On Sunday, October 25 Andrea Dutt spoke about her faith journey, and how she was doing work as an activist in issues of justice, yet somehow feeling like something was missing. After doing an online search for “action and contemplation”, she discovered Richard Rohr’s Living School for Action & Contemplation (see website link below), and it became a transformational, life-giving experience which helped round out the work she was already doing. She shared the following poem with us and led the community in conversation about mysticism and the beauty and mystery of God. Also, be sure to check out some of the resources also listed below.
By Fr. Richard Rohr in The Naked Now
Yes, the mind is necessary, but it can’t do everything.
Yes, the mind is receptive, but reason is not our only antenna. We also need our bodies, our emotions, our hearts, our nose, our ears, our eyes, our taste, and our souls.
Yes, the mind can achieve great things, but through overcontrol, it can also limit what we can know.
Yes, the mind can think great thoughts, but also bad and limiting ones. The mind can be a gift and a curse.
Yes, the mind can tell left from right, but it cannot perceive invisible things such as love, eternity, fear, wholeness, mystery, or the Divine.
Yes, the mind can discern consistency, logic, and fairness, but it seldom puts these into practice.
Yes, the mind and reason are necessary, but they must learn to distinguish between what lies beyond its reach: the prerational and the transrational.
Yes, the mind is brilliant, but the more we observe it, the more we see it is also obsessive and repetitive.
Yes, the mind seeks the truth, but it can also create lies.
Yes, the mind can connect us with others, but it can also keep us apart.
Yes, the mind is very useful, but when it does not recognize its own finite viewpoint it is useless.
Yes, the mind can serve the world, but in fact it largely serves itself.
Yes, the mind can make necessary distinctions, but it also divides in thought what is undivided in nature and in the concrete.
Yes, the mind is needed, but we also need other ways of knowing or we will not know well, fully, or freely.
Yes, the mind is good at thinking. But so much so that most humans, like Descartes, think they are their thinking.
Yes, the mind likes to think, but until it learns to listen to others, to the body, the heart, and all the senses, it also uses itself to block everything it does not like to do or to acknowledge.
Yes, the mind is our friend, but when we are obsessive or compulsive, it can also be our most dangerous foe.
Yes, the mind welcomes education, but it also needs to be uneducated, to learn how much of what it “knows” is actually mere conditioning and prejudice.
Suggested resources from Andrea Dutt:
You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes
The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See by Richard Rohr
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne
Integral Christianity by Paul Smith
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Gravity: A Center for Contemplative Activism
Center for Action and Contemplation with Fr. Richard Rohr (and Living School)