Richard Rohr

"Elkhart Tolle and the Christian Tradition" by Richard Rohr, OFM

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Although Eckhart Tolle is arousing great interest today, many think he is a novelty, New Age, or even non-religious. The process—and that is what it is—that he is teaching, can be traced through the Greek and Latin traditions of contemplation, the apophatic tradition in particular, and the long history of what was sometimes called "The Sacrament of the Present Moment" (Brother Lawrence, OCD, Francisco de Osuna, OFM, Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J.).

The mystical tradition inside of Orthodoxy and Catholicism often divided contemplation into two types: infused or natural contemplation, and acquired contemplation. Evelyn Underhill, the brilliant historian of mysticism sees three forms of contemplation: 1) Mystical Contemplation of the Natural World, 2) Metaphysical Contemplation of the World of Being and Consciousness, 3) Theological Contemplation of the World of God…

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MY PROBLEM WITH RELIGION by Richard Rohr

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A recent study on altruism is supposed to have shown that people affiliated with religion are statistically no less or more loving than people who call themselves unbelievers. In fact, they are often more egocentric, and only a very small percentage is genuinely or heroically altruistic. If true, this is surely disappointing and humiliating for religion, although I must say that it largely matches my own observations. Some of the most naturally generous people I have ever known have been secularized Jews. And they don't even believe in an afterlife system of reward and punishment! We really have to look at this…

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"Ripening" by Fr. Richard Rohr

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The life and death of a human being is so exquisitely calibrated as to automatically produce union with Spirit.
--Kathleen Dowling Singh


I want to talk about notions of maturity, eldership, staging, sequencing, growth and direction or, what I will call, ripening. Where is this thing we call "life" headed? Who sets the standard? Is there any standard?

Beginning with Jesus' four kinds of soil and receptivity (Mt 13:4-9), to John of the Cross' "nights" and Teresa of Avila's "mansions," through the modern schemas of Jean Piaget, James Fowler, Lawrence Kohlberg, Eric Erickson, Abraham Maslow, Carol Gilligan and Bill Plotkin, each clarify that there is a clear direction and staging to maturity and therefore to human life. We live inside of some kind of coherence and purpose, a believer might say…

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"Introduction" to TRANSGRESSION by Richard Rohr

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After this surely-shocking Scripture, I begin these remarks on transgression with a poem from my favorite metaphysical poet, George Herbert, Welsh-born Anglican priest and mystic of the 17th century. In “Easter Wings,” as in others of his poems, he seems to deeply comprehend the precise and astounding nature of how spiritual transformation happens. He has learned that you must fall or fail before you know what reunion, or even union, really is, and only “then shall the fall further the flight in me.” God makes it rather certain that we will all fail, if we are honest about ourselves. The bar and goal of unconditional, divine love is set so high that no one can ever honestly say, “I have fulfilled the law!” or “I am a totally good person.”…

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"Getting Back to Our First Nature: Why the Mind Is the Key" by Fr. Richard Rohr

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When the importance of some form of meditation is pointed out to us, we often think we are being told about an esoteric, high-level, Buddhist practice, something largely unnecessary for ordinary folks. We imagine that meditation is an add-on for the elite and the few; and largely pursued by those who are already introverts. (I am coming to prefer the word meditation for the disciplined practice itself, and contemplation for the non-dual mind, eyes and behavior that result from such practices.)…

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"Finding God in the Depths of Silence" by Richard Rohr

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When I first began to write this article, I thought to myself, "How do you promote something as vaporous as silence? It will be like a poem about air!" But finally I began to trust my limited experience, which is all that any of us have anyway.

I do know that my best writings and teachings have not come from thinking but, as Malcolm Gladwell writes in
Blink, much more from not thinking. Only then does an idea clarify and deepen for me. Yes, I need to think and study beforehand, and afterward try to formulate my thoughts. But my best teachings by far have come in and through moments of interior silence—and in the "non-thinking" of actively giving a sermon or presentation…

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