In our last article we spoke of the first path of Creation Spirituality. The first path was Via Positiva. In this article we will discuss one of the less popular, but essential paths called Via Negativa. This is the path that is often celebrated in religions as a time for letting go. This time for letting go takes place right in the midst of our positive experience. Everything is going great. We are positive and well balanced, and then tragedy. We find ourselves on the Via Negativa. The Via Negativa is painful. It stops our joy and makes us begin to let go. We let go of our thoughts and beliefs about people and the world. We often let part of ourselves die, so new thoughts, ideas, and personality traits can be born. If we pass through the Via Negativa correctly, we become stronger, if not we become devastated.
The Via Negativa in life can be compared to the painful part of body building. When one works out lifting weights it is often a painful process. One has to push and struggle a great deal if they want the most benefit from the workout. One strains and often gets sore. The reason weight lifting is painful is because we are actually breaking our muscles down with every lift. Each day, after the workout, the body works to rebuild the muscles. That is what makes them bigger and stronger. If there were no breakdown there would be no rebuilding.
In our lifetimes we often come upon situations that work the same way on our mental and spiritual aspects. They break down old, frozen behavioral patterns and shake them loose. It is also painful. As a result of this painful process our minds, like our muscles, expand and become stronger. Going through via Negativa gives us strength and courage. It is like death and then resurrection. One must die before he or is resurrected. We must suffer loss and sorrow, pain and mental torment in our lifetimes at times or we will not grow.
Since we are going to do so at one time or the other during our lifetimes, why not take the opportunity to build Via Negativa into our spiritual lives. Why not think of the pain and sorrow that others are experiencing. Why not mourn for those who are oppressed and grieve for our own loses. We can do this as we meditate, as we pray, as we celebrate, so we will always be cleansing ourselves through the Via Negativa, and growing into more powerful, well rounded individuals.
As we come to terms with Via Negativa, and if we can realize the beauty and growth that is growing to happen in the midst of the suffering, we can rejoice and hasten the next path in creation spirituality, Via Creativa. We will discuss this path in the next article.
The path of via Negativa hardens us, it strengthens us, and promotes growth. It is the power of Shiva who dances worlds in and out of existence, or the power of Yahweh who says that he is the bringer of joy and sorrow in the Book of Job. If you are going through a Via Negativa period right now, just hold on. Hold on by realizing that when you come out of this path to the next one you will be stronger, more intelligent and adaptable. You will then move on to the path of Via Creativa, the path of resurrection from the grave.
Dr. John Gilmore is a writer, a martial arts teacher and a healer. He is the Spiritual Leader of the