Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yes, But

The following is chapter 8 of Richard Rohr's marvellous book The Naked Now:

"Yes, the mind is necessary, but it can't do everything.

Yes, the mind is receptive, but reason is not our only antenna. We also need our bodies, our emotions, our hearts, our nose, our ears, our eyes, our taste, and our souls.

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, but 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 and reason are necessary, but they must learn to distinguish between what lies beyond its reach: the prerational and the transrational.

Yes, the mind is brilliant, but the more we observe it, the more we see it is also obsessive and repetitive.

Yes, the mind seeks the truth, but it can also create lies.

Yes, the mind can connect us with others, but it can also keep us apart.

Yes, the mind is very useful, but when it does not recognize its own finite viewpoint it is useless.

Yes, the mind can serve the world, but in fact it largely serves itself.

Yes, the mind can make necessary distinctions, but it also divides in thought what is undivided in nature and in the concrete.

Yes, the mind is needed, but we also need other ways of knowing or we will not know well, fully, or freely.

Yes, the mind is good at thinking. But so much so that most humans, like Descartes, think they are their thinking.

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 is our friend, but when we are obsessive or compulsive, it can also be our most dangerous foe.

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.

As a result, the great religions of the world found methods to compartmentalize, but not eliminate, the over-control of the thinking, rational mind through practices such as prayer, meditation, or contemplation. This was the "new mind" which allowed
1. other parts of us to see
2.other things to be seen
3. the rational mind to be reintegrated, but now as a servant instead of the master.

I risk the criticism that "It can't be that simple.". But it really is almost that simple - yet, for some reason, very hard to do. "

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