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Center for Action and Contemplation

Living in the Now: Weekly Summary

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Living in the Now

Summary: Sunday, November 19-Friday, November 24, 2017

Of all the things I have learned and taught over the years, I can think of nothing that could be of more help to you than living in the now. (Sunday)

I could tell you that God is not elsewhere and heaven is not later, but until you come to personally and regularly experience that, you will not believe it. (Monday)

Unitive, non-dual consciousness opens our hearts, minds, and bodies to actually experience God in the now. (Tuesday)

“Only one thing is necessary,” Jesus says. If you are present, you will be able to know what you need to know. Truly seeing is both that simple and that hard. (Wednesday)

Wisdom is the freedom to be truly present to what is right in front of you. Presence is pretty much the same as wisdom! (Thursday)

The presence of God is infinite, everywhere, always, and forever. You cannot not be in the presence of God. There’s no other place to be. It is we who are not present to Presence. (Friday)


Practice: A Clear Mirror

Both Jesus and Buddha say the same thing: “Stay awake!” Contemplative practice gradually transforms our minds so that we can live in the naked now, the sacrament of the present moment. Without some form of meditation, we read life through a preferred and habitual style of attention. Unless we come to recognize the lens through which we filter all of our experiences, we will not see things as they are but as we are.

Zen Buddhist masters tell us we need to “wipe the mirror” of our minds and hearts in order to see what’s there without distortions or even explanations—not what we’re afraid is there, nor what we wish were there, but what is actually there. Contemplation is a lifelong task of mirror-wiping. “I” am always my first problem, and if I deal with “me,” then I can deal with other problems much more effectively. A clean mirror offers “perfect freedom” (see James 1:23-25).

Mirror-wiping is the inner discipline of calmly observing our own patterns—what we see and what we don’t—in order to get our demanding and over-defended egos away from the full control they always want. It requires us to stand at a distance from ourselves and listen and look with calm, nonjudgmental objectivity. Otherwise, we do not have thoughts and feelings: they have us! A clear mirror allows us to simply see the reality of what is.

The real gift is to be happy and content, even when we are doing the “nothingness” of a chore, a repetitive task, or silent prayer. When we can see and accept that every single act of creation is “just this” and thus allow it to work its wonder on us, we have found true freedom and peace.

Many years ago I asked CAC’s bookstore to create a simple double-sided mirror medallion as a tool to remind us how to be present to what is, to just this. One side is a plain mirror, taking in and reflecting exactly what it sees, without distortion, judgment, or analysis. The other mirrored side has an image of the eye of God, forever gazing at us with love, respect, and desire. [1]

I invite you to imagine wearing such a mirror at the level of your heart. With both your external and internal eyes, see reality as it is through a clear mirror. As you receive this unfiltered reality, reflect back its shining beauty and dignity. Imagine God’s eye gazing into your heart, revealing to you the reality of your own being. Reflect back the love that is your True Self.

Gateway to Silence:
God is right here right now.

[1] The mirror medallion described here is available at

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Just This (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2017), 24, 34.

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Just This (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2017)
Richard Rohr, Living the Eternal Now (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2005), CD, MP3 download
Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009)

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