A Different Way of Knowing
Monday, February 6, 2017
Contemplation is an entirely new way of knowing the world that has the power to move us beyond mere ideology and dualistic thinking. Mature religion will always lead us to some form of prayer, meditation, or contemplation to balance out our daily calculating mind. Believe me, it is major surgery, and you must practice it for years to begin to rewire your egocentric responses. Contemplation is work, so much so that most people give up after their first futile attempts. But the goal of contemplation is not success, only the continuing practice itself. The only people who pray well are those who keep praying! In fact, the continued re-connecting is the praying, not occasional consolations. Take that as an absolute.
The capacity for nondual seeing that is developed through contemplation allows us to be happy, rooted in God, comfortable with paradox and mystery, and largely immune to mass consciousness and its false promises. This is true wisdom knowing, and it is the job of elders to pass it on to the next generation so we need not start at zero.
Contemplation is meeting as much reality as you can handle in its most simple and immediate form—without filters, judgments, or commentaries. The ego doesn’t trust this way of seeing, which is why it is so rare, “a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14, NJB). The only way you can contemplate is by recognizing and relativizing your own compulsive mental grids—your practiced ways of judging, critiquing, blocking, and computing everything.
When your judgmental mind and all its commentaries are placed aside, God finally has a chance to get through to you, because your pettiness and self-protective filters are at last out of the way. Then Truth stands revealed on its own!
Each person must do this homework for himself or herself. This will be experienced as the birth of the soul.
Gateway to Silence:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 2:5
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Yes, And . . . : Daily Meditations (Franciscan Media: 2013), 407, 398.