Transformation is the title track of the new album and represents the final of the four interconnected sacred paths of Creation-based spirituality (CS): Via Positivia, Via Negativa, Via Creativa, and Via Transformativa.
Full transformation is ultimately all about the full embodiment of compassion.
What behaviors do you think of when you hear the word “compassion”?
As I’ve been reflecting and meditating on compassion, I’ve realized my perceptions of compassion have in many ways been confined to a one-dimensional way of seeing; that compassion is having empathy and being caring and kind to others who are in need. Compassion is certainly that, but not only that. Meister Eckhart, the Dominican priest and CS mystic of the middle ages paints a multi-dimensional understanding when he said that “Compassion is where peace and justice kiss”.
“Compassion is where peace and justice kiss”. This kind of bowls me over. It is not enough to simply be kind and caring to those in need. Transformation, then, isn’t at all about being peaceful in the sense of “being nice”. It is equal parts of bringing peace and justice into the world.
I’ve often bristled when I hear religious leaders (mostly evangelicals, but mainline as well) stating that the political realm is not “our battle”. They, in other words, are asking us to not question or make accountable our local, state, and national political representatives. That somehow “God put them there and we must trust unquestionably that process and their decisions.” They say that the only thing we can do is “pray for them”. There is this peer pressure to “be nice”, “don’t question too much”, “accept that this is ‘God’s’ plan”. I bristle because acquiescing to power, and often destructive power, completely shuts down our compassion for the oppressed. That is, active justice-seeking, transformative justice that seeks to dismantle the violence, hate, profiteering and oppression that so often targets the least among us.
I’m reminded of the works of people like Martin Luther King, Jr., and of scholars and practitioners like Brene´ Brown, who understand the deep necessity of emotional intelligence and not denying your anger; individual anger, community anger, generational anger. To recognize it and use that passion to change things through non-violent movement and protest.
Recently, I read a daily meditation by spiritual CS elder, Matthew Fox, where he says:
“Remember, it’s part of the conspiracy of the master to tell the slave that anger is a mortal sin. But the truth is that that’s not the case. Anger is not a sin. Aquinas says nothing great happens without anger. Anger is that energy, that passion in you that sustains the struggle [against oppression and destructive power]”.
Such recognition of transformation asks us to have the courage to raise our voices and use our bodies and our creativity and imagination to bring compassion to bear through justice-seeking. Using our abilities to write, to speak, to raise awareness through art, music, dance, poetry, story, film in all forms of protest against oppressive power, as well as envisioning new ways of bringing all into community where all can be whole.