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Center for Action and Contemplation

Your Birthright

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Transformation: Week 1

Your Birthright
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Contemplative prayer is the change that changes everything. It’s not telling you what to see, but teaching you how to see. And when you know how to see, you’re home free. You’re indestructible. When you know how to see in a non-dualistic, holistic way, you know that it is what it is both before and after any analysis. Reality still is what it is. When you learn to surrender to that, quite frankly, you’re going to be a much happier, transformed human being. And when you do work for change, your efforts will have a non-obsessive character to them.

The contemplative mind gives you access to your birthright, to what is already within you. When you discover and connect to this awareness, you will have the distinct feeling that you already knew this. Spiritual cognition is recognition. It’s knowing on a more conscious level what appears to have been known in the unconscious. Now you have the ability to humbly, quietly trust it, and even on occasion say what so many biblical characters and saints say, “God told me.” I know that can be a dangerous claim. If you put such power in the hands of egocentric people, they’ll mangle and misuse God-told-me kind of talk.

The gift of contemplation will be experienced as freedom, abundance, love, spaciousness, and grace. This entire experience of gratuity makes you fall in love with God. In fact, I would say that utter gratuity is one of the clearest indicators of any authentic God experience. But it also installs its own critique. When you know the real thing, you start developing a nose, an eye, and an ear for the false thing. You can recognize truly converted people. And you can smell people who are just using the church, sacraments, or priesthood to aggrandize themselves. For them it’s still all about “me.” When you move to the level of divine mind, the mind of Christ, you know it’s not all about you. In fact, it is all about God! And you will soon find yourself loving all that God loves—which is going to be an ever widening circle of realizations and loves.

At that point, you have been taken into the very life of the Trinity. You are already there, objectively, but most of us don’t know it yet. When you start flowing consciously and allowing the divine to flow through you, you will share the experience of gratuity expressed by the Psalmist: “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name give glory because of your mercy and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1).

Gateway to Silence:
Teach me how to see.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Transforming the World through Contemplative Prayer (CAC: 2013), CD, MP3 audio download.

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