Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
Everyday Mysticism
Everyday Mysticism

Everyday Mysticism: Weekly Summary

Saturday, March 23, 2024

For me, “mysticism” simply means experiential knowledge of spiritual things, as opposed to book knowledge, secondhand knowledge, or even church knowledge.  
—Richard Rohr 

I’m describing mysticism as a natural part of everyday life … just a deep understanding of the sacred and a willingness to allow the gifts to lead.  
—Barbara A. Holmes 

Today, we are not looking for colossal mysteries like the parting of the seas. We just want to tap into, or at least recognize, everyday mysticism.  
—Barbara A. Holmes 

Everyday mystics are people who commune with the presence of God, receive guidance, … and commit themselves to living for God rather than solely for themselves. Their vision for life is larger and more expansive, knowing that they are alive for a reason, a purpose that will benefit human spirits they may never meet.  
—Lerita Coleman Brown 

I can set a little altar, in the world or in my heart. I can stop what I am doing long enough to see where I am, who I am there with, and how awesome the place is. I can flag one more gate to heaven.  
—Barbara Brown Taylor 

The mystical heart knows there is a fellow Fisherman nearby who is always available for good advice. He stands and beckons from the shores, at the edges of every ordinary life, every unreligious moment, and every “secular” occupation.  
—Richard Rohr 

Week Twelve Practice 

Letting Things Be Enough  

Father Richard describes how “gazing” brings him in touch with God in all things:  

As some of you know, I’ve transitioned to a form of prayer that I just call “gazing”—gazing without judgment, without analysis, without critique. Yesterday afternoon, a rather mild winter day in Albuquerque, I took my dog Opie out for a little walk. There’s a bench at the other end of the parking lot, and I just sat down there. Opie jumped up next to me, and we just gazed there together from about 3:00 p.m. to almost 4:30 p.m.  

I believe gazing is a form of prayer that lets things having no right to draw forth awe leave us awestruck. I looked at the cracked asphalt. There it is. Why is it there? I don’t know why, but its mere being made me love it, made me appreciate it, made me thank it. I did the same with three dumpsters in the lot. Really! They were ugly and covered with graffiti. Fortunately, the graffiti right on the front says, “I love you!” Facing toward my house, a little graffiti saying, “I love you!” I even looked at the raggedy fence line, torn and repaired. I looked at it until it was at least a little bit beautiful. That’s what kept happening for the whole hour and a half. 

It was just beautiful because I let it be beautiful, or God let it be beautiful. I wasn’t looking for answers, I was just a ruminating mind, gazing, and the more I gazed without judgment, without analysis, without critique, the more beautiful everything became. 

We didn’t have one of our deep, blue New Mexico skies. It was pale blue but pretty, and it was enough. It was all more than enough. The nakedness of life in its nakedness becomes enough, and even brings forth a kind of praise.  

Adapted from Richard Rohr, morning meditation, January 29, 2024, Center for Action and Contemplation. 

Image credit: Benjamin Yazza, Untitled (detail), New Mexico, 2023, photograph, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. During the course of every day, mystical moments are available to us, like sharing a moment with a grasshopper.

Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.