Places To Hide – 7 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See

by Mark Votava

71TI4PvYKoL1. The depths of our own desire

“I think we are on the very edge of history – and about to be edged over – by the depths of the need and from the depths of our own desire.”

2. Similar questions

“Perhaps you have asked yourself similar questions: Why do people become so attached to political parties and habits of thought that they even vote against their own self-interest and cherished beliefs? Why do so many people have a clearer idea of what they are against than what they are for? You might wonder why, in politics, we call people ‘strong’ simply because they never change their mind. You wonder why the same story line of good guys and bad guys is the narrative of most movies, novels, operas, and theater. You wonder why people who hate religion tend to attack it with the same dogmatism that they hate in religion.”

3. Places to hide

“Most people have not been offered a different mind, only different behaviors, beliefs, and belonging systems. They do not necessarily nourish us, much less transform us. But they invariably secure us and validate us where we already are. They are what I and others have called ‘the task of the first half of life.’ Required behaviors and beliefs are good and necessary to get us started. But when we invest in them too heavily, they soon becomes places to hide… If we hold on to them too tightly and for too long, we never internalize values and strengths – we never ‘grow up.’ Isn’t this true of a lot of people you know? Is it true of you, too?”

4. Contemplative awareness

“I am a man of one major idea: immediate, unmediated contact with the moment is the clearest path to divine union; naked, undefended, and nondual presence has the best chance of encountering the Real Presence. I am approaching this theme in a hundred ways, because I know most of us have one hundred levels of resistance, denial, or avoidance, and for some reason, in our complicated world, it is very hard to teach very simple things. Any ‘mystery,’ by definition, is pregnant with hundreds of levels of unfolding and realization. That is especially true of the ‘tree of life’ that is contemplative awareness.”

5. Even greater growth

“Love, I believe, is the only way to initially and safely open the door of awareness and aliveness, and then suffering for that love keeps that door open and available for even greater growth. They are two great doors, and we dare not leave them closed.”

6. Objectify paradoxes

“Western Christianity has tended to objectify paradoxes in dogmatic statements that demand mental agreement instead of any inner experience of the mystery revealed…”

7. The great paradoxes within Jesus

“One of the subtle ways to avoid imitating someone is to put them on a pedestal, above and apart from us. When you accept that Jesus was not merely divine but human as well, you can begin to see how you are not separate from Jesus. Open yourself to recognizing the great paradoxes within Jesus. Then you can begin to hold those same opposites together within yourself.”

Have we found places to hide in the task of the first half of life?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist