sometimes God wants to do us a great big favor. He turns us upside down and shakes all the nonsense out.” Current world chaos is like a “dark night of the species:” the ultimate purpose is to purify our longing, to learn something profound. The world needs a tremendous burst of creativity to give birth to forms that work: new forms of government, cooperation, education economics, for example.

6. Education about spirituality. Our educational model neglects justice, art, creativity, spirit and too often, science. We’ve followed the rationalistic René Descartes in our approach and emphasized the truth in the head, to the neglect of the truth of the heart and the lower chakras. Fox proposes a new curriculum that emphasizes the head knowledge in the morning and pursues the arts and creativity in the afternoon. At the core of Fox’s philosophy of education are the Ten C’s: Cosmology and Ecology; Contemplation and Meditation; Creativity; Chaos and Darkness; Compassion; Courage; Critical Consciousness and Judgment; Community; Ceremony, Celebration and Ritual; and Character.

7. Stewardship. Our society has separated stewardship from commerce, justice from law, and sustainability from agriculture, and we need to re-introduce those aspects. It takes courage to take care of our world; the root word for courage in Old French means “big heart.” The base of our sick society now is consumerism,” Fox says. “I think consumerism is an appeal to addiction.” It’s time now to cut back on consumption; it’s time to live and enjoy a simpler lifestyle. “Everyone is profoundly free,” he said, “but you have to have a bonfire.”

8. Ritual and Ceremony. Fox led the conference participants in expressions of worship through dance, chanting, toning, mystic teachings and poetry. Although these practices create experiences of unity, it’s not enough, he said; we need to translate these into action and express our creative selves in the Creative Field for the benefit of all.

Matthew Fox’s new Creation Spirituality calls for deep involvement with others, with issues, with the earth and the very cosmos itself. “We have to melt the dualism between contemplation and action,” he said. “I’m not optimistic but I’m hopeful, and hope is a verb with the sleeves rolled up.”

Other speakers at the conference were Katie Hendricks, Maryse Barak and Lynne McTaggart.

For more information about the Creative Field Project, go to www.TheCreativeField.org.

Sally Petersen, MA, CCHt, is a psychotherapist and certified clinical hypnotherapist, with a practice in Greeley, Colorado. A long-time writer and editor, she has served on the Editorial Advisory Board of BellaSpark magazine for over 5 years. She is the editor of the 2011 Energy Wasteline Almanac. salpetersen@comcast.net

November/December 2011

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Igniting the Next Phase in Consciousness:  Partnering with Matthew Fox
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #6 Radical Self Care
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