Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: Breathing Under Water

Truth is Not an Abstraction or an Idea – 6 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

9781616361570_p0_v1_s260x4201. You cannot heal what you do not acknowledge

“As any good therapist will tell you, you cannot heal what you do not acknowledge, and what you do not consciously acknowledge will remain in control of you from within, festering and destroying you and those around you…”

2. Truth is not an abstraction or an idea

“The longer I live the more I believe that truth is not an abstraction or an idea that can be put into formulas or mere words. Our real truth has to do with how we situate ourselves in this world… There are ways of living and relating that are honest and sustainable and fair, and there are utterly dishonest ways of living and relating to life. This is our real, de facto, and operative ‘truth,’ no matter whose theories or theologies we believe. Our life situation and our style of relating to others is ‘the truth’ that we actually take with us to the grave. It is who we are, more than our theories about this or that…”

3. Fear-based problem solving

“I do believe our religious history has been too guilt-based and shame-based, and not enough of what some would call ‘vision logic,’ which is a broader, positive, and out-in-front kind of motivation. Jesus’ metaphor and draw was a positive vision he called ‘the kingdom of God,’ which he seemed to be constantly talking about. For Bill W it was a ‘vital spiritual experience.’ Neither of these were a negative threat, but a positive allure, promise, and invitation. For me, this is crucial and necessary or the spiritual journey largely becomes fear-based problem solving.”

4. Our explanations, our preferences, our theologies

“We all seem to bind up both God and one another inside of our explanations, our preferences, and even our theologies. The patterns never seem to change.”

5. Not just to make amends

“Skillful means is not just to make amends but to make amends in ways that ‘do not injure others.’ Truth is not just factual truth (the great mistake of fundamentalists), but a combination of both text and context, style and intent. Our supposed right to know every ‘truth’ about our neighbor too often feeds those with preexisting malice, bias, or mental imbalance, and leads to spin, distortion, and misinterpretation of supposed facts.”

6. Meditation and contemplation

“The mind is the normal control tower, so it must be educated first… Most practices of meditation and contemplation have to do with some concrete practices to recognize and to relativize the obsessive nature of the human mind. The small mind cannot deal with Bigness and Newness, which God always is! Even most addiction counselors recognize that many addicts are ‘all or nothing thinkers.’ I call this dualistic thinking, and is the normal labeling, rational mind that is good for things like science, math, and turning left or right. But it is at a complete loss with the big five of God, death, suffering, love, and infinity.”

Do you believe truth is an abstraction or an idea? Or is it how you relate to life?

Purchase Breathing Under Water

Hour By Hour Gratitude – 9 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

9781616361570_p0_v1_s260x4201. “Right brain” activities

“I think the heart space is often opened by ‘right brain’ activities such as music, art, dance, nature, fasting, poetry, life-affirming sexuality, and, of course the art of relationship itself. Mass murderers are invariably loners who participate in one of these things but merely ruminate and retreat to their head and their explanations.”

2. Ever-deeper consciousness

“God brings us – through failure – from unconscious to ever-deeper consciousness…”

3. To find God in your own struggle with life

“People’s willingness to find God in their own struggle with life – and let it change them – is their deepest and truest obedience to God’s eternal will. We must admit this is what all of us do anyway, as ‘God comes to us disguised as our life’! Remember, always remember, that the heartfelt desire to do the will of God is, in fact, the truest will of God. At that point, God has won, and the ego has lost…”

4. Primary emotional relationship with life

“Addicts develop a love and trust relationship with a substance or compulsion of some kind, which becomes their primary emotional relationship with life itself. This is a god who cannot save. It is a momentary intensity passing for the intimacy they really want, and it is always quickly over.”

5. Hour by hour gratitude

“Our hour by hour gratitude is strong enough to overcome all temptations to resentment.”

6. How we situate ourselves in this world

“The longer I live the more I believe that truth is not an abstraction or an idea that can be put into formulas or mere words. Our real truth has to do with how we situate ourselves in this world…”

7. Skillful means

“What the Western religions sometimes called ‘wisdom,’ the Eastern religions often called ‘skillful means.’ Wisdom was not a mere aphorism in the head, but a practical, best and effective way to get the job done! One was either trained in skillful means by a master or parent, or it would be the long laborious school of trial and error, which seems to be the unfortunate pattern today. I am afraid that commonsense wisdom, or skillful means, is no longer common sense. We are a culture with many elderly people but not so many elders passing on wisdom.”

8. Fully conscious and fully liberated

“Didn’t Jesus tell us that we must love even our enemies? When we can on some level even love our sins and imperfections, which are our ‘enemies,’ we are fully conscious and fully liberated. God, who is Universal Consciousness itself, knows all things, absorbs all things, and forgives all things – for being what they are. If Jesus commands us to love our enemies, then we know that God must and will do the same. What hope and joy that gives us all! It takes away all fear of admitting wrongs.”

9. Wisdom and respect for the other

“To offer an apology in a way that can actually heal the other takes wisdom and respect for the other.”

Which quote do you like the best?

51DJfJVBpBL (1)

Non-Dual Consciousness – 8 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

9781616361570_p0_v1_s260x4201. The soul does not attach nor does it hate

“An ego response is always an inadequate or even wrong response to the moment. It will not deepen or broaden life, love, or inner laughter. Your ego is always attached to mere externals, since it has no inner substance itself. The ego defines itself by its attachments and revulsions. The soul does not attach nor does it hate: it desires and loves and lets go…”

2. Non-dual Consciousness

“To keep the mind space open, we need some form of contemplative or meditation practice. This has been the most neglected in recent centuries, substituting the mere reciting and ‘saying’ of prayers, which is not the same as a contemplative mind, and often merely confirms us in our superior or fear-based system… I personally describe contemplation as ‘non-dual consciousness’…”

3. Blind spots and personality flaws

“People who are more transparent and admitting of their blind spots and personality flaws are actually quite easy to love and be with. None of us need or expect perfect people around us, but we do want people who can be up front and honest about their mistakes and limitations, and hopefully grow from them.”

4. The imperial ego

“It is the imperial ego that has to go, and only powerlessness can do the job correctly… Otherwise, we try to engineer our own transformation by our own rules and by our own power, which is by definition, therefore, not transformation! It seems we can in no way engineer or steer our own conversion. If we try to change our ego with the help of our ego, we only have a better-disguised ego!”

5. Highly sacrificial, but not loving

“Most bogus religion, in my opinion, is highly sacrificial in one or another way, but not loving at all…”

6. The death of all sacrificial religion

“False sacrifice is an actual avoidance of any real ‘renouncing’ of the self, while looking generous or dedicated… As French philosopher and writer Rene Girard convincingly argued Jesus came to proclaim the death of all sacrificial religion!”

7. Simple honesty and humility

“I think humans are certainly ‘created in the image and likeness of God’ (Genesis 1:26) because that is what God appears to want too: Simple honesty and humility. There is no other way to read Jesus’ stories of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) or the publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14). In each story, the one who did wrong ends up being right – simply because he is honest about it. How have we been able to miss that important point? I suspect it is because the ego wants to think well of itself and deny any shadow material. Only the soul knows that we grow best in the shadowlands. We are blinded inside of either total light or total darkness…”

8. Loving ourselves

“Have you ever experienced the embarrassed and red-faced look of shame and self-recognition on the face of anyone who has been loved after they have clearly done wrong? This is the way that God seduces us all into the economy of grace – by loving us in spite of ourselves in the very places where we cannot or will not or dare not love ourselves.”

Which quotes do you like the best?

51DJfJVBpBL (1)

A Sense of Entitlement – 5 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

9781616361570_p0_v1_s260x4201. Power is at its best in weakness

“I must be up front with you.  I do not really understand why God created the world this way.  I do not know why ‘power is at its best in weakness’ as Paul says, or ‘it is when I am weak that I am strong’ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).  It sure seems like God is some kind of trickster.  Perhaps the Divine is playing games with us.  God seems to have hidden holiness and wholeness in a secret place where only the humble will find it.  Some topsy-turvy God has decided that those on the bottom will be revealed as the true top, and those who try for the top will find nothing of substance there.  Why such a disguise?  Why such a game of hide-and-seek?” 

2. The body never lies

“To keep our bodies less defended, to live in our body right now, to be present to others in a cellular way, is also the work of healing of past hurts and the many memories that seem to store themselves in the body.  The body seems to never stop offering its messages; but fortunately, the body never lies, even though the mind will deceive you constantly…”

3. Threat and punishment are the least effective forms of social change

“Studies now show that threat and punishment are the least effective forms of social change or long-lasting improvement…  One has to wonder, do we really want people to grow, or do we just want to be in control of the moment?…”

4. A sense of entitlement

“The death of any relationship with anybody is to have a sense of entitlement.  Any notion that ‘I deserve,’ ‘I am owed,’ ‘I have a right to,’ ‘I am higher than you’ absolutely undermines any notion of faith, hope, or love between the involved parties.  This is certainly why Jesus made one of his strongest statements found in all three Synoptic Gospels, and yet one of his most denied and ignored.  He says, ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’ (Luke 18:25).  Jesus says that about no other group.  The mind of a rich person is invariably one of entitlement.  ‘I deserve this because I worked hard for this!’ we think.  Or, ‘I am owed this by reason of my station in life’…”  

5. Dualistic thinking

“Most practices of meditation and contemplation have to do with some concrete practices to recognize and to relativize the obsessive nature of the human mind.  The small mind cannot deal with Bigness and Newness, which God always is!  Even most addiction counselors recognize that many addicts are ‘all or nothing thinkers.’  I call this dualistic thinking, and is the normal labeling, rational mind that is good for things like science, math, and turning left or right.  But it is at a complete loss with the big five of God, death, suffering, love, and infinity.”

Which quotes are your favorite?

13 great quotes from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr 

9781616361570_p0_v1_s260x420

1. Breaking through to enlightenment and compassion

“I cannot pretend to understand God, but this is what I see: People who have moved from seeming success to seeming success seldom understand success at all, except a very limited version of their own.  People who fail to do it right, by their own definition of right, are those who often break through to enlightenment and compassion…”

2. Overcome all temptations to resentment

“Only hour by hour gratitude is strong enough to overcome all temptations to resentment.”

3. Intentional struggles

“People only come to deeper consciousness by intentional struggles with contradictions, conflicts, inconsistencies, inner confusions…”

4. People who can be up front and honest

“People who are more transparent and admitting of their blind spots and personality flaws are actually quite easy to love and be with.  None of us need or expect perfect people around us, but we do want people who can be up front and honest about their mistakes and limitations, and hopefully grow from them.”

5. The totally rational or dualistic mind invariably misses the point 

“Almost all true spirituality has a paradoxical character to it, which is why the totally rational or dualistic mind invariably misses the point, and just calls things it does not understand wrong, heresy, or stupid…”

6. How we situate ourselves in this world

“The longer I live the more I believe that truth is not an abstraction or an idea that can be put into formulas or mere words.  Our real truth has to do with how we situate ourselves in this world…”

7. Wisdom and respect for the other

“To offer an apology in a way that can actually heal the other takes wisdom and respect for the other…”

8. To be fully conscious

“To be fully conscious would be to love everything on some level and in some way – even our mistakes.  To love is to fall into full consciousness, which is contemplative, non-dualistic, and including everything…”

9. Inside our explanations, our preferences, and even our theologies

“We all seem to bind up both God and one another inside our explanations, our preferences, and even our theologies…”

10. The necessary beginning of any spiritual path

“Addiction is a spiritual disease, a disease of the soul, an illness resulting from longing, frustrated desire, and deep dissatisfaction – which is ironically the necessary beginning of any spiritual path.”

11. In human suffering with us and for us

“Many of the happiest and most peaceful people I know love a God who walks with crucified people…  For them, Jesus is not observing human suffering from a distance but is somehow in human suffering with us and for us…”

12. Formed much more by shared pain

“Deep communion and dear compassion is formed much more by shared pain than by shared pleasure…”

13. To fully participate at the very foundation of Being itself

“To mourn for one is to mourn for all.  To mourn with all is to fully participate at the very foundation of Being itself.  For some reason, which I have yet to understand, beauty hurts.  Suffering opens the channel through which all of Life flows and by which all creation breathes, and I still do not know why.  Yet it is somehow beautiful, even if it is a sad and tragic beauty.”

Which quote do you like best?

http://www.amazon.com/Breathing-Under-Water-Spirituality-Twelve/dp/1616361573/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427806962&sr=8-1&keywords=breathing+underwater

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427807026&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination