“I call non-silence ‘dualistic thinking,’ where everything is separated into opposites, like good and bad, life and death. In the West, we even believe that is what it means to be educated—to be very good at dualistic thinking. Join the debate club! But both Jesus and Buddha would call that judgmental thinking (Matthew 7:1-5), and they strongly warn us against it. Dualistic thinking is operative almost all of the time now. It is when we choose or prefer one side and then call the other side of the equation false, wrong, heresy, or untrue. But what we judge as wrong is often something to which we have not yet been exposed or that somehow threatens our ego. The dualistic mind splits the moment and forbids the dark side, the mysterious, the paradoxical. This is the common level of conversation that we experience in much of religion and politics and even every day conversation. It lacks humility and patience—and is the opposite of contemplation. In contemplative practice, the Holy Spirit frees us from taking sides and allows us to remain content long enough to let it teach, broaden, and enrich us in the partial darkness of every situation. We need to practice for many years and make many mistakes in the meantime to learn how to do this. Paul rather beautifully describes this kind of thinking: ‘Pray with gratitude and the peace of Christ, which is beyond knowledge or understanding (what I would call “the making of distinctions”), will guard both your mind and your heart in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7). Teachers of contemplation show us how to stand guard and not let our emotions and obsessive thoughts control us. When we’re thinking nondualistically, with this guarded mind and heart, we will feel powerless for a moment, stunned into an embarrassing and welcoming silence. Then we will discover what is ours to do.” Richard Rohr
“To answer before listening––that is folly and shame.”
Proverbs 18:13 NIV
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you have everything separated into black and white, right and wrong, us v. them? Is this helping?
- Are you aware of your impatience, arrogance, or judgmentalism towards others? (Think about discussions of politics!) If that’s a regular thing, have you stopped to ask why?
- Can you practice responding more slowly to others, and listening in the silence for where you might have misunderstood? . . . where you’re being defensive?
May I unlearn, O God, what has taken me a lifetime to learn (my arrogance, my impatience).
For More: Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr. Cincinnati: Franciscian Media, 2014.
Thanks for reading my blog. Please extend my reach by reposting on your social media platforms. If you like these topics and this approach, you’ll like my book Wisdom From the Margins.
“The desert monks learned that love thrives on the distance made possible by solitude. …Only those who have died to others can be of service to them. Only when we have ceased to need people–desperately, neurotically need them–are we concretely able to love. …Genuine love is ultimately impossible apart from such indifference. Without it, the sinful self remains incurvatusse, as Luther insisted, curved in upon itself in hopeless self-preoccupation. Only the solitary therefore, can truly care for all the right reasons, because he or she has ceased to care for all the wrong reasons. …True love, a love that is unacquisitive and free cannot exist when the person loved is being used as an object for the satisfaction of another’s needs. To love in the sense of agape, is to treat the other person not with any preference for one’s own good but as an equal–indeed as one’s own self. Thomas Merton explained the desert Christians’ conception of love as a matter of taking one’s neighbor as one’s other self. ‘Love means an interior and spiritual identification with one’s brother, so that he is not regarded as an “object” to “which” one “does good.” We have to become–in some sense, the person we love. And this involves a kind of death of our own being, our own self.’ In love such as this, all judgment is suspended. One gives the other person every benefit of the doubt, even as he or she would wish to be considered in return. …Unconditional acceptance of this sort is possible only for people who, renouncing all comparisons of themselves with others, have noting invested in the failure of their peers. Admittedly this idea of compassion as the fruit of indifference may be difficult to grasp in contemporary culture. Popular conceptions of love are often limited to sentimental feelings and delusions of self-denying grandeur. As a result, we often fail to recognize the extent to which all this disguises a highly manipulative bid for our own self-aggrandizement. We are entirely too needy–too anxious about the fragility of our own self-worth–to be free to love.” Belden Lane
“to love your neighbor as yourself is more important
than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Jesus in Mark 12:33
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Is your self-worth so fragile that you can’t love others well? …are you too needy, too dependent?
- Can you imagine renouncing your right to compare yourself to others, and thus to criticize them?
- Unless we listen to God in solitude, we will always be incurvatusse. What place does solitude have in your life?
Abba, may I only be invested in the success of others.
For More: The Solace of Fierce Landscapes by Belden Lane
Thanks for sharing/following my blog! I appreciate your interest. – Bill
“Love springs from awareness. It is only inasmuch as you see persons as they really are here and now and not as they are in your memory or your desire or in your imagination or projection that you can truly love them; otherwise it is not the people that you love but the idea that you have formed of them. Therefore, the first act of love is to see this person…. And this involves the enormous discipline of dropping your desires, your prejudices, your memories, your projections, your selective way of looking…. When you set out to serve someone whom you have not taken the trouble to see, are you meeting that person’s need or your own? So the first ingredient of love is to really see the other. The second ingredient is equally important: to see yourself, to ruthlessly flash the light of awareness on your motives, your emotions, your needs, your dishonesty, your self-seeking, your tendency to control and manipulate. This means calling things by their names, no matter how painful the discovery and the consequences. If you achieve this kind of awareness of the other and yourself, you will know what love is.” Anthony de Mello
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!’” Luke 7:35-39
Moving From Head to Heart
“Simon the Pharisee did not really see the sinful woman as a human being loved by God. He saw a sinner, an interruption, a person without a right to be at the dinner table. Jesus saw her differently.” Pete Scazzero
- Think about it, how would you have seen her?
- What can you do to gain more “awareness of the other and yourself?”
Abba, open my eyes to reality as you know it.
More: Begin the Journey with the Daily Office by Pete Scazzero
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”