With Comments by Adam Blatner

November 8, 2005.

Matthew Fox, Ph.D., with nuances from Alexandra Kovats, Ph.D.; University of Creation Spirituality (UCS), Oakland, CA, August 1998 (Now named Wisdom University in San Francisco, CA), suggested the following: Note, however, that the numbering does not indicate relative importance, priority, or sequence of any kind.
     The four-fold journey describes the sequence of paths often experienced in a cyclical, clock-wise process beginning with the Via Positiva.


  1. The universe is basically a blessing, a gift we experience as good. Creation is Original Blessing.

  2. Humans can and do relate to the universe as a whole, since they are microcosms of that macrocosm.

  3. Each person is called to be a mystic (one who enters the mystery of life with wonder and awe resulting in gratitude).

  4. Each person is a prophet (a "mystic in action" {Hocking}, one who "interferes" (Rabbi Heschel} with what interrupts authentic life).

  5. Humans need to find and nourish their spirit-selves through spiritual praxis, meditation, and being in community.

  6. The spirit life of a person can be named through a four-fold journey as found in the writings of Meister Eckhart:

        a.. Via Positiva - delight, awe, wonder, gratitude
        b.. Via Negativa - befriending darkness, silence, suffering, letting go
        c.. Via Creativa - befriending creativity, images, birthing
        d.. Via Transformativa - befriending ccompassion, justice, healing, celebration
  7. Each person is an artist in some way and that art as meditation is a primary form of prayer for releasing our images and empowering the community and us; art finds its fulfillment in ritual, the community's art.

  8. Each one is a son or daughter of God; therefore we have divine blood in our veins, divine breath in our lungs; and the basic work of God is Compassion.

  9. Divinity has many "faces" (Mother, Father, Child, Parent) that the Holy One is as much Godhead (mystery) as God (history), as much beyond all beings as in all beings.

  10. The Divine is in all things and all things are in the Divine (panentheism) and that this mystical intuition supplants theism (and its child, atheism) as an appropriate way to name our relation to the Divine and experience the Sacred.

    Adam’s comments: First, I want to respond mainly with a sense of how nice it is to know there are folks trying to develop a new mythos, a new set of images that can nurture us.  For some these images involve stories and figures from the Bible, or Gospels, Quran, Baghavad-Gita... for others, the images and stories are drawn more from nature...
         I don't think there should be dispute at this level, as it is non-rational, in the category of why do you love the people you do?-- but the price for celebrating one's personal mythos, or sharing it with those who resonate with similar relationships in a certain type of religious community, is to abandon the pretense that this is a rational enterprise--a pretense that leads to a sense of "objective truth" that may then be rationalized as appropriate to impose on others, "for their souls' sake."

         Commenting on Fox’s points above: Fox's terms are noble, but they presume a degree of interest in spirituality that is by no means common in the general population. Perhaps we all have the potential, but, hey, we have the potential for terrible wickedness, also. Still, on its behalf, I agree that these principles are a call toward a generally positive philosophical attitude, and for the most part agree with them.
    As for the Common Ground seminar 2 months ago, it became clear that if we encounter at the level of art and personal search, such psycho-aesthetic elements (the aforementioned mythic, in action, in dance, poetry, song-writing, etc.) such personal meetings do tend to transcend different religious backgrounds; such issues (as dogma) were simply not raised, irrelevant.  Okay. That kind of meeting is possible. But it's neither dialogue or discussion about the different maps that are implicit and/or explicit in the various religious systems.
           My own interest is not simply promoting tolerance and respect--though that's good, of course-- but also developing new designs for community myth-making, new maps, systems, ones that are more inclusive. This takes some intellectual dialogue as well as community involvement at the more informal level.