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Jingle the bells

‘So, it was that time of the year again,’ said my old friend, the world famous Red Cap, from the top of the Christmas tree. I thought it would be a good idea to have a philosophising Cap on top of the tree instead of the traditional star or angel. From up there he will have a better view of the festivities and traditions of us the, according to him, “inferior mere mortals”.
‘Yes,’ I confirm merrily. ‘Jingle Bells were ringing joyously down the isles of shops in tune with the jingling of cash registers all over the world, and Boney M’s Little Drummer Boy competed with the sound of children throwing temper tantrums in front of shelves stacked to the roof with toys of all description while desperate mothers, in the spirit of Christmas, tried not to murder them in public. It was marvellous, absolutely wonderful, don’t you think?’
‘Yes, I know you are mad about it, you just love the spirit of it. You find it thrilling and exciting and joyful. Me, I fail to see the sense in any of this, but then again, you are a mere mortal, a stupid creature driven by senseless passion and uncontrollable emotions.’
‘But look at all the beautiful Christmas trees with the little lights in them. The streets were aglow with colourful lights and marvellous decorations,’ I tell him. ‘The people were happy and friendly and more forgiving. Laughter and love was in the air. It always stirs something deep in you, it fills you with wonder, with awe as if some miracle is about to happen. (meer…)

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The conclusion of Krista Tippett’s interview with Richard Rohr as promissed. Another 7 pages of this very interesting talk with a comment or two of my own inserted in red.

Lees en word dalk ietwat wyser as wat jy voorheen was.

 

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. –Meister Eckhart

Living in Deep Time

 

Richard Rohr

Living in Deep Time

Men of all ages say Richard Rohr has given them a new way into spiritual depth and religious thought — through his writing and retreats. This conversation with the Franciscan spiritual teacher delves into the expansive scope of his ideas: male formation and what he calls “father hunger”; why contemplation is as magnetic to people now, including millennials, as it’s ever been; and how to set about taking the first half of life — the drive to “successful survival” — all the way to meaning.

Transcript

Ms. Tippett: You can listen again and share this conversation with Fr. Richard Rohr through our website, onbeing.org.

Ms. Tippett: I also experience in your writing — this is the way I wrote it down, and I don’t know if you say it this way — but one of the qualities of the first half of life or the early part of the spiritual life is dualistic thinking.

Fr. Rohr: Yes. That’s almost all we have left.

Ms. Tippett: Right, and that’s another way our culture is in the first half of life. But I kind of hear you saying also that contemplation is a very powerful antidote to dualistic thinking.

Fr. Rohr: Yes. Do you want me to talk about it?

Ms. Tippett: Yeah, yeah.

Fr. Rohr: Well, let me say, first of all, Krista, to cover my bases, I’m not going to say that dualistic thinking is bad, per se, and non-dual is good, or I’d be dualistic, wouldn’t I?

Ms. Tippett: [laughs] OK, I’ll hold you to that. All right.

Fr. Rohr: [laughs] So we’ve got to succeed at clear-headed, non-fuzzy thinking. That’s what education is about. And I want to say that, first of all, because so many people who come up to us religious folks and say, “God told me,” and, “I heard from the spirit,” you find out they think they’re at the non-dual level, but they really aren’t. Do you understand?

(It is very important to understand Rohr here. “God told me,” = dualistic = Me here, God there. It is like saying me and my dog, or wife or that mountain. Non-dual: there is nothing but God, or like he says in Falling Upward: “The self-same moment we find God in ourselves, we also find ourselves inside God”)

Ms. Tippett: Yeah.

Fr. Rohr: So the normal way to get us through the day — I just drove over here where I’m recording this from my house about 10 minutes away, and to turn right or left, I needed a good dualistic mind to even find the address or whatever it might be. So to get through the day, to be an engineer or a mechanic, a medical professional, you better have a good dualistic mind. But then you hit a ceiling, and it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work.

But non-dual is where you move into both/and, where you don’t look for all-or-nothing thinking. And we’re seeing it in our political debates today. It’s almost the only form of conversation left is all-or-nothing thinking. And it’s amazing to me that we could have this many universities in this country and could have this many churches and synagogues and mosques and have so many people still at such a low level of consciousness that they read everything in terms of either/or. And that’s why all of the world religions, not just Christianity, discovered that you needed a different kind of software to deal with mysterious things, holy things.

Ms. Tippett: And that software is contemplation.

Fr. Rohr: Is contemplation, the contemplative mind. (meer…)

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Hierdie onderhoud met Richard Rohr is een van die beste onderhoude wat ek in n lang tyd gelees het. Ek het voorheen hier iewers op die werf geskryf oor Rohr se boek “Falling Upward”.

Gegee die (Trump) tyd waarin ons leef, is dit nodig om weer na die wyse man se insigte te kyk.

Lees dit gerus met aandag en n oop gemoed. Ja ek weet, dit is n hele 6 bladsye lank na ek dit tot esensies verkort het, en meeste mense lees deesdae selde meer as 6 sinne. Ek kan jou belowe die een is die moete werd.

Lees en word wys.

Richard Rohr

Living in Deep Time

Men of all ages say Richard Rohr has given them a new way into spiritual depth and religious thought — through his writing and retreats. This conversation with the Franciscan spiritual teacher delves into the expansive scope of his ideas: male formation and what he calls “father hunger”; why contemplation is as magnetic to people now, including millennials, as it’s ever been; and how to set about taking the first half of life — the drive to “successful survival” — all the way to meaning.

Transcript

Krista Tippett, host: I’m not sure any living spiritual teacher has been recommended to me by more people across the years than Fr. Richard Rohr. Especially striking is how many men — diverse men — have told me they had trouble connecting to religion and spiritual practice, but that this Franciscan changed their lives, deepened their spirituality, helped grow them up. So, at long last, I’m here to draw him out.

And it’s a conversation with expansive scope, much like his teaching and writing — on why contemplation is as magnetic to people now, including millennials, as it’s ever been; on male spirituality and the epidemic of what he calls “father hunger;” and on the work of moving into what he describes as the second half of life. The first half is necessarily about survival, “successful survival,” and preoccupations like titles and prestige and possessions with a dualistic, either/or sensibility. But all of that doesn’t take us all the way to meaning, which is not a linear matter of age and time.

Fr. Richard Rohr: To be a contemplative is to learn to trust deep time and to learn how to rest there and not be wrapped up in chronological time. Because what you’ve learned, especially by my age, is that all of it passes away. The things that you’re so impassioned about when you’re 22 or 42 don’t even mean anything anymore, and yet, you got so angry about it or so invested in it. So, this word “contemplation,” it’s a different form of consciousness. It’s a different form of time. (meer…)

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Die Noodsaaklike val na Bowe saam met Richard Röhr. (Vervolg)

Ons is steeds op reis die ewigheid in. In kosmiese terme is die son skaars op, die dag lê vars en oop voor ons. Die “little lizards” in die dorpe en stede, op die plase en in plakkerskampe begin pas maar om wakker te word en stram teen die lewenspad op te beur, op soek na ´n plekkie in die son.

En ons val, sommige “na bowe” en ander trots gesig in die modder, onstuitbaar selfversekerd.

“The first-half-of-life task,” sê Richard Röhr “is no more than finding the starting gate. It is merely the warm-up act,” Maar ons glo dat dit die ware Jakob is. Ons storm narsisties voort deur die eeste helfte van ons lewens en glo dat die wêreld om ons draai, dat ons die middelpunt van gebeure is. Ek is die held/heldin, die mooi een, die slim een, die ryk een, die groot atleet of die swartskaap, of die slagoffer. En vanuit hierdie selfgesentreerde standpunt leef ons die eerste helfte van ons lewens verwoed uit. En as ons dom genoeg is, storms op dieselfde manier dwarsdeur die tweede helfte van ons lewens ook, baie tevrede en ingenome met ons selfsug en gewaande grootsheid.

“The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to falling or changing or dying. The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo, even when it is not working. It attaches to the past and present, and fears the future.” sê Röhr. (my onderstreep) (meer…)

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“Merely to survive and preserve our life is a low-level instinct that we share with good little lizards.”

Aldus Richard Röhr in sy boek “Falling Upward” waaruit ek hier onder knaend aanhaal.

Soms voel dit vir my asof die ganse wêreld bevolk is met “little lizards”.

“A journey into the second half of our own lives awaits us all. Not everybody goes there, even though all of us get older, and some of us get older than others. A “further journey” is a welll-kept secret, for some reason. Many people do not even know there is one. There are too few who are aware of it, tell us about it, or know that it is different from the first half of life.”

Ons is op reis die ewigheid in. Die son is skaars op, die dag lê vars en oop voor ons. Die “little lizards” in die veld begin om wakker te word en klouter stram teen die klippe op, op soek na lêplek in die son ter wille van oorlewing. En dan vertel ons vir die soveelste maal aan mekaar die stories van ons gisters, van ons kinderdae, van die goeie ou tyd op die plaas. Hoe lekker dit was. Hoe ons kaalgat in die plaasdam geswem het, van onwettige jagtogte op die buurman se plaas, van ploeg met osse en touleier speel onder dreigement van pa se lang sweep wat nog os nog touleier ontsien het.

Droogtes word mekaar ook nie gespaar nie, nie vandag nie en ook nie in al die vorige vertellings van dieselfde storie nie. Maar dit was lekker, dit was die lewe onbevange geleef, en nou oor en oor herleef en hervertel. Dan “fast forward” ons na die eerste werk, die eerste salaris, eerste kar, die eerste meisie, en as ons dronk genoeg is ook van die eerste seks (grootliks oordryf met meervoudige meisies en/of orgasmes). Als vreeslik lekker en opwindend. Ons was die beste. Elke grootse projek waaraan gewerk is word oorpeins en weereens bewonder, stuk vir stuk monumentaal herbou. Soos ´n CD speler wat op “loop” gestel is speel ons die storie oor en oor. Daar word niks gesê oor die toekoms nie, geen verwondering uitgespreek oor die hede nie. Die beste deel van die lewe, die enigste deel wat saak maak, lê ver terug.

“Thomas Merton pointed out that we may spend our whole life climbing the ladder of success, only to find when we get to the top that our ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”

Hierdie reisgenote wat so hunker na die verlede is goeie mense, van die beter ouens wat jy in jou lewe sal ontmoet. Hulle sal uit hulle pad uit gaan om jou en ander vriende te help. Hulle hou van poetse bak en van grappe vertel. Die sout van die aarde waarvan die Bybel praat. Ek hou van die soort mens. Moet net nie met hulle oor die dieper dinge van die lewe probeer gesels nie, veral nie oor godsdiens nie, dan is jy baie gou in die warm water want hulle verstaan jou nie.

Hulle is die “loyal soldier” waarvan Richard Röhr praat. Hy sê: “The loyal soldier can get you through hell with the early decisions that demand black-and-white thinking; but then you have to say good-bye when you move into the subtlety of midlife and later life.” Want hulle kan en sal jou nie volg nie. Hulle word oud soos jy, maar bly in die eerste helfte van hulle lewe vasgevang, want “Life is much easier on the childhood side of the rainbow,” sê Röhr.

“Basically, if you stay in the protected first half of life beyond the natural period, you become a well disguised narcissist (or an adult infant) – both of them are often thought to be successful “good old boys” by the mainstream culture.”

Soms is dit geld (in oormaat of weens gebrek daaraan) wat ons vasvang in die eerste helfte van ons lewe. Alles in die lewe en in ons denke draai om geld en besittings wat net nooit genoeg is nie. Ons ‘sit en vergaan van ellende’ in die duurste aftree oorde of ons huisie by die see. Ons lamenteer oor ander wat meer het as ons, of oor dit wat ons eens gehad het. As ons op ons oudag baie geld het spog ons (soms subtiel, soms brutaal openlik) daarmee en baai in die gloed van die aansien, status en mag wat die geld en die geleerdheid wat dit vir ons gekoop het, meebring. Ons kyk neer op die wat minder as ons het (en dus minder as ons is) en dring daarop aan om bedien te word, en weier hoogmoedig om ons naaste te dien, selfs in hulle nood. Soos kinders sentreer die lewe om die self, die belangrike ek en my onblusbare ego.

“Most people and institutions remain stymied in the preoccupations of the first half of life. By that I mean that most people’s concernes remain those of establishing their personal (or superior) identity, creating various boundary markers for themselves, seeking security, and perhaps linking to what seems like significant people or projects.”

“They keep doing their own kind of survival dance, because no one has told them about their sacred dance.” Die dans van die tweede helfte van die lewe.

Old men ought to be explorers

Here and there does not matter

We must be still and still moving

Into another intensity

For another union, a deeper

Comunion

T.S. Eliot

Die val na bowe is ´n ontstellende val, selfs angswekkend en eensaam, en onseker, tot jy finaal die bande breek met konvensie, die uitgediende aandrange en verwagtings van ´n stagnante samelewing. Dan val jy vry na bo, na ´n dieper en meer outentieke lewe sonder maskers.

Jy ontmoet die vreemde plaasboer wat jou vertel van dood en oorlewing, en van verdieping wat met die verlies kom. ´n Storie van die stadige dood wat Altzheimers is, en moord wat wegruk in ´n oogwenk. Maar dit is volgende week se storie, waar ons val-val verder loop saam met Röhr.

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