Atlas and Aurora

Over the past weekend, stunned and saddened like everyone else over the violence in Colorado, I took time to watch the movie Of Gods and Men for the third time. This was in preparation for an upcoming retreat.Watching that movie, about the monks of Our Lady of the Atlas Mountains, who were martyred during the Algerian Civil War in 1996, gave me a new and, I hope, contemplative perspective on both the shootings and how ordinary people might respond to them. The monks of Atlas lived Christlike … [Read more...]

Nonduality in the Bible … and us

A reader writes:I love reading your articles but am new to the terminology. What is "non-dualism" and is it compatible with Biblical truth? Also, why did non-dualism get marginalised?Great questions, both of them, and both point back to Richard Rohr, one of the most dynamic contemplative teachers alive today. Rohr calls Jesus the first nondual religious teacher in the west, and also speaks of how nondual wisdom teachings have been lost in the west since the late middle ages (I would cut u … [Read more...]

The Nondual Writers of Footnote #45

A reader of this blog writes to me:Hi Carl.  I was reading Richard Rohr's The Naked Now and in one of the footnotes he lists a number of "non-dualistic" writers he thinks are worthwhile.  Some of the names I know, others I'm not familiar with.  For instance: Bede Griffiths, Bruno Barnhart, Laurence Freeman, Ruth Barrows, Bernadette Roberts, Eckhart Tolle, Jean-Yves Leloup, Sebastian Painadath, Hugo Enomiya-Lasalle, and Ken Wilbur (I've heard of him, just haven't read anything by him).  Who on t … [Read more...]

Practical Discipline

There was a sense of freedom in knowing that I would never run out of room to grow. There was peace in knowing the race was over. Where I was right now was just where I should be, given the amount of effort I had expended. I saw the wake behind my boat for the first time, and I realized I was moving ahead, and pretty quickly, as a matter of fact. But the most important truth revealed to me in that moment was this: My real joy was found in my ability to learn to experience my growth, moment by … [Read more...]

Spiritual Orientation

My latest column has been published on Patheos. It's called Four Compass Points for the Spiritual Life.It grew out of an idea I have for this website (www.anamchara.com). It seems to me that there are four key dimensions to the spiritual life, no matter whether we are beginners or seasoned practitioners. And while I wrote the Patheos column specifically with "beginners" (of all ages) in mind, in truth one of the paradoxes of the spiritual life is that the further we travel on the journey, … [Read more...]

Insight from a Deep Well

Mystical spirituality is concerned with one basic question: how can we truly know God? One way of knowing involves learning information about God; it is doctrinal. Another way of knowing leads to union with God; it is mystical. Mystical writing often seems impenetrable and incomprehensible, eluding precise definition, as if it were an unknown and unknowable foreign language. Mystics relish paradox, speak in abstractions and metaphors, and love mystery. They tell us that knowing God is intuitive … [Read more...]

Vive la Résistance!

My latest column has been published on Patheos: A Contemplative Revolution. It's building off of a comment I made at the Wild Goose Festival: that contemplation is like the French Resistance during World War II. That, in turn, is an homage to the French origins on the Cistercian order: but it also speaks to the challenge of living as a contemplative in a not-very-quiet world. Of course, the problems of our world go far deeper than just the decibel level, and so  this article is a bit more … [Read more...]


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