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Inner and Outer Freedom: Weekly Summary

Inner and Outer Freedom

Saturday, June 20, 2020
Summary: Sunday, June 14—Friday, June 19, 2020

The wise ones recognize that without a certain degree of inner freedom, you cannot and will not truly love. Spirituality is about finding that freedom. (Sunday)

Our deepest freedom rests not in our freedom to do what we want to do but rather in our freedom to become who God wills us to be. —James Finley (Monday)

There is a love which has the power to free the human heart. —Paula D’Arcy (Tuesday)

Let’s use the word emancipation to describe a deeper, bigger, and scarier level of freedom: inner, outer, personal, economic, structural, and spiritual—all at once. Surely this is the task of our entire lifetime. (Wednesday)

Francis and Clare of Assisi found both their inner and outer freedom by structurally living on the edge of the inside of church and society. (Thursday)

May I exercise the precious gift of choice and the power to change as that which makes me uniquely human and is the only true path to liberation. —Rev. angel Kyodo williams (Friday)

 

Practice: Deepening Our Freedom

Dr. Joan Borysenko, PhD, is a cancer cell biologist, licensed psychologist, and author living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She offers us practices that support our contemplative journey to deepen inner and outer freedom in her book 7 Paths to God: The Ways of the Mystic. I invite you to spend some time with these precepts over the next few days. Which one seems most able to lead you to greater freedom and perhaps even emancipation?

1. Reflect on love. When you are feeling zealous or righteous about anything, reflect on whether you are doing God’s Will, your own, or someone else’s. Ask the question “Is my belief or action respectful and kind, or is it based on anger or judgement?” If the latter is true, pursue the personal healing required to give up the childish things that St. Paul spoke about.

2. Act with integrity. Integrity means “wholeness.” Actions are whole when they conform to inner beliefs. . . . The tension that results when actions and beliefs are out of accord leads to anxiety, depression, and loss of will.

3. Study the Ten Commandments as well as the remainder of the Book of Exodus. Do you, in fact, keep the commandments? [Exodus 20:1–17] Go through each carefully, writing down your reflections on each one. What would it personally mean to you to keep them wholeheartedly?

4. Study the precepts of a religion with which you are not familiar. . . . Write down the precepts that relate to, and reinforce, the Ten Commandments. Write down other precepts you find valuable. If you are so moved, form the intention to follow these precepts in your life. [1]

5. Do not judge other people’s path or lack of a path. The zealous outlook . . . can easily degenerate into the belief that your way is the only way to God. . . . So what if the disciplines you practice have changed your life and brought you closer to God, but others seem uninterested in following your advice that they do likewise. . . . Preaching and proselytizing in order to save others is disrespectful unless they have asked. The slogan “Live and let live” is a wise one.

6. When you are wrong, promptly admit it. This is part of the tenth step of Alcoholics Anonymous and the other Twelve Step programs. Since self-righteousness is a pitfall . . . you can minimize it by staying scrupulously aware of your actions and words.

7. Do an active, fun activity daily. Your wonderful capacity for discipline can also breed rigidity and compulsiveness. Refresh yourself on a regular basis by doing something active that is fun, if your physical condition allows it.

References:
[1] Books on comparative religion such as Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions (HarperOne: 2009, ©1991) or Kristin Johnston Largen’s Finding God Among Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Systematic Theology (Fortress Press: 2013) could offer good starting points.

Joan Borysenko, 7 Paths to God: The Ways of the Mystic (Hay House, Inc.: 1997), 83–86.

For Further Study:
“Emancipation,” Oneing, vol. 3, no. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2015)

James Finley, Merton’s Palace of Nowhere: A Search for God through Awareness of the True Self (Ave Maria Press: 1978)

Richard Rohr, The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of Saint Francis, disc 1 (Sounds True: 2010), CD.

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, (Jossey-Bass: 2011)

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens with Jasmine Syedullah, PhD, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation (North Atlantic Books: 2016),

Image credit: Sun in an Empty Room (detail), Edward Hopper, 1963, private collection.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Only when we are able to “let go” of everything within us, all desire to see, to know, to taste and to experience the presence of God, do we truly become able to experience that presence with the overwhelming conviction and reality that revolutionize our entire inner life. —Thomas Merton
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