Sunday morning (December 11th, 2011) I awoke to 30-degree temperatures here in New York City and did not want to get out of bed let alone walk 16 blocks to go to church. Now I love my church, Unity of New York, it's progressive, caring, enlightened, inclusive, musical and fun.
I knew we had a guest speaker, Matthew Fox, a Catholic priest who was excommunicated after 34 years for being, as our pastor Paul Tenaglia remarked, pro women, pro gays, pro choice and pro God. It doesn't get much better than that.
So I bundled up and decided to brave the cold and I'm so glad I did.
In our seemingly crazy world when you hear the truth you know it. It's like a cool sip of pure, clean water that quenches your thirst.
Matthew Fox is an amazing presence for good and peace on the planet. He's written some 30 books and won such awards as: the Abbey Courage of Conscience Peace Award (other recipients include the Dali Lama, Mother Teresa, Ernesto Cadrenal and Rosa Parks), the Gandhi King Ikeda Award, the Tikkun National Ethics Award to name a few.
His talk was titled "Are We Birthing Christ -- The Real Meaning of Christmas." The concept that struck me the deepest was his understanding of the dark night of the soul, which many experience, myself included, but some choose not to learn from and instead hightail it out of town or disappear into addictions for fear of facing the truth. It takes a warrior to face the truth head on.
He spoke about how out of nothingness God is born.
"What is nothingness?" he asks. Where is it found? It's found in the stillness and silence of meditation. It's found in the breath, which is spirit. A place where there is no monkey mind and where we do not look at the earth as an object to be mined or people as objects to be used.
The second place to find nothingness is in loss. It's found in 9/11. We call it ground zero. It's found in joblessness where we feel we're no longer needed or wanted. It's found in grief and in letting go.