Yesterday I used the word Matrix as one of my names for that great Force we so often call God. I realize that the associations of meaning for the word Matrix in our culture have been taken over by the movie that bears that name. So matrix has come to be associated with a sort of world-dominating, mind-controlling enslavement.
The true definition, however, is the environment in which something grows, the source or mold from which new forms are cast. When you hold an amethyst cluster, the base rock–that milky, gravelly bit from which the crystals spring–is matrix, the mother-source of the crystal. The root of matrix is the Latin word mater, which is mother, which is womb, which is source.
In English, we have matter, which is a verb denoting something’s significance and a noun meaning something with a physical nature. The sentence “You matter to me” means that you are significant to me. With an awareness of its connections to its Latin roots, it seems to speak more deeply to the ways in which relationships mold and shape us. Suddenly your significance in that sentence is about shaping and molding who I am. If a particular cause matters to you, it is not simply important, perhaps, but it also helps to define and give shape to who you are.
In its meaning of “substance,” matter or material takes on new significance. Substance is source, is the basis, the form-holder for everything, that from which all else springs. Once, someone in a conversation was referring to a difficult physical task, to pushing through the exhaustion, saying, “Mind over Matter!” One of my friends responded that perhaps we ought to think more in terms of matter over mind, that for too many centuries, religion–ancient Greek religion and later, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–separated body and mind and categorized mind and spirit as superior to body. Body became inferior, became shameful, became sinful. Religion became a way of escaping or mortifying the inferior physical matter.
Can we take matter back into our spiritual story? Instead of placing mind over matter, can we see ourselves as situated within this source material, this body, as a blessing, as our purpose? We are embodied, enmattered, in order to experience the sensations of the material, to know flavor and scent and touch, to learn how to see and to See, to listen, to sense. If we call the One who made us Matrix, then we see ourselves as springing from that Source, molded by the mother-womb. Religion becomes something which brings us into our full selves rather than dividing us into separate pieces that war with each other for dominance, flesh against spirit.
1. Matter, stuff, substance
3. Words and their meanings and their deeper meanings
4. Yesterday’s bluebird, flying with the sun on his back
5. How mist rises from the fields in these early morning trips to school
May you See and Feel and Taste and Hear and Smell.