“What we see in many of the Eastern religions is not an emphasis upon verbal orthodoxy, but instead an emphasis upon practices and lifestyles that, if you do them (not think about them, but do them), your consciousness will gradually change. …Here at the [Center for Action and Contemplation] we want to emphasize the importance of praxis over theory, of orthopraxy over orthodoxy. We are not saying that theory and orthodoxy are not important; like Saint Francis, we feel that what is ours to do has more to do with our practical engagements, and the way we live our daily lives than making verbal assent to this or that idea. …In the last fifty years, education theory has come to recognize that listening to lectures and reading are among the least effective forms of learning. They are highly passive, individualistic, do not necessarily integrate head with heart or body, but leave both the ego (and the shadow self) in their well-defended positions, virtually untouched. As long as our ego self is in the driver’s seat, nothing really new or challenging is going to happen. Remember our ego is committed to not changing, and is highly defensive by its very nature. And our shadow self entirely relies upon delusion and denial. Only the world of practical relationships exposes both of these. The form of education which most changes people in lasting ways has to touch them at a broader level than the thinking, reading mind can do. …Somehow we need to engage in hands-on experience, emotional risk-taking, moving outside of our comfort zones, with different people than our usual flattering friends. We need some expanded level of spiritual seeing or nothing really changes at a cellular or emotional level. Within minutes or hours of entertaining a new idea, we quickly return to our old friends, our assured roles, our familiar neural grooves, our ego patterns of response, and we are back to business as usual.” Richard Rohr
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Have you experienced the limits of “orthodoxy” as something that “changes people in lasting ways?”
- When people serve in a food kitchen or visit people in hospice care they learn to love in a way they never could from a sermon. Have you experienced this “living into a new way of thinking.” (Rohr)
- Have you thought about the relative merits of orthodoxy and orthopraxis? …about which the Bible emphasizes more?
Abba, renew my mind, but don’t stop there.
For More: “Orthopraxy” by Richard Rohr
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)