Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: Eager to Love

Open Eyes – 10 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

41YwunJqU-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Connection and relationship

“The entire universe is about connection and relationship – from the smallest atom to the galaxies and everything in between…”

2. The inner, the soul, intuition, connection

“The feminine principle has greater interest in the inner, the soul, the formless, deeper feeling, intuition, connection, harmony, beauty, and relationality in general; it is more identified with lunar subtlety and not the over-differentiating light of the masculine sun god or the literalism and linearity of the left brain. Not all women fully identify with the feminine principle, of course, and some men do, but these descriptors give you a sense of what I mean by the feminine…”

3. Humility commonly looks like

“In the male world, humility commonly looks like weakness, lack of exposure to the ‘real world,’ or even low self-esteem; but it is not an admirable virtue or any kind of needed strength…”

4. The demand for certitude

“It is important to know that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but in fact, certitude and the demand for certitude…”

5. The deeper levels

“…the soul needs living models to grow, and quite precisely exemplars with the expansive energies of love. People who are eager to love change us at the deeper levels; they alone seem able to open the field of both mind and heart at the same time… When we are in this different state, and that is what it is, we find ourselves open to directions or possibilities we would never allow or imagine before or after.”

6. Open eyes

“We all know love’s absence as hell, and its presence goes by the name of heaven. We all know the difference intuitively and energetically between people who are in heaven now and people who are in hell now. This demands no ‘belief’ or theology whatsoever, but only open eyes that mirror God’s eternal eagerness to love, and the imaginal world that such eyes create within us.”

7. The dualistic and contentious mind

“One wonders, however, if the dualistic and contentious mind that we now take as normative can understand, allow or support this kind of radical spirituality…”

8. Learn to offer life a foundational yes

“…we all must learn to offer life a foundational yes before we offer our critical no. If we start with no, it is almost impossible to ever get back to a full yes.”

9. An act of solidarity

“A simple lifestyle is quite simply an act of solidarity with the way most people have lived since the beginning of humanity. It is thus restorative justice instead of the world’s limited notion of retributive justice.”

10. Inner authority

“…the real authority that ‘authors’ people and changes the world is an inner authority that comes from people who have lost, let go, and are refound on a new level. Twelve-step programs have come to much the same conclusion in our time.”

Do you live with open eyes in everyday life?

Purchase Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

So Totally Dualistic – 8 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

41YwunJqU-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. We do not need to be afraid of true freedom

“God is free and so we do not need to be afraid of true freedom; God is nonviolent love, and this is the only hope for a world in which even Christians think violence is a way to ‘redeem’ the world. Wrong ideas about God create wrong ideas about everything else too.”

2. Union with the divine

“…for more and more people, union with the divine is first experienced through the Christ: in nature, in moments of pure love, silence, inner or outer music, with animals, a sense of awe, or some kind of ‘Brother Sun and Sister Moon’ experience…”

3. The demand for some supposed perfection

“The greatest enemy of ordinary daily goodness and joy is not imperfection, but the demand for some supposed perfection. Please meditate on that. There seems to be a dark side to almost everything, but only the intuitive or non-dual mind can accept this and not panic, but, in fact, grow because of it.”

4. Window dressings

“When you have not had any internal experience of God and grace, you almost always overcompensate with external window dressing. The ‘window dressings’ are not wrong in themselves, but do tend to make nonessentials into the essentials that we obsess about and divide over. When you have done this for half of your life, it is very hard to let go of it…”

5. A sidewalk spirituality

“Franciscan spirituality is ‘a sidewalk spirituality’ for the streets of the world and the paths of the forest…”

6. Compassion and Patience

“The most obvious change that results from such a holding and allowing is that we will naturally become much more compassionate and much more patient. Compassion and patience are the absolutely unique characteristics of true spiritual authority… A spiritual leader who lacks basic human compassion has almost no power to change other people, because people intuitively know he or she does not represent the Divine or Big Truth. Such leaders have to rely upon role, laws, and enforcement powers to effect any change in others. Such change does not go deep, nor does it last. In fact, it is not really change at all.”

7. Our blindness and lack of reverence

“There are not sacred and profane things, places, and moments. There are only sacred and desecrated things, places, and moments – and it is we alone who desecrate them by our blindness and lack of reverence. It is one sacred universe, and we are all part of it. You really cannot get any better or more simple than that, in terms of a spiritual vision.”

8. So totally dualistic

“In some ways, the Western Church did not become so totally dualistic in its thinking until after the Reformation and the rational Enlightenment. After the printing press, words became more important than actual experience.”

Have you become totally dualistic?

Purchase Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

Everything is Sacred – 14 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi 

41YwunJqU-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Lightness of heart

“But I believe the lightness of heart comes from contact with deep feminine intuition and with consciousness itself; the firmness of foot emerges when the feminine principle integrates with the masculine soul and moves forward with confidence into the outer world.”

2. When you start with a negative

“When you start with a negative, it is almost impossible to ever get back to anything positive and wonderful. When you start with a positive, things tend to take care of themselves from within.”

3. Authentic love

“…authentic love is not possible without true inner freedom of conscience, nor will love be real or tested unless we somehow live close to the disadvantaged…, who remind us about what is important.”

4. The dualistic and contentious mind

“One wonders, however, if the dualistic and contentious mind that we now take as normative can understand, allow, or support this kind of radical spirituality…”

5. Everything is sacred

“…there is a shock involved when we suddenly see that incarnation is actually our ordinary life, now, everywhere. At first, it is a disappointment. But once we become practiced at a contemplative worldview, a ‘thisness’ way of seeing, there is nothing trivial anymore and all is grace. But those who have chosen a split world of sacred or profane don’t know how to live in a world where everything is sacred.”

6. More mature levels of mystical union

“When you get to the more mature levels of mystical union everything becomes a metaphor for the divine, and you grab for metaphors to concretize the mystery that is now in everything and everywhere!…”

7. Fragile and vulnerable

“The true Gospel always leaves us both fragile and vulnerable…”

8. Compassion and patience

“The most obvious change that results from such a holding and allowing is that we will naturally become much more compassionate and much more patient. Compassion and patience are the absolutely unique characteristics of true spiritual authority…”

9. The humble, honest, and suffering

“Seeming absence, ironically, becomes the deepest recognition of presence, because it is thus awaited and needed. The entire world is indeed sacramental and mediates the message, and yet it is hidden in such a way that only the humble and honest – and suffering – will find it.”

10. Living communities

“We need living communities to keep us accountable, growing, and honest.”

11. Taught to mistrust our own souls

“We were taught to mistrust our own souls – and thus the Holy Spirit!…”

12. Our own sifting – and recovering

“Once we go through our own sifting – and recovering – we will have a kind of real inner authority too, just by trusting what we know. It will probably never be an authority that needs to be formally licensed as such…”

13. Covenant with God’s poor

“Francis of Assisi became a living and dying ‘Covenant with God’s poor’ and with the universal suffering of humanity, just as Jesus had done…”

14. People who have lost, let go, and are refound

“What the crucified has revealed to the world is that the real authority that ‘authors’ people and changes the world is an inner authority that comes from people who have lost, let go, and are refound on a new level…”

Do we see that all of life is sacred?

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

Losing or Dying – 10 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Immortal Diamond: The Search For Our True Self 

51Y9Oq9eiML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. A social construct

“Your False Self is who you think you are. Your thinking does not make it true. Your False Self is almost entirely a social construct to get you started on your life journey… It is your ‘container’ for your separate self. Jesus would call it your ‘wineskin,’ which he points out usually cannot hold any new wine… Your ego container likes to stay ‘contained’ and hates change.”  

2. Most notions of sacrifice

“Jesus knew that most notions of sacrifice largely appeal to our False Self, are not needed by the True Self, and are almost always manipulated and misused by people, most institutions, and warring nations…”

3. Conventional wisdom

“We pulled Jesus into our ‘conventional wisdom’ and seldom allowed him to be the teacher of alternative wisdom that he always has been.”

4. God’s standing in solidarity with the suffering

“The Crucified One is God’s standing in solidarity with the suffering…”

5. Intimate love

“Intimate love is the true temple that we all desire. I guess you have to want to love and to be loved very badly – or we will never go to this strange temple and will never find our True Selves. So God obliges and created us in just that way, with a bottomless and endless need to be loved and to love…”

6. Always feel like losing or dying

“Your False Self is how you define yourself outside of love, relationship, or divine union. After you have spent many years laboriously building this separate self, with all its labels and preoccupations, you are very attached to it. And why wouldn’t you be? It’s what you know and all you know. To move beyond it will always feel like losing or dying…”

7. Both a scandal and a supreme disappointment

“If we were truly being honest, God is both a scandal and a supreme disappointment to most of us…”

8. In finding your True Self

“…in finding your True Self, you will have found an absolute reference point that is both utterly within you and utterly beyond you at the very same time…”

9. Our False Self does not let go easily

“Our False Self does not let go easily. But that doesn’t mean the False Self should be attacked or eliminated. In time, it will reveal itself for the false wizard that it is. If you go out after it directly, it will only disguise itself further, while you in the meantime get to feel quite virtuous…”

10. The death of the False Self

“What the ego (the False Self) hates and fears more than anything else is change. It will think up a thousand other things to be concerned about or be moralistic about – anything rather than giving up ‘who I think I am’ and ‘who I need to be to look good.’ Seeking any kind of higher moral ground, as we are almost all trained to do, is often a way of avoiding the death of the False Self, which is why Jesus so often mistrusts moral achievement contests…”

Which quote do you like the best?

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

“I underlined and highlighted this book like crazy. I’m chomping at the bit to reflect on all that stood out to me. Votava’s book is the kind that demands further reflection. It is deep, challenging, and convicting. Indeed, the Holy Spirit used this book to expand my imagination and to help me better see the sacredness of life.” Marlena Graves, author of A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness

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

A Spirituality of the Beatitudes – 9 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

41YwunJqU-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Taught to mistrust our own souls

“We were taught to mistrust our own souls – and thus the Holy Spirit!”

2. Not owning property

“Not owning property can free you from the power and importance that often come with any notion of mine or thine…”

3. The humble and honest

“In a world where imperfection seems to be everywhere, the humble and honest have a huge head start in spiritual matters, and can first and always find God in their simple lives…”

4. A spirituality of the Beatitudes

“Franciscan spirituality almost entirely proceeds from a spirituality of the Beatitudes. With the Beatitudes, there is no social or ego payoff for the false self, whereas obedience to the Ten commandments does give us the necessary impulse control and containment we need to get started, which is a foundational need in the first half of life. Both ‘halves of life’ are good and necessary, but the Ten commandments are more orientated toward the tasks of the first half of life… The Beatitudes, however, reveal a world of grace and abundance, or what Spiral Dynamics or Integral Theory would call the third tier of consciousness or non-dual thinking and what I would call second-half-of-life spirituality. Healthy religion is ‘made to order’ to send you through your entire life journey and not just offer you containment.”  

5. A positive appreciation for what is

“In terms of spirituality, as in good art, less is usually more. Or, to put it another way, small is beautiful. Only by continually choosing a philosophy of ‘less’ that is willing to wait for God’s ‘more,’ will we grow and transform, since we have then learned to be taught by smallness and ordinariness. We will practically experience this as a growth in willingness and a surrender of willfulness. This is another aspect of incorporating the negative, which then ends up not being negative at all but just a positive appreciation for what is.”

6. Becoming who you already are

“Salvation is not a divine transaction that takes place because you are morally perfect, but much more it is an organic unfolding, a becoming who you already are, an inborn sympathy with and capacity for, the very One who created you. Each is both a part that is like the Whole and also contributes to the Whole…”

7. God is nonviolent love

“God is free and so we do not need to be afraid of true freedom; God is nonviolent love, and this is the only hope for a world in which even Christians think violence is a way to ‘redeem’ the world. Wrong ideas about God create wrong ideas about everything else too.”

8. Transformed people

“Transformed people quite simply transform people, and set the bar of history higher for all of us…”

9. Highly evolved people

“So God gives us highly evolved people to pull us forward. The Christian word for that was simply ‘saint.’ We cannot imagine something until we see it as a living model of archetypal figure. Then it constellates in our consciousness as maybe possible for us too…”

Which quote do you like the best?

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In-Depth Spirituality – 8 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

41YwunJqU-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Do not become negative or narcissistic

“The common sign that the contemplative mind has been accessed is when you see people who are highly capable of long periods of silence and solitude – and do not become negative or narcissistic in the process – but actually increase in joy and love. This is not possible if you have a dualistic mind or still operate from the egoic level…”

2. If your only goal is love

“If your only goal is to love, there is no such thing as failure…”

3. Love is not love until you stop expecting something back

“Love is not love until you stop expecting something back. The moment you want something in return for your giving, all love is weakened and prostituted…”

4. The more mature levels of mystical union

“When you get to the more mature levels of mystical union everything becomes a metaphor for the divine, and you grab for metaphors to concretize the mystery that is now in everything and everywhere…”

5. Some level of equality

“Love in its mature and full form always creates some level of equality between giver and receiver…”

6. Not be destroyed by cynicism

“In Francis, as in Jesus, the turnaround of consciousness was complete: the enemy of the small self became the friend of the soul, and he who lost his small life could find his Great Life. Only such a new person can take on the social illnesses of our time, or any time, and not be destroyed by cynicism…”

7. The definition of any in-depth spirituality

“Suffering seems to overcome the semipermeable membrane between ourselves, others, and God – and sometimes rather completely. It can overcome all of the major splits from reality that we all enter into: the split from our shadow self, the split of mind from our body, the split of death from life, and the split into separateness from God and others. Overcoming these foundational splits is what I mean by necessary suffering, and is almost the definition of any in-depth spirituality.”

8. We must all be eager to love every day

“The central practice of Franciscan mysticism, therefore, is that we must remain in love, which is why it is a commandment as such (John 15:9), in fact, the commandment of Jesus. Only when we are eager to love can we see love and goodness in the world around us. We must ourselves remain in peace, and then we will see and find peace over there. Remain in beauty, and we will honor beauty everywhere. This concept of remaining or abiding (John 15:4-5) moves all religion out of any esoteric realms of doctrinal outer space where it has for too long been lost. There is no secret moral command for knowing or pleasing God, or what some call ‘salvation,’ beyond becoming a loving person in mind, heart, body, and soul yourself. Then you will see what you need to see. This teaching is so central…: we all must be very eager to love every day.”

Which quote do you like the best?

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Power, Prestige, and Possessions- 11 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

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1. The three dangerous P’s of power, prestige, and possessions

“The three dangerous and ever-present P’s of power, prestige, and possessions were of no interest to either Francis or Clare…  There was no ‘imitative rivalry’ in either of them, which Rene Girard says is the basis of most human conflict and violence.”

2. Not be destroyed by cynicism

“In Francis, as in Jesus, the turnaround of consciousness was complete: the enemy of the small self becomes the friend of the soul, and he who lost his small self could find his Great Life.  Only such a new person can take on the social illnesses of our time, or any time, and not be destroyed by cynicism.”

3. An utterly shared phenomenon

“God’s life is an utterly shared phenomenon…”

4. Not close to the radical and risky search for God

“Most church life, and even much religious life, has been a belonging system that gave good people a workable self-image, which is a necessary place to start in the first half of one’s life.  But it is not close to the radical and risky, and often dark, search for God and faith that characterizes Francis and so many saints and mystics.” 

5. Much more into exclusion than inclusion

“Up to now we have been much more into exclusion than inclusion…”

6. Honor the very basics of love

“One has to honor the very basics of love itself to get inside of the Real Game, which is why Jesus commanded us to love.  The way you love other humans and the way you love God are almost certainly identical…  How you love and how you allow yourself to be loved by God is how you love in general!…”

7. Being outside the system of power and status

“Francis and Clare made what most would call negative or disadvantage shimmer and shine by their delight in what the rest of us ordinarily oppose, deny, and fear: things like being small, poor, disparaged, being outside the system of power and status, weakness in any form…  They make a loving bow to the very things that defeat, scare, and embitter most of the rest of us.  You might call it ‘dying before you die,’ which is always the secret of the saints, and the heart of any authentic spiritual initiation.” 

8. The non-dual mind

“The great enemy of ordinary daily goodness and joy is not imperfection, but the demand for some supposed perfection.  Please meditate on that.  There seems to be a dark side to almost everything, but only the unitive or non-dual mind can accept this and not panic, but, in fact, grow because of it.”

9. Freedom is always a risk

“Gospel freedom is always a risk, and only the mature can handle it well.”

10. An imitation and love of the humanity of Jesus

“Francis emphasized an imitation and love of the humanity of Jesus, and not just the worshiping of his divinity.  That is a major shift.”

11. The most unfortunate thing about the concept of mysticism

“The most unfortunate thing about the concept of mysticism is that the word itself has become mystified – and relegated to a ‘misty’ and distant realm that implies it is only available to a very few.  For me, the word simply means experiential knowledge of spiritual things, as opposed to book knowledge, secondhand knowledge or even church knowledge.”

What quote strikes you as the most interesting?

http://www.amazon.com/Eager-Love-Alternative-Francis-Assisi/dp/1616367016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433284637&sr=8-1&keywords=eager+to+love

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433284520&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

An Organic Unfolding – 8 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

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1. Something nice, proper, and culturally accommodated

“My personal belief is that mainline, organized Christianity has too often missed out on the freedom and joy of the Gospel and often settled for something nice, proper, and culturally accommodated.  It was organized into a formal religion that did indeed become a living spirituality for many people.  But the common variety of church life in most denominations could be called ‘fast-food’ religion instead of deeply nutritious meals that feed and change people at deep, unconscious levels…  Christianity has largely reflected current cultural values, and even bourgeois values, during most of its history…”

2. An entirely different philosophy

“Yes, we formally believed that Jesus was both human and divine at the same time ‘somehow,’ but with our largely dualistic thinking, we ended up being only human – and Jesus for all practical purposes ended up being only divine.  We missed the major point – which was to put the two together in him – and then dare to discover the same in ourselves!  We made our inclusive Savior, that we could imitate and participate with, into a Redeemer that we were told to worship as a quite exclusionary God.  Jesus, who was always and overwhelmingly inclusive in his lifetime, seemed to create a religion that had an entirely different philosophy.”

3. Circle of connection

“The entire universe is about connection and relationship – from the smallest atom to the galaxies and everything in between.  Sin and evil emerge when we try to stand outside of that circle of connection.”

4. Confirms in the soul a kind of emotional sobriety

“…we must move to the laboratory where all such radical change can occur – inside of our very mind, heart, and the cells of our body.  I call it the laboratory of contemplative practice, which rewires our inner life and actually confirms in the soul a kind of ‘emotional sobriety’ plus an inner sense of divine union so we can do the needed works of justice with both peace and enduring passion.”

5. Integration of the negative

“I suppose there is no more counterintuitive spiritual idea than the possibility that God might actually use what we fear, avoid, deny, and deem unworthy.  This is what I mean by the ‘integration of the negative.’  Yet I believe this the core of Jesus’ revolutionary Good News, Paul’s deep experience, and the central insight that Francis and Clare lived out with such simple elegance…  Such surrendering of superiority, or even a need for such superiority, is central to any authentic enlightenment.  Without it, we are blind to ourselves… and blind guides for others.”

6. Still trapped in dualisms

“Gender seems to be a very deep archetype in the soul, and thus any gender identity confusion is indeed quite confusing as long as the mind is still trapped in dualisms, or as long as we still try to read reality in a non-contemplative or egoic way.”

7. An alternative consciousness

“There are very few teachers of the true contemplative mind even to this day.  Most still think of ‘contemplative’ as being introverted and taking some quiet time, but seldom as knowing how to develop an alternative consciousness that is ready for God.  The older tradition of contemplation is only being rediscovered in our time, after Thomas Merton and others pulled back the veil and revealed that we had lost it – for centuries now.”

8. An organic unfolding

”Salvation is not a divine transaction that takes place because you are morally perfect, but much more it is an organic unfolding, a becoming who you already are, an inborn sympathy with and capacity for, the very One who created you.  Each is both a part that is like the Whole and also contributes to the Whole…”

Which quote do you like the best?

http://www.amazon.com/Eager-Love-Alternative-Francis-Assisi/dp/1616367016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433080844&sr=8-1&keywords=eager+to+love

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433080932&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Book Review – Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi by Richard Rohr

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I absolutely love this book from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi.  It is filled with wisdom that you won’t hear inside the structural boxes of Christianity in North America.  It is essential reading for anyone who wants to embrace finding a way to live life in our twenty-first century world.

This book covers territory about our dualistic thinking, embracing simplicity, awareness of our connectedness, seeing the sacredness of all of life, trusting our own souls within, the inner authority of suffering (letting go of control), the integration of the masculine and feminine, mysticism and contemplation.

I like how letting go of control is a primary theme in the writing.  He says that letting go of control is the way we experience suffering in our lives.  And suffering leads us to an inner authority we will find in no other way.  Those who suffer and love have the deepest wisdom that nobody can understand completely.

Richard Rohr makes mysticism something that is accessible to us all by stating it as an experiential knowledge of our spirituality.  I constantly long for an experiential spirituality that is not based on abstract theology or ideas about God, but is based on something authentic in everyday life.  Exploring a mysticism where we are all ordinary mystics who live out our experiential spirituality in community together with others is what I want to embody.  This is hopeful to me like nothing else.

This book has inspired my imagination beyond the status quo life of mortgages and luxuries to find God in the ordinary.  Rohr has led me to embrace a simplicity where I find solidarity with the marginalized, where they are no longer a threat to me and I stop objectifying others for my own gain.  This seems like freedom from the empire I find myself in.

I love how the book talks about how St. Francis brought the feminine back into our spirituality.  He integrated the masculine and the feminine together.  When we lose the feminine side of spirituality we do things like the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and all others forms of colonial violence because masculine spirituality tends to be about being right and competition.  The feminine side tends to be more relational and about the embodiment of love through collaboration and partnership.

Rohr says that we are taught to mistrust our souls.  I am coming to see that we can trust what is deepest within us, our true self, the authentic longing that lives within.  We are created in the image of God and are beloved.  We need to honor this true self within ourselves and allow it to live more fully as the Spirit of love lives within us.

Subverting a dominant narrative of the sacred/secular divide to see all of life as sacred is essential to the book.  All sorts of distortions happen to us when we live in our dualistic thinking of separating life into little compartments of our own making.  When we do this all of life cannot be embraced as sacred and we live in dualities.  This is not healthy and will lead us to believe in a narrative of separation from ourselves, God and one another.

  • Mysticism is experiential knowledge

“The most unfortunate thing about the concept of mysticism is that the word itself has become mystified – and regulated to a ‘misty’ and distant realm that implies it is only available to a very few.  For me, the word simply means experiential knowledge of spiritual things, as opposed to book knowledge, secondhand knowledge or even church knowledge.”

  • Taught to mistrust our own souls

“We were taught to mistrust our own souls – and thus the Holy Spirit!”

  • Everything is a revelation of the divine

“The Christ Mystery refuses to be vague and abstract, and is always concrete and specific.  When we stay with these daily apparitions, we see that everything is a revelation of the divine…  There are henceforth no blind spots in the divine disclosure, in our own eyes, or in our rearview mirrors.  Our only blindness is our own lack of fascination, humility, curiosity, awe, and willingness to be allured forward.”

  • All of the world is sacred

“In Franciscan mysticism, there is no distinction between sacred and profane.  All of the world is sacred…”

  • Refound on a new level

“What the crucified has revealed to the world is that the real authority that ‘authors’ people and changes the world is an inner authority that comes from people who have lost, let go, and are refound on a new level…”

  • Some form of suffering is absolutely necessary

“If suffering is ‘whenever we are not in control’ (which is my definition), then you see why some form of suffering is absolutely necessary to teach us how to live beyond the illusion of control and give that control back to God.  Then we become usable instruments, because we share our power with God’s power…”

  • A kind of crucifixion

“…to accept full reality will always be a kind of crucifixion both for God and for ourselves.  For us, it is a sure death to our easy opinions, our forced certitudes, any futile attempts at perfect control, our preplanned life, any intellectual or moral superiority, and eventually any belief in our separateness from God.”

  • Our mortgages, luxuries, and chosen lifestyles control our whole future

“Today most of us try to find personal and individual freedom even as we remain inside of structural boxes and an entire system of consumption that we are then unable or unwilling to critique.  Our mortgages, luxuries, and chosen lifestyles control our whole future.  Whoever is paying our bills, and giving us security and status, determines what we can and cannot think.  You cannot remove the plank that you are standing on.  Self-serving institutions that give us our security, status, or identity are almost always considered ‘too big to fail’ and are invariably beyond an honest critique for the vast majority of people.  And thus corruption grows.  The way of radical Christianity is simply to stay outside of such systems to begin with, so they cannot control your breath of thinking, feeling, loving, and living out universal justice.”

  • When you agree to live simply

“When you agree to live simply, you do not consider the immigrant, the refuge, the homeless person, or the foreigner as a threat to you or see them as being in competition with you.  You have chosen their marginal state for yourself…”

  • People cease to be possessions

“When you agree to live simply, people cease to be possessions and objects for your consumption or use.  Your lust for relationships or for others to serve you, your need for other people’s admiration, your desire to use other people as a kind of commodity for your personal pleasure, or any need to control and manipulate other people, slowly – yes, very slowly – falls away.”

  • Fragile and vulnerable

“The true Gospel always leaves us both fragile and vulnerable…”

  • An inner capacity to live with paradoxes and contradictions

“…contemplation gives us an inner capacity to live with paradoxes and contradictions.  It is a quantum leap forward in our tolerance for ambiguity, mystery, and paradox.  More than anything else, this new way of processing the moment is what moves us from mere intelligence, or correct information, to what we normally mean by wisdom or non-dual thinking.”

  • The beginning of training in non-dual thinking

“Paradox held and overcome is the beginning of training in non-dual thinking or contemplation, as opposed to paradox denied, which forces us to choose only one part of any mysterious truth.  Such a choice will be false because we usually choose the one that serves our small purposes…”

  • Live into new ways of thinking

“…humans tend to live themselves into new ways of thinking more than think themselves into new ways of living…”

  • Honest self-knowledge

“Honest self-knowledge, shadow work, therapy, and tools like the Enneagram are dismissed with such hostility by many fervent believers that you know they are hiding something or afraid of something.  They disdain this work as ‘mere psychology’…”

  • Overcompensate with external window dressing

“When you have not had any internal experience of God and grace, you almost always overcompensate with external window dressing.  The ‘window dressings’ are not wrong in themselves, but do tend to make nonessentials into the essentials that we obsess about and divide over.  When you have done this for half your life, it is very hard to let go of it…”

  • Patriarchy frames life as essentially competition

“By patriarchy (‘the rule of the fathers’), I mean when any group or individual operates in such a way that others must concede so that the dominant group is always first, in control, and right.  Patriarchy frames life as essentially competition and ‘the survival of the fittest,’ and there must be clear winners and losers.  This is an obvious case of the dualistic mind at work…”

  • In the male world, humility looks like weakness

“In the male world, humility commonly looks like weakness, lack of exposure to the ‘real world,’ or even low self-esteem; but it is not an admirable virtue or any kind of needed strength…”

  • Love is the nature of being

“The divine pattern is first and itself love, as opposed to thinking that God can be rationally understood, and this God then orders us to love.  Love is then a mandate instead of the nature of being itself…”

  • No such thing as failure

“If your only goal is to love there is no such thing as failure…”

  • Incarnation is actually our ordinary life

“…there is shock involved when we suddenly see that incarnation is actually our ordinary life, now, everywhere.  At first, it is a disappointment.  But once we become practiced at a contemplative worldview, a ‘thisness’ way of seeing, there is nothing trivial anymore and all is grace.  But those who have chosen a split world of sacred or profane don’t know how to live in a world where everything is sacred…”

  • Life is about being connected

“Life is never about being correct, but only and always about being connected.  Just stay connected!  At all costs stay connected.  Our only holiness is by participation and surrender to the Body of Love, and not by any private performance.  This is the joining of hands from generation to generation that can still change the world – and will.  Because Love is One, and this Love is either shared and passed on or it is not the Great Love at all.  The One Love is always eager, and, in fact, such eagerness is precisely the giveaway that we are dealing with something divine and eternal.”

Have you read Eager to Love?  What would you give the book from 1 to 10?

http://www.amazon.com/Eager-Love-Alternative-Francis-Assisi/dp/1616367016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425163618&sr=8-1&keywords=eager+to+love

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425163712&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

10 of my Favorite Quotes from Richard Rohr’s book Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

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  • Everything is a revelation of the divine

1. “The Christ Mystery refuses to be vague or abstract, and is always concrete and specific.  When we stay with these daily apparitions, we see that everything is a revelation of the divine – from rocks to rocket ships.  There are henceforth no blind spots in the divine disclosure, in our own eyes, or in our rearview mirrors.  Our only blindness is our lack of fascination, humility, curiosity, awe, and willingness to be allured forward.”

  • Having a kind of real inner authority

2. “Once we go through our own sifting – and recovering – we will have a kind of real inner authority too, by just trusting what we know.  It will probably never be an authority that needs to be formally licensed as such…”

  • Agreeing to live simply

3. “When you agree to live simply, you put yourself outside of others’ ability to buy you off, reward you falsely, or control you by money, status, salary, punishment, and loss or gain of anything.  This is the most radical level of freedom, but, of course, it is not easy to come by.  It might be called restorative justice, or primal solidarity with the mass of humanity and the earth…”

  • Leaving us fragile and vulnerable

4. “The true Gospel always leaves us both fragile and vulnerable…”

  • Inner capacity to live with paradoxes and contradictions

5. “…contemplation gives us an inner capacity to live with paradoxes and contradictions.  It is a quantum leap forward in our tolerance for ambiguity, mystery, and paradox.  More than anything else, this new way of processing the moment is what moves us from mere intelligence, or correct information, to what we normally mean by wisdom or non-dual thinking.”

  • External window dressing

6. “When you have not had any internal experience of God and grace, you almost always overcompensate with external window dressing.  The ‘window dressings’ are not wrong in themselves, but do tend to make nonessentials into essentials that we obsess about and divide over.  When you have done this for half your life, it is very hard to let go of it…”

  • Common sign of the contemplative mind

7. “The common sign that the contemplative mind has been accessed is when you see people who are highly capable of long periods of silence and solitude – and do not become negative or narcissistic in the process – but actually increase in joy and love.  This is not possible if you have a dualistic mind or still operate from the egoic level…”

  •  The demand for certitude

8. “It is important to know that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but in fact certitude and the demand for certitude!”

  • If your only goal is love

9. “If your only goal is to love, there is no such thing as failure…”

  • Whenever we choose to love

1o. “Whenever we choose to love we will – and must – die to who we were before we loved.  So we often hold back.  Our former self is taken from us by the object of our love.  We only realize this is what has happened after the letting go, or we would probably always be afraid to love.”

Which quote is your favorite?

http://www.amazon.com/Eager-Love-Alternative-Francis-Assisi/dp/1616367016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414162402&sr=8-1&keywords=richard+rohr+books

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414161685&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination