Sunday, July 25, 2010

Contemplating Contemplation

Every day in email I get a short little reflection from a priest named Richard Rohr, a Franciscan who runs a place of stillness (it's not really a retreat house) called the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albequerque, NM. It would not be an inaccurate description to call him a Christian mystic. He is always wise, almost always provocative, and often challenging. The very nature of what he does and what he is to stand for the Truth beyond our quotidian experiences of everyday life. And yet, paradoxically, it is only through these experiences that we can access the real world beyond our senses, beyond our petty conflicts, beyond our dictatorial egos. I only wish I could come half as close to understanding the world and myself as Richard Rohr does.

Here's something he posted just recently to chew on:
The contemplative mind is the most absolute assault on the secular worldview that one can have, because it is a different mind from what we’ve been taught in our time.  The calculative mind, or the egocentric mind, reads everything in terms of personal advantage and personal preferences.  As long as we read reality from that small self with a narrow and calculating mind, I don’t think we’re going to see things in any new or truly helpful way.
All the great religions have talked about a different way of seeing that is actually a different perspective, a different vantage point, a different goal than what I want or need the moment to be.  Christians called it contemplation, and some Eastern religions called it meditation.  To quote Albert Einstein, “No problem can be solved with the same consciousness that caused it.”  Contemplation is a different consciousness, and its starting point is precisely not what I prefer or whatI need things to be.
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