Contemplation creates a space in our lives for God to settle and perhaps speak without our intellects trying to control our religious experience. In Falling Upward, Richard Rohr writes that the first half of life is particularly hostile toward contemplation because we are struggling to define our identities and beliefs.
However, many find that the boundaries we’ve devoted our first half of life to constructing are never as solid as we thought. This is where the falling comes in. Most importantly, this is where we can find true spiritual growth.
The loss of control over our spirituality can open us to new movements of the Spirit of God. Here’s what Richard Rohr has to say in Falling Upward:
The very unfortunate result of this preoccupation with order, control, safety, pleasure, and certitude is that a high percentage of people never get to the contents of their own lives! Human life is about more than building boundaries, protecting identities, creating tribes, and teaching impulse control.
Very few Christians have been taught how to live both law and freedom at the same time. Our Western dualistic minds do not process paradoxes very well. Without a contemplative mind, we do not know how to hold creative tensions.
God has to undo our illusions secretly, as it were, when we are not watching and not in perfect control, say the mystics. That is perhaps why the best word for God is actually Mystery. We move forward in ways that we do not even understand and through the quiet workings of time and grace.
What are you trying to control today?
Take 5 minutes to surrender that part of your life to God today.