The Contemplative Life

Spent the day with Father Richard Rohr and Roberta Bondi. They discussed the contemplative life. In a nutshell – it isn’t only lived by introverts or people who don’t want to interact with people. It is the practice of letting go – of all the junk that is in our minds, our dualistic thinking, our control, anger, frustrations, and other issues. Daily letting go of the mind and then letting God take over the space. How we don’t want to hear that! It is much easier to just go to church, do our mission work, and live a good moral life. After all, isn’t that enough? I’m not sure that scripture would agree with that way of thinking…. Jesus was the first non-dualistic thinker….God sends rain on the just and the unjust; Don’t pull the weeds because you might pull the wheat too, instead let the weeds grow with the wheat; I and the Father are One; What you do to me you do to your neighbor….Paul mirrored that for the most part but he was both – non-dual and dual in thinking. The thing is, you need both in the world! To make a conference go smoothly – dual thinking needed. To organize a softball team – dual thinking needed. But to try to wrap your mind around love, death, God, suffering, and eternity – you will need non-dual thinking. There are some things in life that our dualistic minds cannot grasp and will never be able to. With dualistic thinking, you will never understand paradox. With dualistic thinking you will never be able to grasp the concept of the Trinity. A dualistic mind confuses transformation with moral achievement! A non-dual, contemplative mind, understands that the only way to talk about religion is with metaphor. Both teachers believe that Christianity has lost its traditions of contemplation because they have lost the foundation – Jesus Christ. Instead we have thrown rules and fear at people. Who would want to surrender all to a God who threatens you with burning in hell if you mess up? Who would want to serve a God who could only be pleased if you follow the rules? We have allowed religion to substitute for spirituality for too long. When will we realize that everything is not about us? We cannot continue to be trapped in a world where we get everything we want. We live in a culture where we seek satisfaction in a variety of ways – none of which really include becoming intimate with God through Jesus Christ and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Many of us know the consequences of trying to create happiness or even success. Contemplation is when you stop playing these games, when you stop trying to seek satisfaction in false ways. God’s love satisfies every want and need we have. However there is cost. Jesus told his disciples, come with me to Jerusalem where I will be tortured and die. Who wants to do that? But in order to rid our minds of all the stuff that comes between us and God, we must die – to that stuff, to ourselves. Does this mean we will get rid of all those things? Maybe eventually. But as you pray and begin ridding your mind of that junk, you have identified what your demons are that day and they cannot hide. This contemplative prayer life allows you then to be resurrected into a new way of living. Rid the old to put on the new. Most people do not see things as they are; they see things as THEY are.  The contemplative mind refuses to allow the mind to play that game.  When we are able to change how we see and how we think, the Christian life is full of joy. What a message!  So many walk around in their Christianity so concerned with being struck down if they mess up somewhere along the line that joy is totally absent from their lives.  Still others are always trying to create happiness and joy (If I only….If I had this….If I lived here….). Perhaps this practice of intentional contemplation, of intentional daily surrender is what will motivate the church to finally begin to love neighbor as self, to love God will all their heart, mind, and soul.  I sure hope so.  In the meantime, I will work on this intentional daily practice of letting go so that God can fill up the space.


About preachermom

a passionate woman of God who believes in living the truth; in being Christ in the world; and in inspiring others.
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One Response to The Contemplative Life

  1. roberta says:

    preach it sister! What a powerful message to live contemplative dying and livine anew each and every day—each and every moment. I look forward to catching up over coffee when you return from your wonderful week filled with the rythm of silence and action.

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