Shuck and Jive

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Via Negativa -- Letting Go and Letting Be

The Fall 2012 worship guide is on the web page.  These are the themes through Christmas.   The path we explore during autumn is the via negativa or the way of letting go and letting be.    With Zach's death, this is a path I am on whether I want to be or not.   The wisdom is that it is a path, a way, a vehicle to the Sacred.    That is the courage part for me.   It is a path not of wallowing, not of grief for grief's sake, but to slog through it (I can hardly say dance) in order to at some point let go of it. 

I wrote the following in the guide:
Nothing is more painful than letting go.  Sometimes we have to let go what has been ripped from us. At other times we need to let go what is no longer meaningful but is still part of us. We may have to let go of our dreams. We may need to let go of habits or addictions or our values and beliefs.  And then there is loss. We experience a series of losses from the day of our birth.  Negotiating our way through these losses is the perilous journey of life.

The via negativa is a spiritual path. It is the path of letting go. It is the way of hollowing out, stripping away, and setting free. No one would be willing to let go if this were the only path. The way to survive this, to be courageous enough to let go, is to trust that letting go isn’t the last word. Creativity, the gift of life, and rebirth are also possible.

As the season of letting go, Autumn, approaches Winter Solstice, our various religious traditions anticipate the light that shines in the darkness. Another metaphor is the music that blows through the hollowed flute. This is the promise expressed by Krishna: 
“If you get rid of your ego and become like a hollow reed flute, then the Lord will come to you, pick you up, put his lips and breathe through you and out of the hollowness of your heart, the captivating melody will emerge for all creations to enjoy.” 
In the summer we explored happiness. This season we move deeper and embrace wholeheartedness. A helpful friend through this season will be Dr. Brene Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection: Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life.  Dr. Brown writes about what we need to let go in order to embrace who we are.

If you have created a poem, a piece of music, a dance, a children’s sermon, a meditation, a sculpture, a painting or other artistic work that fits the theme, contact me and I will create a space in the worship service for your creative element. You may also have hymns or poems you have run across that you think will be appropriate. We welcome you to sing in the choir, play the bells, or participate in an ensemble.

If you are near our mountain, join us for worship and invite a friend.


  1. Chosen or not, I will walk it with you.

  2. One of these days . . . I-81 is calling me south. Meanwhile, you are my favorite heretic.