Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation

Nondual Consciousness Weekly Summary

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Nondual Consciousness

Summary: Sunday, August 14-Friday, August 19, 2016

Nondual knowing is living in the naked now, the “sacrament of the present moment.” This consciousness will teach us how to actually experience our experiences, whether good, bad, or ugly, and how to let them transform us. (Sunday)

The contemplative mind withholds from labeling or categorizing things too quickly (i.e., judging), so it can come to see things in themselves and as themselves, in their uniqueness—apart from the words or concepts that become their substitutes. (Monday)

The many individuals who have charted the development of consciousness all agree that the lowest levels are dualistic and the higher levels become more and more nondual. (Tuesday)

The work of spirituality is to look with a different pair of eyes (nondual eyes) beyond what Merton calls the shadow and the disguise of things. At this deeper level of seeing you’ll discover a sameness, a common identity, common ground. (Wednesday)

Like Jesus, we are to love others not because of who they are, but because of who we are—all and equally the beloved of God. (Thursday)

Once you allow and accept God’s utterly free and gratuitous love for yourself, you will almost naturally become a conduit of the same for others. (Friday)


Practice: Loving Your Enemy

One of the hardest things to understand with the dualistic mind is Jesus’ command to love your enemy. I’m often asked, “How can we love Al-Qaeda or ISIS (Islamic State or Da’esh) or the Westboro Baptists from my own hometown?”

First, I want to point out that violent, fundamentalist religious groups use God-talk constantly: “God is great. This is for God. I’m a martyr for God. I’m on God’s good side, but you’re going to hell.” Their words and behavior are rooted in dualistic thinking where everything is clear-cut black and white, good and bad. This is religion at its worst, entirely lacking in inner experience. And so we can imagine how someone might say, “God is great!” and pull out a gun to shoot thirty people or shout hate speech, having not experienced God as infinite and inclusive love.

I want to be honest and up-front about this. We’re dealing with a lot of low-level, dualistic thinking—in Christianity, in Islam, and in every religion at its immature levels. People use religion to cover their own malevolence, hatefulness, fear, and anger. It’s not just Islam. Christianity has been doing this for centuries. But we’ve got to do better.

How can we do better? To begin, we might put ourselves in the other’s shoes and imagine why someone is so hateful. While working in the Albuquerque jail for over a decade, I met many men who had been raised in a punitive, authoritarian, absolutist way, often with an absent or abusive father. Understanding another’s story can teach me compassion. It doesn’t mean I let someone take advantage of me. But it does open my heart and help me recognize that they are victims, too. They’ve been wounded, too. Yet they are still objectively an image of God, created in God’s image.

As you’re able to open your heart to your “enemy,” allow God’s love to flow through you to them. Picture their face and hold them in contemplative, silent prayer—a spacious place of loving Presence. Revisit the Loving Kindness Meditation I introduced a few weeks ago to intentionally practice loving everyone, yes, even ISIS.

Gateway to Silence:
Be here now.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Exploring and Experiencing the Naked Now (CAC: 2010), disc 3, (CD, DVD, MP3 download).

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Exploring and Experiencing the Naked Now (MP3 download)
Richard Rohr, A New Way of Seeing . . . A New Way of Being: Jesus and Paul (MP3 download)

Image Credit: The Incredulity of St. Thomas (detail), by Caravaggio, 1601-1602, Sanssouci, Potsdam.
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.