Home Self Improvement About human nothingness and extinction, continued

About human nothingness and extinction, continued


Contemplating one’s own mortality is not always easy, but it is essential to living fully and with gratitude.

“Dematerialization” Photo by Hartwig HKD on Flickr.

Contemplating the possible extinction of our species is even more difficult, but probably even more necessary.

This is not an easy meditation. But it could pay dividends. I used to tell my students to add one year to your age and then reflect on that year, the time that preceded your existence, the time before you were born – when you were a nobody. Reflect on your previous existence, when you were not yet there.

Meister Eckhart calls us to return to our “unborn selves” to regain our freedom if we haven’t yet, and that we can do this through meditation and forgiveness.

One way to think about our extinction would be to project ahead to a time when there are no more humans on earth. That time will come eventually. What can it tell us about how to live now while we’re still here, thereby extending our time as a species?

“The Last Blood Grip.” Author’s photo Echimetaller Ahere Unuabona on Unsplash

Even if we encounter our current crises with no truths or lies, there will still come a time, eventually, when we will learn that the Earth will no longer be hospitable to the animals, plants, and biosphere that make our lives possible. In five or six billion years, our earth, we are told, will be turned into a crisp by the sun.

So some may say, “well, if we last a billion years, five billion, a million years, or just a few hundred years, what difference does it make? What is it all about?”

All these questions are worth pondering about the future nothingness of our species. Can we look back and ask, “Could we have done things differently? How might we have responded differently to the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Isaiah, Muhammad, or Black Elk? More generous? With a greater appreciation for our existence after 13.8 billion years of gestation by the universe?”

Could it be, for example, that the compassion that all the spiritual traditions we have inherited encourage us to be more deeply woven into the fabric of our communities and cultures, our education, law, science, business, economics, politics, media, and religion? What if we lived lives more committed to compassion and justice? How would human cultures develop if this were the case? Could we extend the life of our species?

See Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation: Master Eckhart’s Earth-Honoring Spirituality P. 217-225.

And Matthew Fox, A spirituality called Compassion.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE

Banner Image: Remains of the Human Family. Author’s photo Trollinho on Unsplash.

Contemplation requests

What questions in this meditation speak most deeply to you? Are you at home pondering the extinction or nothingness of our species? What perspective does this give you for your life, choices, and politics today?

Recommended reading

Passion for Creation: Meister Eckhart’s Earth-Honoring Spirituality

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets over the centuries, resulting in the spirituality of the new millennium. The sacredness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to justice and the practice of compassion are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for the modern reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in the last 500 years.” — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author Sleeping beauty kisses goodbye.

A Spirituality Called Compassion: Integrating Mystical Insight with Social Justice

U A spirituality called Compassion, Matthew Fox explores the meaning and practice of compassion in depth. Creating a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox fuses mysticism with social justice, paving the way for a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence, which is the substrate of all compassionate action. “Worthy of our deepest consideration. . . . Spotlight on compassion after centuries of neglect.” – Catholic register

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