From the Well - 11/2/2017


1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NRSV) 
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

My cousin and I used to argue about which car was the best-Ford or Chevrolet. We almost came to blows on several occasions. My cousin and I were too young to realize it but we using either/or, win/lose thinking or what Richard Rohr calls Dueling Dualisms.

Unfortunately, most people (children and adults) see things as either good or bad, right or wrong, black or white, liberal or conservative, successful or unsuccessful, attractive or unattractive, and on and on. Every day we consciously or unconsciously make judgments. This type of thinking is called dualistic thinking. Dualistic thinking too often leads to racial divide, argument, war, injustice, separation, and division among God's people.

Imagine a day where we would see life not as either/or but both/and. This type of thinking is called non-dualistic thinking. It is non-judgmental. I also like to think of it as the middle way. Aristotle called it the "Via Media" or the path between two extremes. When a person walks the middle path and ceases to judge everything as good or bad, you experience a oneness with all of life rather than a separation from different parts of it. Seeing things as either/or and never being willing to compromise gets us nothing but gridlock and standoffs, like my cousin and me arguing about Ford and Chevrolet. When everyone is holding ground, no one can move ahead.

Richard Rohr says this:

The lowest level of consciousness is entirely dualistic (win/lose)-me versus the world and basic survival. Many, I am afraid, never move beyond this. The higher levels of consciousness are more and more able to deal with contradictions, paradoxes, and all mystery (win/win). This is spiritual maturity. At the higher levels, we can teach things like compassion, mercy, forgiveness, selflessness, even love of enemies. And good contemplative practice quickly greases the wheels of the mind toward non-dual consciousness. This is exactly why saints can overlook offenses and love enemies![1]

Think about it. See you in worship this Sunday.