Book of the Month: Everything Belongs

everything-belongs-rohrWeek Three: Real Freedom… from Ourselves…

 

What gets in the way of our freedom? Most of the time, we do!

In Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr writes about the way the ego, our desire to uphold our self images, and the ways that we judge others all can lead us away from our true selves, union with God, and union with others.

This week’s quotes include the following:

 

*****

“When we live out of the ego, we impose our demands on reality. But when we live in God’s presence, we await reality’s demands on us. “

*****

“As long as we are comparing and differentiating from the other, we can’t love the other. We judge it.”

*****

“Most don’t know how to surrender to God. How can we surrender unless we believe there is someone trustworthy out there to surrender to?”

*****

“We don’t live in our bodies where we can feel our own feelings and trust our own experience. Instead, through commercials and advertisements and jingles we live in images and appearances.”

*****

“I’ve seen far too many activists who are not the answer. Their head answer is largely correct but the energy, the style, and the soul are not.”

*****

Read more…

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-19

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

Spinning and Being Spun by Nancy Nordenson

Intimacy for the Avoidant

The Sanctity of Your Calendar

Stop Adopting Other People’s Anxiety

In Pursuit of Silence

Yes, the World Is Going Berserk, but Inner Peace Is Still Possible

From Ed’s Blog: Why Evangelicals Lack Compassion for Doubters and Doubters Lack Compassion for Evangelicals

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

Featured Article: How to Resist Distraction

We are surrounded by distractions that are more than appealing to our minds that crave a quick win and pleasure. Choosing to focus runs against, the grain and the more we give in, the harder it is to say no.

So what recourse do we have when a text message pings or a commercial calls for our attention? This compilation of studies offers some practical steps you can put to good use when you writer or pray:

 

*****

Your lazy brain is happy to just react to that relentless bombardment of stimuli coming its way. But when you just react, you don’t usually make the best choices. And while you’re definitely doing something, you’re rarely achieving your goals.

That’s because when you’re reacting, you’re not in control of your life. In fact, reacting is the opposite of control. You see something fun and you chase it. You see something scary and you run away. Either way, your environment is determining your behavior.

*****

When you need to get work done, put your phone on the other side of the room. Make distractions harder to reach.

When you have fewer things to react to or you make it harder to react to them, you’ll be less reactive.

*****

Neuroscientists say stress takes your prefrontal cortex — the rational part of your brain — “offline.” Quite simply, stress makes you stupid. And that’s why just reacting often makes you do stupid things.

*****

Read more…

 

Are you enjoying the contemplative writer?

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

Scripture Meditation: The Intentional Pursuit of God

Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.
Psalm 111:1-2

How do we become aware of God’s presence in our lives?

First, we prioritize time spent in Christian community, giving thanks together for the ways God has been present and provided for us. As our faith struggles or falters, we’ll find encouragement through the stories of God’s faithfulness among others.

Second, we grow in our delight of God by pondering the ways that God has been at work in our lives.

We shouldn’t be surprised that we struggle to see God at work if we don’t take time to ponder his presence each day.

 

For Reflection

meditation-for-october-16

Book of the Month: Everything Belongs

everything-belongs-rohrWeek Two: Replacing Illusion with Reality

In his book Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr writes about the great surrender that must take place before we can find God and our true selves in prayer.

He is quick to note that God is already present. In fact, we cannot escape God’s presence but we can obscure it or overlook it. Our illusions about ourselves or about God can get in the way.

Therefore the great goal of every spiritual practice is to help us move past our illusions, distractions, and oversimplified answers so that we can be truly present for God.

 

*****

“We have no real access to who we really are except in God. Only when we rest in God can we find the safety, the spaciousness, and the scary freedom to be who we are, all that we are, more than we are, and less than we are. Only when we live and see through God can ‘everything belong.’ All other systems exclude, expel, punish, and protect to find identity for their members in ideological perfection or some kind of ‘purity.’”

*****

“We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God is maintaining us in every breath we take.”

*****

“All spiritual disciplines have one purpose: to get rid of illusions so we can be present.”

*****

“When we look at the questions, we look for the opening to transformation. Fixing something doesn’t usually transform us. We try to change events in order to avoid changing ourselves. We must learn to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning. That is the path, the perilous dark path of true prayer.”

*****

“When we avoid darkness, we avoid tension, spiritual creativity, and finally transformation. We avoid God, who works in the darkness—where we are not in control! Maybe that is the secret: relinquishing control.”

*****

Read more in Everything Belongs

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-10

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

This Is How to Resist Distraction

On the Appalachian Trail Combat Veterans Learn to Let Go

3 Truths about Dark Nights of the Soul

Christians Begin to Embrace the Enneagram

From Ed’s Site: The Lie about How to Live the Life You Love

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

Featured Article: The Value of Making Time for Rest

Author Michelle DeRusha writes that Shelly Miller’s new book Sabbath Rest encouraged her with a gentle reminder to make more space for rest and for God in her week. DeRusha writes about the benefits prioritizing the Sabbath in this week’s featured post:

*****

“I was all in on Sabbath rest a couple of years ago. I believed in it and was committed to it. But somehow, as weeks passed into months and months passed into years, I chipped away at the edges of my Sabbath practice until finally, there was nothing left. Without even being aware of it, my Sundays became another day of chores, errands, social media and catching up on email.”

*****

“How much of our faith journey is firsthand experience and not just what we know about him? Information helps us know about God, but Sabbath allows us to encounter him.”
-Shelly Miller

*****

“What I’ve come to understand – and what Shelly’s book reiterated for me — is that in order to know God in the way he desires, we need to make space and time for him. And in order to make space and time for him, we have to quiet ourselves. We have to cease our constant busyness, our constant doing and accomplishing.”

*****

Read more here.

 

Are you enjoying the contemplative writer?

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

The Contemplative Outreach Newsletter

How You React to Facebook Likes Is Linked to Self-Esteem

5 Incredible Apps to Maximize Your Attention Span

On the Theology of Sleep

3 Office Realities That Make It Nearly Impossible to Focus

Don’t forget! Pray, Write, Grow and The Contemplative Writer are both $.99 right now.

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

Book of the Month: The Way of the Heart

Week Three: The Roots of Compassion

way-of-the-heartAccording to Henrí Nouwen, judgment prevents us from ministering to others, while compassion makes all ministry possible. Compassion comes from the practice of solitude where God can ministry to us with mercy.

Once we have experienced God’s compassion and mercy for us, we’ll be able to share the same with others. Here are Nouwen’s thoughts on solitude from his book, The Way of the Heart:

 

*****

“Compassion is the fruit of solitude and the basis of all ministry.”

*****

“We have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others. To die to our neighbors means to stop judging them, to stop evaluating them, and thus to become free to be compassionate.”

*****

“Solitude molds self-righteous people into gentle, caring, forgiving persons who are so deeply convinced of their own great sinfulness and so fully aware of God’s even greater mercy that their life itself becomes ministry.”

*****

“When we are filled with God’s merciful presence, we can do nothing other than minister because our whole being witnesses to the light that has come into the darkness.”

*****

Read more in The Way of the Heart.

 

For Reflection

featured-book-september-19

 

Featured Book: Thoughts in Solitude

thoughts in solitude-mertonWeek Three: Prayer as Slow Conversion

This week’s readings from Thoughts in Solitude remind us that even when it seems that nothing is happening while we pray, God is present and working in us even as we struggle to break free from our worries and routines.

If you’re new to contemplative prayer, it’s tempting to start measuring and observing yourself as if something big and momentous is about to happen. However, Thomas Merton assures us that our work is to turn away from our cares and to trust ourselves to God’s care:

*****

“One cannot then enter into meditation, in this sense, without a kind of inner upheaval. By upheaval I do not mean a disturbance, but a breaking out of routine, a liberation of the heart from the cares and preoccupations of one’s daily business.”

*****

“There is no such thing as a prayer in which ‘nothing is done’ or ‘nothing happens,’ although there may well be a prayer in which nothing is perceived or felt or thought.”

*****

“All real interior prayer, no matter how simple it may be, requires the conversion of our whole self to God.”

*****

Learn more about Thoughts in Solitude…

 

For Reflection

Featured Book August 16, 2016