Review of “The Hidden Spirituality of Men” Part 4
After my struggle with Chapter 5, “Spiritual Warriors”, of Matthew Fox’s book on Men and Spirituality, subtitled Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, I have been cruising right along with the remainder of the book. Today I’ll review chapters 7 and 8. If you missed Part 3 you can read it here.
Chapter 7 covers the “body metaphor” and is titled: “Our Cosmic and Animal Bodies.” Up to this point Mr. Fox has covered six “metaphors” or what he also refers to as archetypes; the first five I would definitely classify as archetypes: Sky Father, The Green Man, Icarus and Daedalus, Hunter-Gatherers, and Spiritual Warriors. Beginning with the sixth chapter and certainly extending into the seventh I believe he leaves the archetypal approach and begins addressing actual men and their sexuality and physicality. Chapter six covered in Part 3 of this series is about our sexuality; it is handled very nicely by Fox but it’s not clear why this is a metaphor. And here in Chapter 7 we deal with our physical bodies; how is this a metaphor? How am I to react to my body as metaphor rather than physical presence here on Planet Earth? It would be different if he spent most of the chapter on the “Cosmic Body” but most of it is devoted to the physical.
He does a nice job describing his version of the chakra system, how it affects us and how we can work with it. Yet, while he treats this subject within a section called “Rediscovering Our Sacred Bodies” much of the discussion is on the physicality of the chakras. Carolyn Myss does a much better job of describing the sacred nature of the chakras in: Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing. I recommend her book to anyone interested in an expanded vision of the chakra system.
In a too brief final section of this chapter Fox discusses “More Than One Body.” He refers to four, the physical body, the cosmic body, the earth body and the divine body. The actual distinctions between the physical and earth bodies and the cosmic and divine bodies is never really made clear, and he uses the terms interchangeably. Here I thought he might have used the four bodies I’ve often read about and considered: the physical body, the emotional or etheric body, the mental body and the spiritual body. These are actual layers to our bodies and extend outward from the physical layer beyond and into our auras and ultimately into the cosmos, of which we are a part. There is certainly some parallel between these four and Fox’s four but I think the ones I refer to are more clear.
Chapter 8 covers the Blue Man and is titled The Blue Man. Here Mr. Fox is referring on the one hand to Swami Muktananda’s vision of the Blue Pearl who becomes a “blue man” a vision of the divine within or the Cosmic/Spirit Body. He compares Muktananda’s vision with that of Hildegard von Bingen who encountered a “man of sapphire blue.” It is clear that these two very different people in very different times encountered the very same being, the Blue Being within themselves.
Chapter 8 is an excellent extension to chapter 7 and nicely responds to my complaint that he didn’t spend enough time on the “more than one body.” It is the Blue Man to whom he appeals and the Blue Man in each of us who is called to action today. In his conclusion Fox writes:
“The Blue Man represents the expanded consciousness and the creative compassion [I really like this phrase 'creative compassion' - so much more appropriate than the 'conservative compassion' we had to deal with during the first 8 years of this millennium!] we are all capable of. He is an artist at life, recognizing beauty and justice and creating it. We are being tested in a special way today. Because of news both good and terrifying, a global consciousness arises, asking us to expand our minds and hearts. We are interconnected and interdependent in ways we have never experienced before, even as the collective impact of our human society threatens the Earth’s health. We must use our powers of creativity, which increase when consciousness increases, to engage and solve the many problems facing us at this important time in history. We must take our expanded consciousness into all our relationships. The purpose of the Blue Man is to empower our hands so that real compassion takes place, the real work of the Divine in our lives. The Blue Man helps us to overcome our fear of death and to let go of our fear-inspired frenzy. Creativity can convert anger and moral outrage into appropriate expressions of protest, so that we build and not simply tear down. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, Michelangelo, and many other men have demonstrated the Blue Man in action.”
I have quoted this entire paragraph for a couple of reasons: one, it expresses a good summary of Fox’s call to men to embrace the spiritual, the creative, the compassionate responses in us that are so important today; this Blue Man energy vital to our survival! And, two, he makes this call without resorting to the “spiritual warrior” archetype, which he brought out in Chapter 5, and which I and others have called into question. Here he now avoids that term and all its connotations by invoking creative compassion in its stead! Yes, we CAN divert our anger, fear, outrage into positive, creative, appropriate action for good with Blue Man energy at our core!
Chapter 8 is a delight and makes it worth reading the book to this point. And Chapter 9, “Earth Father: the Fatherly Heart” is excellent. I’ll review Mr. Fox’s final two metaphors on Thursday.
Meanwhile see if you can get in touch with the Blue Man in you!