Excerpt from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations
Center for Action and Contemplation October 15, 2022
The Eighth Core Principle of the CAC: We do not think ourselves into a new way of living; we live ourselves into a new way of thinking. This final principle is a fruit of Richard’s decades of companioning with others on the spiritual journey. He writes:
The form of learning which most changes people in lasting ways has to touch them at a broader and deeper level than the thinking mind. The Dalai Lama said it well: “An open heart is an open mind. A change of heart is a change of mind.” This is the urgently needed work of mature spirituality and the vision of our work here at the Center. This probably seems strange coming from someone who writes and talks as much as I have, but it is actually my experience as a teacher that has led me to this conclusion.
Many folks over the years, even very good-willed people, have read and listened to my presentations of the gospel, yet have actually done very little in terms of lifestyle changes, economic or political rearrangements, or church reform. My preaching has remained in the realm of “good ideas.” After all, isn’t that what many think church is all about—attending services and believing ideas to be true or false? For most of us, if we’re honest, our lives rarely make space for any new practices or changed patterns or habits to emerge. In contrast, transformative education does not ask us to believe or disbelieve any doctrines or dogmas. It says, “Try this!” Then we will know something to be true or false for ourselves.
Here at the CAC we will continue to say: Try this, go here, change sides, move outside your comfort zone, make new friendships with people of a different race or class, let go of your usual role and attractive self-image, walk, pedal, or roll instead of drive, skip the tourist visits and spend time in local neighborhoods, go to the jail or to the border, help at a food pantry or literacy center, attend another church for a while, and so on. Then we can live ourselves into new ways of thinking, and we will wonder how we could have ever thought in any other way! Before new experience, new thinking is difficult and dangerous. Afterward, new thinking is natural and even necessary.