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Via Negativa

An exploration of the second path - how we encounter it, how we deal with the challenges it presents, how we learn to appreciate it

Participants: 27
Latest Activity: Oct 18, 2014

back around

Hi, I started this group a while back - I was dealing with the impending death of my father.  Going through the dying process with him was a really profound experience - I hadn't even begun to process everything following his death when I found, literally within two to three weeks, that I was pregnant.  I ended up having a boy right after last Christmas, and I named him for my father.  Interestingly, he looked like my father from birth.  I definitely feel as though some part of my father is with me in the form of my son.  As soon as he was born, I went through several months of health problems with both him and my daughter.  Again, I felt like I was thrust back into some dark level of experience  for months as I struggled to figure out treatment plans for both kids, fighting to get into doctors, get medications adjusted, etc..  Eventually, everything worked itself out (for now!), but I feel like my life has been a crazy ride the past couple of years of ups and downs.  And I think sometimes when we most need it, we lack the ability to receive helpful messages - or to be able to communicate.  But, maybe that is what the essence of via negativa is, being within yourself for however long it takes to process the experience, only to emerge a changed person, like some kind of chrysalis. Anyhow, I just wanted to say hello - I have been thinking about this group as I have been struggling with what meaning I place on the holiday season (other than that it is just a giant pain having to organize so much with 2 kids).  It seems like it should be more than that!  

Discussion Forum

TEETH EXTRACTION - WHAT A TEACHER 4 Replies

Talk about your via negativia!  I just had all my upper teeth and lower right bottom teeth and talk about pain and the healing process...thank gawd for drugs!  I'm T3'd out to tell you the…Continue

Started by Bruce Ferguson. Last reply by Bruce Ferguson Nov 25, 2011.

VIa Negativia - Can It Be Applied to A Peoples Experience

Hello all.  I am embarking on an interesting journey..and that is to explore how the via negativia can be used as part of a healing/reconciliation process or project through the Cosmic mass for…Continue

Started by Bruce Ferguson Nov 14, 2011.

Sources of wisdom 2 Replies

Hi, I wanted to start this discussion to get some thoughts from people on various books, songs, poems, etc. that have been helpful in either opening up the ability to stay in a moment of grief and…Continue

Started by Vestalilla. Last reply by Liz Shaw Sep 18, 2010.

ANGER! 6 Replies

The past few days I've been dealing with a lot of anger.  If I've always had a pretty solid relationship with my father, I've definitely had a more tumultuous relationship with my mother.  Lately, I…Continue

Started by Vestalilla. Last reply by Áine Máire Bríd, OAK Mar 18, 2010.

Comment Wall

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Comment by Barbara Padgett on October 3, 2012 at 3:27pm

Like all of humanity, I am no stranger to the Via Negativa and am very interested in hearing and sharing stories.  I am currently working on dealing with abuse from my past which it took me 35 years to share with another person.  I am convinced, however, that doing so will lead me to a fuller and more abundant life.

Comment by james richard jeffery on August 15, 2012 at 11:01am

Again thank you so much.This discussion is food and water for my spirit.

step 2 of the 12 steps says 'came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity'

I understand 'selves' to be the same as the 'i' you talk about.i experience that 'power greater than ourselves' deep within me. I call it higher power or god or goddess interchangeably.

It is difficult for me to distinguish between my yearning for this power and my experience of it.

It has been suggested to me that they are the same thing.

I am on this path because of the 12 steps. I accept that they are a spiritual kindergarten(words of bill wilson)However they are at this moment my path.

The path home from addiction seems to me to be the via negativa.It also seems to be the via positiva.It may well be other things as well.

While i dont like like being on this journey my shining spirit loves being on this journey.

namaste

Comment by neverness on August 15, 2012 at 6:29am

some more thoughts generated from this discussion, that may be only relevant to me. 

the problem with the i, is holding onto it - to permatize it;  trying to fix this i simply creates more problems and solutions; accepting the impermanence of this i, allows the breath of freedom.  the via negativa is the path of accepting impermanence

the problem with the concept of a higher power, is it creates a primary separation, in other words, ones identity becomes separate from god and creation; when in actuality, you and your higher power and god and creation are as one.  the via positiva is the path of becoming this as-oneness

everyone is on this journey, some simply call it spirituality and make use of its matrix.  one could say that spirituality is the act of looking deeply at life.  upon this investigation of who i am, how should i live, what happens when i die, wonder and fear/terror arise.   terror arises from the knowledge of our ephemerality, horror from our actions on each other, fear from our helplessness from this knowledge and our actions.  wonder arises from the utter magnificence of this ongoing creation.  one could say the spiritual life is weaving wonder and fear into a higher ordered structure where they become synergistic.  that is wonder and fear are both embraced as foundational to existence and in this acceptance they create a deeper more authentic way of living -- the spiritual life.   awe could be said to be the synergistic feltsense of wonder and fear -- the foundational feltsense of the spiritual life.

Comment by Matt Henry on August 14, 2012 at 12:16am

I think of via positiva and via negativa as convex and concave... intimately and essentially connected...

Comment by james richard jeffery on August 13, 2012 at 2:47pm

Thank you both for this wonderful feedback.I do feel that my experience of my higher power is also often what is described as via positiva.Until i encountered this website i had not encountered the words.

I have felt via positiva and via negativa are very closely related.I am aware that i am the problem and i love to run from the solution.

I sometimes say i am not a god botherer i am a god botheree.I would love not to be on this journey but i have no choice.This means going through terrifying experiences at times.

 

Comment by neverness on August 11, 2012 at 4:49pm

i agree with matt that at core via negativa is about letting go/emptying.  the primary lesson of via negativa could be stated as   realizing the emptiness of all things, ideas, constructs, identities, relationships. along this journey of letting go, there are juncture points of fear/terror.  these juncture points typically occur when one consciously or unconsciously is holding onto an identity that the cauldron is calling one to let go of.  the more precious said identity is, the more fear/terror arises.  

regarding the relationship of awe and fear.  i find that awe could be said to be made of two feltsenses -- wonder and fear/terror/horror.  it could be seen that the via positiva is at core about becoming wonder through immersion in the sheer audacity of existence; while the via negativa is about journeying through the fears/terrors/horrors generated by fully embracing our ephemerality, our inadequacy, our cruelty, our death until there is nothing left shielding us from the raw experience of existence and we choose not to shrink away or hold onto, but instead to breathe with/as whatever arises in this moment, this now.  

Comment by Matt Henry on August 9, 2012 at 10:48pm

@ James... I think this is a very fitting example of what via negativa is at its core.  Sometimes I think we use the via negativa to categorize our interpretation  and evaluation of experience, whereas at depth and at basis, vn is about raw experience. As is vp.  They happen to us, in spite of us, not necessarily because of our judgement of a situation.

Your experience is one of loss of control (letting go) and emptying and opening. All of these things are pre-evaluation, pre-judgement, and very much describe the via negativa to me.  

It is also my understanding that fear and awe find synonymous connection in the Hebrew. 

Comment by james richard jeffery on August 9, 2012 at 5:11pm

I would be interested to hear others' views on the relationship between fear and awe as in 'fear/awe of the lord  is the beginning of wisdom'.

I don't know if this fits within via negativa or not.

The reason i ask is i took an amends journey across australia recently east to west.

on the nullabor plain many hundreds of miles from anywhere i had an experience  of profound joyful awe at the beauty of creation  I then almost immediately plunged into a frightening panic attack.

the journey was spiritual but the panic attack was so frightening that i eventually turned around and went home(my spiritual advisor encouraged me to keep going but i was too frightened).

I subsequently read that the hebrew word normally translated into english as 'fear' also has a sense of 'awe'. That seemed to fit my experience. My relationship with my higher power seems at times to have this aspect of fear/awe.

I am new to vocabulary being used on this site.

Do my thoughts fit within via negativa?

Does anyone have any comments?

 

 

Comment by Cassandra A. Loerke on November 8, 2010 at 3:34pm
Hello dear fellow Negativa members. Since I haven't seen much recent discussion on this forum I thought I'd jump in and explain why I chose to join this group.

For me, the Via Negativa has to do with simply being present in this moment with whatever is, being present in my body, being open to whatever feelings, emotions, pains, or sensations are going on here in this body right now. It means not running off to transcendent ecstasies nor to mind numbing distractions. And, I must confess that I am possibly the most flagrant example of doing both of the above. How else would I know that these don't work for me? :)

For me there is a huge difference between these two ways of escape and just being really present with the whole catastrophe at this moment. It's hard to be present and even harder to stay present. But for me at this time this is what feels right for me.

I am curious as to whether this idea of what the Via Negativa is, resonates with others. I wonder if I am in the right place here. And I am curious about how I can fit into this community and the larger Creation Spirituality Community.

I'd love to hear from anyone with any ideas, thoughts, sensations or feelings about this.

Blessings! Cassandra
Comment by Molly Edelen on April 13, 2010 at 9:22pm
Vestalilla, Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It has been, and continues to be an honor to be with you through it.
 

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