THE DAILY MEDITATION – from the Center for Action and Contemplation (Fr Richard Rohr OFM)

Week Seven

Mind, Body, Heart

A Way of Being   Sunday, February 16, 2020

Wisdom is not the result of mental effort. It cannot be gained through intellectual study. Even life experiences do not make us wise if we don’t process them humbly and consciously. Sadly, most of us were never taught how to do that, which is why so few older people are true elders, with any wisdom to pass on to the next generations.  

Wisdom is a way of being—a way of being whole and fully open to a knowing beyond rational thought alone. Do not confuse this kind of knowing as lightweight, saccharine, or ephemeral. The exact opposite is true. To see in such a way requires the hard work of keeping all our inner spaces open—mind, heart, and body—all at once. This is at the center of any authentic spirituality, and it does not happen easily or without paying respectful and non-egoic attention to the moment in front of me and within me—which I could call prayer.

My fellow CAC faculty member and respected wisdom teacher Cynthia Bourgeault writes of the deep interior commitment that must be made by those who embark on this path:

A Wisdom way of knowing . . . requires the whole of one’s being and is ultimately attained only through the yielding of one’s whole being into the intimacy of knowing and being known. . . . It doesn’t happen apart from complete vulnerability and self-giving. But the divine Lover is absolutely real, and for those willing to bear the wounds of intimacy, the knowledge of that underlying coherence—“in which all things hold together”—is both possible and inevitable. [1]

Since the Enlightenment, Westerners have become overly reliant on the intelligence of the mind, neglecting that of the heart and body. But by heart, I don’t mean just feeling and emotion. Cynthia Bourgeault calls the heart “an organ for the perception of divine purpose and beauty.” [2] Tilden Edwards, founder of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, describes the spiritual faculty of heart as “a quality of intuitive awareness . . . a sense of inclusive, compassionate, undefended, direct in-touch-ness with what is really there.” [3] This “undefended knowing” allows us to drop beneath the thinking mind, to touch upon real experience, unhindered by the ego’s sense of self, without fear or agenda.

The Wisdom lineage offers us a healthy middle place, trapped in neither of the two alternating mediocrities of knowing: all heart and little head (lacking rational, historical, or scientific grounding) or all head and little heart (lacking deep personal experience, subtlety, or authentic love). For a holistic and mature faith, we need both head and heart grounded in our physical and sensory body.

Gateway to Action & Contemplation:

What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

Listen to Fr. Richard read the prayer.

[2] Ibid., 34. 

[3] Tilden Edwards, “Undefended Knowing: A Conversation with Richard Rohr and Tilden Edwards” (HuffPost: 2013), https://www.huffpost.com/entry/undefended-knowing-a-conv_b_3744513.  

Adapted from Richard Rohr,  Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 70-71; and 

Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2007), 13-14.  

For more on this year’s theme of action and contemplation, listen to the third season of our podcast Another Name for Every Thing, which launched February 15! 

Image credit: Saint Serapius (detail), Francisco de Zurbarán, 1628, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. 

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CONSPIRE 2020

The capstone conference in a seven-year series on Richard Rohr’s alternative orthodoxy

Discover your place in the emerging contemplative community of people who are committed to the intentional work of personal transformation, embodied practice, and engaged living. Learn and dialogue with our core faculty—Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Barbara Holmes, Brian McLaren, and Richard Rohr—teaching together for the first time.

CONSPIRE 2020 will be a capstone experience uniting Richard Rohr’s seven themes of alternative orthodoxy to create a gateway into practical and authentic contemplation—a way of life rooted in radical openness to God’s loving presence. From this vulnerable place, things like adversity, disruption, and suffering become sources of transformation, greater love, and connection.

Register now for the CONSPIRE 2020 Webcast

CONSPIRE 2020
Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17

In-person registrations are currently sold-out. If you are interested in attending we encourage you to sign-up for the waitlist.

The fall edition of Oneing is here!

Explore the Future of Christianity in Oneing, the Center for Action & Contemplation’s biannual journal of contemplative spirituality and thought.

Order a print or digital copy of the latest edition of Oneing

The Fall 2019 edition features contributions from Kaitlin B. Curtice, Diarmuid O’Murchu, Archbishop John Charles Webster, Richard Rohr, Diana Butler Bass, Shane Claiborne, Brian McLaren, Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, Shirin McArthur, and Lee Staman.

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Learn about contemplative prayer and other forms of meditation. For frequently asked questions—such as what versions of the Bible Father Richard recommends or how to ensure you receive every meditation—please see our email FAQ.

Join the CAC team!

Friends,

Thanks to Fr. Richard’s vision and inspiration, CAC is in the midst of an exciting phase of growth and renewal as an organization, laying foundations that will enable us to offer the transformative teachings of contemplative Christianity and to nurture right action for generations to come. Right now, we have an opening for a Chief Operating Officer and several other high-level opportunities to join our growing team.

If you or others you know would be excited at the chance to help bring CAC’s mission and message to life, please visit our website and pass the news along!

With gratitude,
Michael Poffenberger
Executive Director

New Faculty Websites

The Center for Action and Contemplation is honored to support our core faculty by amplifying their voices through the Living School, online courses, events, and publications. Our growing community of supporters allows us to invest in new platforms and programs, making our teachers’ work more accessible. We believe the Christian contemplative tradition can transform hearts and minds. We are committed to making this wisdom available to as many people as possible.

As part of these efforts, we are excited to announce Cynthia Bourgeault and James Finley’s new websites! Visit their virtual homes and browse their writings, recordings, and other resources. Sign up for Cynthia and Jim’s emails to stay informed of all they’re doing beyond their collaborations with CAC.

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News from New Mexico

Reflections from the Living School Symposium

Image of core faculty at the Living School symposium holding boxs that read "order" "disorder" and "reorder"

We’re still unpacking the gifts of last month’s annual Living School symposium! Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley gave us so much to think about—Trinity, the cosmic Christ, restorative justice, and more. Students moved into brave space within their small groups and gatherings for LGBTQ folks and people of color. We bow in gratitude to those who shared vulnerably during a moving Centering the Margins ritual. Through deep listening, Theater of the Oppressed exercises, chanting, contemplative practices, and an exuberant dance party, we opened our hearts, minds, and bodies.

Living School Applications Due in September

Would you like to join the Living School community? Learn more about the two-year program in the Christian mystical tradition and apply at cac.org/living-school. Applications for the 2021–2023 cohort are available for purchase until September 15; completed applications are due September 30.

1,000,000 Downloads!

Podcast banner reads "another name for every thing" with Richard Rohr

Soon after starting the second season of Another Name for Every Thing, we’ve already surpassed a million downloads. Thanks to all who are listening! The message of The Universal Christ continues to reach people who are longing for a more inclusive and compassionate Christianity. These conversations between Richard, Paul, and Brie are wonderful introductions to an alternative orthodoxy and practical spirituality. Invite others to listen to new episodes each Saturday for free at cac.org/podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Share the Universal Christ

Do you know someone who’s struggling to reconcile their experience of a loving God with injustice and exclusionary theology? Share your own story and resources to support a friend’s journey through order, disorder, and reorder.

We’re also excited to announce we’ve lowered the price on The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe, the latest book from Richard Rohr. For a limited time you can save $10 when you order the Universal Christ bundle featuring a copy of the book, a companion guide, and an issue of Oneing dedicated to the theme of the Universal Christ. Or buy just the book for a savings of $6.

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

  • A New Cosmology: Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Any mistake we make about creation will also be a mistake about God.” We are called to make the paradigm shift to an utterly new cosmology and worldview.
  • Nonviolence Works: How is it that many Christians have managed to avoid what Jesus actually taught about nonviolence? Perhaps we think his teaching is nice in theory but impractical in real life.
  • The Perennial Tradition and Welcoming Prayer: Unfiltered encounters with the divine are hallmarks of the Perennial Tradition. Contemplative practice is anything we do that intentionally opens our hearts, minds, and bodies to Love.

Find additional meditations by Father Richard in the online archive.

Richard Rohr and podcast co-hosts Paul Swanson and Brie Stoner

Season two of our podcast Another Name for Every Thing is here! Listen in as hosts Brie Stoner and Paul Swanson join Richard Rohr in a casual conversation responding to listener questions from his new book, The Universal Christ. Over the course of twelve episodes they’ll explore how to live the wisdom of the Christian contemplative tradition amidst the shifting state of our world.

Subscribe to get the latest episode every Saturday on iTunesSpotify, and other podcast apps—or listen at cac.org/podcasts.

Learn more and register at cac.org/online-ed. (No application needed!)

Introducing Opie

Richard Rohr seated at table with his dog Opie by his feet

Some of Fr. Richard’s closest companions have been dogs—Peanut Butter, from his days in New Jerusalem, Gubbio, and Venus, who passed away a couple years ago. Their unconditional love has often kept him connected to Life and God.

We are happy to share that Richard recently adopted another dog! Richard shares how Opie came into his life

In June a small circle of us were watching my interview with Oprah Winfrey on SuperSoul Sunday when Judy called (I couldn’t believe she wasn’t watching me on TV!) to say she’d found the perfect dog for me. Ever since Venus died, Judy had been looking for a good match. This time it seemed right for so many reasons.

The shelter could only hold the two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier for an hour, so even before the interview was done airing, Elias and I left to meet him. As we were driving, Elias asked, “Is there a masculine form of Oprah?” And I said “Opie!” Fans of the Andy Griffith show may also remember Opie as the model little boy, played by Ron Howard, who loved Andy.

All the stars aligned, and I have now enjoyed Opie’s company (immensely!) for a couple months. Because I am a senior citizen and have a good dog record, I got him for a mere $15! He paid me back in the first hour with affection and adoration. He is frequently in various states of ecstasy, so I probably should have named him after one of our ecstatic mystics.

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

  • Prayer of GratitudePrayer is sitting in the silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, and praising God until we ourselves are an act of praise. Mature prayer always breaks into gratitude. —Richard Rohr
  • Opening the Doors of My BeingWe learn how to wait, to ready the mind and the spirit. It is here that I learn to listen, to swing wide the very doors of my being, to clean out the corners and the crevices of my life—so that when God’s Presence invades, I am free to enjoy God coming to God’s self in me. —Howard Thurman
  • ImagesGod is bread when you’re hungry, water when you’re thirsty, a harbor from the storm. God’s father to the fatherless, a mother to the motherless. God’s my sister, my brother, my leader, my guide, my teacher, my comforter, my friend. . . . God’s my all in all, my everything. —Thea Bowman

Find additional meditations by Father Richard in the online archive.

A Monthly Newsletter from the Center for Action and Contemplation

Living School for Action and Contemplation

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. —Howard Thurman

Our faculty—Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Barbara Holmes, and Richard Rohr—guide students through a formation experience rooted in a Christian lineage of contemplative practice, rigorous study, and meaningful engagement. The two-year program includes online course work and four gatherings in New Mexico.

Admissions are now open for the 2020–2022 cohort. Begin your discernment process at cac.org/living-school.

Another Name for Every Thing

Image of Richard Rohr and Another Name For Everything podcast hosts gathered around a table to record the podcast.

Season 2 is coming soon!

Richard, Brie, and Paul have been exploring questions stirred by the first season of our new podcast on the Universal Christ. Thanks to all who shared their wonderings that fed more rich conversations! Watch for bonus episodes and Season 2 later this summer. If you haven’t yet listened to the first season, find all twelve episodes at cac.org/podcast.

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

  • Archetypal Feminine: God and Christ are beyond gender, and all humans are a blend of masculine and feminine traits. But because Western Christianity and culture have primarily worshipped male images, it’s important to reclaim and honor female wisdom.
  • She Is Love: “My God is an incarnate feminine power, who smells like vanilla and is full of sass and truth, delivered with kindness. She’ll do anything for her creation; her love is fierce.” —Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
  • How We Love: Jesus commands us to “Love our neighbors as we love ourselves.” It is the same Source and the same Love that allows each of us to love ourself, others, and God at the same time!

Find additional meditations by Father Richard in the online archive.

Thank you for helping us grow our online community!

We recently passed 300,000 subscribers to Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations! Since 2008 when we started sending these free emails, our readers have been our primary evangelists—bringers of good news. Thank you for sharing Fr. Richard’s messages with others who seek a more inclusive, loving, and engaged spirituality. In honor of this milestone, revisit one of your favorite Daily Meditations and send it to someone you care about. Invite them to sign up for the free daily or weekly emails at cac.org/sign-up.

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Back in Stock

Two of our favorite titles sold out almost as soon as they were released last fall. We restocked and have copies enough to share—whether you didn’t get a chance to order them for yourself or would like to give them as gifts!

An image of the cover Oneing: Politics and Religion

In our culture, “Politics and Religion” are taboo topics, themes that seem to stir debate and division. At the CAC, we often hear that politics and religion don’t go together. Yet Jesus himself was clearly political—speaking truth to power, working for justice, seeking equality and inclusion for the marginalized. If we are to follow Jesus, we must engage in these hard conversations with a contemplative approach. This issue of CAC’s journal, Oneing, explores this timely integration with articles by Richard Rohr, Joan Chittister, Rose Marie Berger, Simone Campbell, angel Kyodo williams, and others.

In this small volume of meditations, Father Richard offers simple wisdom to ground us in the blessed, beautiful reality of “what is.” The contemplative mind does not tell us what to see; it teaches us how to see what we behold. Just This is a perfect companion for “Politics and Religion,” a practical guide to nurturing the non-dual consciousness required for bridging our differences.

An image of the new Richard Rohr book, Just This.

Join us for contemplative prayer!

Facebook LIVE

The first Tuesday of each month, join the Center for Action and Contemplation for 20 minutes of silent meditation, sharing our intentions, and being in each other’s and Love’s presence. Watch for the live video on our Facebook page!

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

  • Universal Restoration: We must have a God at least as big as the universe, or else our view of God becomes irrelevant, constricted, and more harmful than helpful.
  • Prayer of the Heart: Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, and you want to play it out or attach to it, move that thought or person literally into your heart space.
  • Christ is Everyman and Everywoman: Matter and Spirit must be found to be inseparable in Christ before we have the courage and insight to acknowledge and honor the same in ourselves and in the entire universe. 

Find additional meditations by Father Richard in the online archive.

The Mendicant

In God, our self is no longer its own center. There is a death of the self-centered and self-sufficient ego. In its place is awakened a new and liberated self which loves and acts in the Spirit. 
—Richard Rohr, “Mirror and Mask”  

Enjoy the Center for Action and Contemplation’s quarterly print newsletter online! The February issue features articles by Richard Rohr, Living School student Darlene Ortega, donor Kate Hampton, and staff member Paul Swanson. Read The Mendicant at cac.org.

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

I am always inspired by Fr. Rohr’s posts because he takes me beyond religion! He opens my eyes to what I have always known in my heart. God is Love! Period. —Doe G.

  • Who Was Jesus?: We must understand Jesus in his social, cultural, political, and economic context.
  • At-One-Ment, Not Atonement: Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing). Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.
  • The Lost Tradition of Contemplation: The Spirit planted inside us yearns for and responds to God. Contemplation helps us become attuned and surrendered to this process.

Find additional meditations by Richard Rohr in the online archive.

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“People have good reasons to be angry and afraid. Racism, poverty, climate change, and so many other injustices are causing real suffering. But we cannot fight violence with violence. Only the contemplative mind has the ability to hold light and dark together; only unitive consciousness allows transformation at the deepest levels.”

–Richard

For the latest courses at the CAC, follow this link:

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