Richard Rohr On Love and Connection
A dear friend introduced us to Richard Rohr four months ago. I’ve enjoyed listening to and reading his philosophy ever since. Rohr is a Catholic priest and a Franciscan brother. Many of his teachings are based upon traditional Eastern philosophies of universal connectedness, the ego, meditation, and contemplation.
Here are interesting excerpts from the interview.
God Removing Negative Energy
“As a priest, I’ve stood at the alter, performing externally correctly but feeling grumpy or negative inside. And then at [the end of Mass], there are people who smile or hug you and thank you and you go back to the alter healed. And you say, where did that grumpiness go? That’s the cosmic allure that God uses to constantly pull us out of our shell. But if we resist that, if we don’t let the hug, the embrace, the love, the smile, the sparkling eyes of another person pull us out, we can remain dead into our later years…. It seems we would [rather] die than change.”
This is true for all of us, not just priests. We can see the beauty of life in everything around us. But if we don’t acknowledge this, we may continue to live life in negativity, spite, sarcasm, or ambiguity.
On Christianity and Franciscan Philosophy
“God is revealing and loving through everything. That [includes] the creatures, the animals, the elements. The creatures are our brothers and sisters as are the wind, the fire.”
“The height of Christianity is to see God in everything. If we don’t see God in everything, we end up seeing God in nothing.”
“[God] is only hidden from those who do not know how to see.”
“The primary and essential revelation of the mystery of God is nature, is creation.”
These quotes remind me of when Brian and I returned from traveling Asia. Upon my return, I set an intention to refrain from killing insects/creatures unless I was planning on eating what I had killed. Pretty radical compared to most of my peers but it makes great sense to me. Why kill a fly or a mosquito in your home/office when you can just as easily live at peace with the creature or release it outside? I’ve learned this in Buddhist teachings and it’s interesting that Rohr applies similar philosophy to Christianity.
Rohr on Connection and Suffering
“Whenever we’re moving towards connection, when we allow [connection] to happen, when we build bonds and bridges, we are furthering the second coming of Christ. Whenever you separate, hate, fear, deny, or enclose yourself in a self pitying corner, you’re backtracking on the glory of God. You’re denying the mystery.”
“The only thing that leads us to growth is suffering. Suffering is whenever you’re not in control. It’s interesting how long it takes some of us to make a change and seek God. We actually continue self destructive behavior for long periods of time.”
This rings true. I’ve heard so many stories about people who have found yoga, God, spirituality, love, connection, lucidity, etc., only after long periods of suffering.
On Non Dual Thinking
“The dualistic mind divides everything up into what it understands and what it doesn’t understand. When you get to the contemplative level of life, you don’t think divide each moment dualistically. You almost naturally learn to think [in terms of] “both, and” and [this usually occurs] in the second half of life, when you’ve loved enough, suffered enough, [and] made enough mistakes. When you realize that even your good things had some bad to them, even your biggest mistakes had some great lessons.
That’s what begins to teach you non dual thinking where you let the whole moment come toward you as it is without dividing the uncomfortable part or separating from the mysterious part. The goal of of life is the contemplative mind.
That’s why I think what many people like their grandma on their grandpa more than their parents cause all things being equal by the time you get your sixties and certainly seventies and eighties [the conemplative mind] is where you should be. You see non dualistically.
The sad part is that a lot of people don’t get there, they’re more opinionated than ever when they’re seventy-five where they should be more humble and patient.”
This is one of the most succinct descriptions on nondualistic thinking that I’ve read. Interesting that this type of thinking usually comes comes to fruition in our later years. I suppose it’s a good sign for those of us who are on a spiritual, contemplative path at younger ages!
The mainstream media has had a habit of beating up Catholicism. But lately it seems that Jesus’ positive message is overwhelming the negativity. Although the Time Magazine Person of the Year Award has been diluted in recent years, it was encouraging to see Pope Francis named Time Man of the Year in 2013.
It’s also great to see intelligent leaders like Rohr preaching the beautiful messages of God and Jesus’ love. Catholicism, like all the major religions we feature on Lucid Practice, is a religion of love and peace. Let’s share this message.
What are your thoughts on this interview?