so i am reading the naked now (learning to see as the mystics see) by richard rohr, a franciscan. because i have had multiple conversations with marie about mysticism and how she will straight up call me a mystic after many of my reflection sessions with her, i picked up this book at LA congress, this past april. i wanted to learn more, and besides, rohr is pretty remarkable. it’s a very engaging book (i tend to jump from reading section to section, in it – and it is advised that that is ok to do!), and these are excerpts from one of my favorite chapters, called: “Yes, But”:
* Yes, the mind is necessary, but it can’t do everything.
* Yes, the mind can achieve great things, but through overcontrol, it can also limit what we can know.
* Yes, the mind can think great thoughts, and also bad and limiting ones. The mind can be a gift and a curse.
* Yes, the mind can tell left from right, but it cannot perceive invisible things such as love, eternity, fear, wholeness, mystery, or the Divine.
* Yes, the mind can discern consistency, logic, and fairness, but it seldom puts these into practice.
* Yes, the mind is brilliant, but the more we observe it, the more we see it is also obsessive and repetitive.
* Yes, the mind likes to think, but until it learns to listen to others, to the body, the heart, and all the senses, it also uses itself to block everything it does not like to do or to acknowledge.
* Yes, the mind welcomes education, but it also needs to be uneducated, to learn how much of what it “knows” is actually mere conditioning and prejudice.
…and so there it is. i think this chapter really spoke to me, because at times, i feel my mind taking over, or i tend to think too much about a particular thing. perhaps it will be easier to describe, via enneagram talk. soooo i’m an 8. much of how i function can be attributed to my gut-ness. given the head, the heart, and the gut in terms of impulse, and dissection, i’m the gut. i’m usually quick to respond, and i’m usually like, boom! – there you have it, go!
however, a big part of me is also the head part. but perhaps not so much in the sit back and observe kinda way, but moreso, the, have a thought, and obsess with it for longer than necessary way. and that, my friend, is not always healthy. like, ever. cause then i just end up worrying and freaking out, and then i have to remind myself of the lilies of the field. go figure. yeah, matthew 6:34. 🙂
i also think this chapter spoke to me, because it reminded me of how i will sometimes be such a thought-filled person, that i actually forget to feel, to experience, and moreso, to allow myself to feel how i do, in any given situation. ignatius says it’s super important to “savor moments” – ok, maybe he didn’t say, “super important,” but you get the idea – it is definitely a big part of ignatian spirituality. as a result, that has been a long-time criticism that i have received from family and friends. “crys, you’re so not touchy feely,” “crys, why are you so cut and dry, black and white?” i think that’s just how i function – HOWEVER! i will say, that this year taught me a lot, and i will say, that i feel, yes, FEEL, that i grew a lot in this area.
i have definitely been able to express myself more freely, and being influenced in such a good way, by way of my darlings, michelle and mary, and my mission year, and ignatian spirituality…pretty much the lovers of my life, my heart is able to talk a little bit more, and be present a little bit more. it’s just difficult at times, which is why this chapter on yes, but, really brings this reality to life. yes, the mind is great, oh so important, etc., but it can not exist without the body, the heart, the senses.
these brief excerpts are such great reminders! this really came to life when i was at rikers island this past wednesday. i remember as we were leaving sister eileen’s car, i asked her if i can take some paper and a pen with me so i can write things down, in case i wanted to journal – she said, no, don’t worry about it, i have paper and a pen in my office if you need it. well, we all know me – i at least ALWAYS have my cell phone with me, so that i can make notes in it, or SOMETHING…but nope – crystal had NOTHING…except a see through container of dinner, and well, me, BUT…that was a lot!
sure, i did a complete brain dump unto my journal pages come the 10pm time when i got home from rikers island, but there were times at rikers, that i had to remind myself, crystal, yes, take a mental note (cause i would want to remember some of the key things i heard from the women, or key moments i wanted to re-live), but just be there, and take a note of how you actually feel. and when i would do that, that’s when my eyes would become blurred with tears. it was such a release, each time.
as analytical as my mind is, it really does get in the way sometimes, but i have really found how taking a personal inventory of how i am feeling in given situations, really can help dictate decisions or perspective.
it’s in listening to my heart, but also, allowing myself to feel my heart, and getting in touch with what it is saying, that gets me. active listening, if you will. and actually going and moving, in that exact direction.
hmm…and that’s exactly what happened pretty much a year ago today – which is when i first came across cabrini mission corps. i listened to my heart, made the call, and prayed for something good! if i remember correctly, i couldn’t wait for memorial day to be over, cause the office was closed. but come that next day, i would eventually have a 40 minute preliminary conversation with gina, our director.
crazy how this tuesday will be my last official meeting with my spiritual director on the spiritual exericses. and a year ago from tuesday, was my first conversation with gina. amazing.