To my children
There is a place that only you can fill in this family. It is *your* place, and we need you in it. Your truest, deepest, self is needed in this place. As your parents, we have different roles within the group, with different respective responsibilities, but everyone in this group is equal. And this group needs all of all of us.
(And...when you disengage from us into technology, and are physically present but not emotionally present, it hurts the group. That's why we have limits.)
John the Evangelizer is paraphrased as having said, "Your truth is holy. Your deepest truth is the holiest thing about you." If God is at the center of everything, which the Celtic followers of John's teachings believe, your deepest truth is the closest thing about you to God.
What if...the "meaning of life" isn't found in an external event, activity, experience, or accomplishment, but rather it is found in the deepest peace, the deepest truth, within you.
That means that the goal of life is to return to, to restore, to reconnect with, inner peace. Over and over and over.
When in peace, we know what to do and, just as importantly, we know what not to do. (And there really is, truly, so little to do.) We know how to do it, and we are "clean." Our energy doesn't ask for others to give to us what we are unwilling to give to ourselves. We are free.
Freedom and peace feel pretty darn divine.
Ours To Do...by Richard Rohr
I founded the Center for Action and Contemplation more than thirty years ago because I saw a deep need for the integration of both action and contemplation. Over the years, I met many activists who were doing excellent social analysis and advocating for crucial justice issues, but they were not working from an energy of love except in their own minds. They were still living out of their false self with the need to win, to look good, to defeat the other side, and to maintain a superior self-image.
They might have had the answer, but they were not themselves the answer. In fact, they were usually part of the problem. Most revolutions fail. Too many reformers self-destruct from within. For that very reason, I believe, Jesus and other great spiritual teachers first emphasize transformation of consciousness and awakening of soul. Unless that happens, there is no lasting or grounded reform or revolution. When a subjugated people rise to power, they often become as controlling and dominating as their oppressors because they have not yet faced the shadow side of power. We actually need fewer reformations and more transformations.
The same dualism often masquerades in a new form which only looks like enlightenment. We are all easily allured by the next new thing until we discover that it’s also run by unenlightened people who in fact do not love God/Reality but themselves. They do not love the truth but the illusion of control. The need to be in power, to have control, and to say someone else is wrong is not enlightenment. Such unenlightened leaders do not want true freedom for everybody but only for their own new ideas. My great disappointment with many untransformed liberals is that they often lack the ability to sacrifice the self or create foundations that last. They can neither let go of their own need for change and control, nor can they stand still in a patient, humble way as people of deep faith can. It is no surprise that Jesus prayed not just for fruit, but "fruit that will last" (John 15:16). Too many conservatives, on the other hand, idolize anything that appears to have lasted, but then stop asking the question, “Is this actually bearing any fruit?” It is the perennial battle between idealism and pragmatism.
In order to become truly prophetic people who go beyond the categories of liberal and conservative, we have to teach and learn ways to integrate needed activism with a truly contemplative mind and heart. I’m convinced that once we learn how to look out at life from the contemplative eyes of the True Self, personal politics and economics are going to change on their own. I don’t need to tell you what your politics should or shouldn’t be. Once you see things contemplatively, you’ll begin to seek the bias toward the bottom (not the top, which is far too defended and idealized), you’ll be free to embrace your shadow, and you can live at peace with those who are different. From a contemplative stance, you’ll know what action is yours to do almost naturally. And what you do not need to do at all!
This essay, by Richard Rohr and published in his Daily Contemplation email today, is a beautifully articulated expression of my personal experience of self-destructing in the international development field, and the truth I experienced through healing and discovering the Peace Power Path. "...to seek the bias toward the bottom (not the top, which is far too defended and idealized), you’ll be free to embrace your shadow, and you can live at peace with those who are different." Exactly.
Photo credit: https://www.dailyastorian.com/news/local/after-wolf-rescue-wildlife-agencies-admit-we-can-do-better/article_5a8ec801-4095-5d28-a38d-e594d03b292f.html
Norma Van Horn