Matthew Fox: Wisdom from Our Spiritual Ancestors

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Today’s science assures us that perception is a less passive activity than we have sometimes been taught: In fact, much of what we perceive we create. Our teachers and elders, our parents and scientists, our cultures with its poets and film makers, politicians and pundits, writers and musicians, corporations and advertisers affect and even alter our perceptions. So too does letting go or meditation wherein we become “stripped to the literal substance of ourselves before God” (Howard Thurman) On the bright side, consider the images we learned to perceive from Mahatma Gandhi or Dr. King or Nelson Mandala.

Is that what prophets do—get us to see the world differently? Is that what artists do also? What role does intuition play in our perception? How do we nurture intuition and bring values to bear on our decision-making and ethical choices and educating the young? We will explore some observations about perception from spiritual teachers including Meister Eckhart and Thich Naht Hahn, Jesus and the Buddha, M.C. Richards and MLK Junior, and more, to learn anew how their perceptions can and have rocked our worlds. Also some scientists such as Einstein, Darwin and Rupert Sheldrake. On the dark side, we will consider shadow perceptions in our midst put forth recently by the Supreme Court in two decisions that threaten to lay waste the liberating perceptions of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln. Meister Eckhart says: “God is present with all his bliss and all the angels inside of me but I do not perceive this.” What holds us back from deeper and surer perceptions? How do we cleanse our perceptions (often aroused by projections) and remove foggy or prejudicial perceptions? What spiritual practices can assist in that cleansing process?

Matthew Fox (b. 1940) is an internationally acclaimed theologian who was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years. He holds a doctorate, summa cum laude, in the History and Theology of Spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris. Seeking to establish a new pedagogy for learning spirituality that was grounded in an effort to reawaken the West to its own mystical traditions in such figures as Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart and the mysticism of Thomas Aquinas, as well as interacting with contemporary scientists who are also mystics, Fox founded the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality.

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