As a student of Matthew Fox and graduate of his Masters program in Creation Spirituality at the The University of Creation Spirituality, I was fortunate to have learned the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, which gave me a solid framework with which to understand my own spiritual journey as well as to recognize the signposts along the spiritual paths of others.
Creation spirituality teaches us that our inner work can be understood as a four-fold, spiral path. In the Via Positiva, one experiences the fundamental blessing of the universe with delight at the mysteries and beauty that abound. Our sense of awe and wonder, of intense joy and love for life grounds us in compassion and connection to community. We fully experience the interconnectivity and sacredness of all life. We experience divinity within creation and ourselves as a sacred part of creation. In love with the being-ness of being can’t keep us from entering the inevitable darkness that awaits us all. In the Via Negativa, one faces loss, suffering, letting go and lack of clarity. Fully entering the darkness and trusting the process opens creative doorways. In the Via Creativa, the letting go leads us to renewed passion and creativity. We love intensly, birth and re-birth. Our creative expression inevitably leads us to the Via Transformativa which invites us to express moral outrage and interfere with injustice. Solid in our boundaries and sense of self as part of a whole, we work to heal injustice and make community. We re-enter into compassion as a spiritual path, celebrating the joys and successes of others as we would our own and mourning the losses of others as we would our own. The power of being part of a larger whole leads us back to awe and wonder, to the Via Positiva. Within each of us resides the mystic, the prophet and the artist, spiraling through the four-fold path.
JJ Grey is an extraordinary mystical, musical talent because he is particularly gifted at expressing the mystical experience through song. When hearing JJ Grey speak of his creative process, he does not take ownership of the song because he knows it comes from the source, which is bigger than him. He says, “The songs just write themselves!” Because his talents are not only innate but finely honed by his community and his hard work, he is adept at expressy the gifts of spirit given to him.
When I learned to sing powwow songs, I was taught that the songs are sacred beings and to let myself dream a song. I experienced becoming part of something much larger than myself with everyone singing and dancing together. When I sing, I pray the songs make the people happy, make people feel good and proud to be who they are.
JJ Grey’s songs make me feel happy. They make me feel good. The way he owns his Southern-ness makes me proud to of my Southern roots. When he sings about “the joy that knows not opposite,” I feel the timeless expression of the mystical experience come alive in me.
The Via Positiva
The Via Negativa
The Via Creativa
The Via Transformativa