I have been reading a lot of Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar who is one of my favorite writers. He is on the forefront of the contemporary inter-spiritual dialogue, and is making a huge contribution in bringing the lost contemplative and mystical dimension of Christianity back to the western world. One of his favorite sayings is: “We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living; we live ourselves into a new way of thinking.”
I love that quote! It speaks to what we are doing at Celebration of Being (COB). Prior to new experiences, we often find new ways of thinking and behaving are difficult and rare. After a new experience, however, new thinking and behavior comes naturally and even becomes necessary. At COB we provide people with an environment in our workshops where they have a brand new experience of themselves, of other people and of the Divine. People often say it was as if they were asleep or walking around in a sort of dream-like state (and often it is not a good dream!) before they came, and then they “wake up”. They experience something that is undeniably true, good and beautiful and it changes them, from the inside out.
We can read about truth, love, and new and grand concepts and ideas in books and listen to it in classroom lectures, but all that doesn’t really “stick” unless we actually experience what these books and lectures are talking about.
And we experience it most easily by going somewhere new, by s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g into a new way of being, which is generally uncomfortable and even scary sometimes. At our COB workshops we create enough holding, encouragement and safety so that this stretching into those places that scare us can actually happen.
See below for suggestions on how you can stretch into new experiences, try something different, get out of your comfort zone, and open to living yourself into a new way of thinking in your daily life.
Experience the “New” and “Other” Practice
Here are a few Richard Rohr suggestions to explore:
- Change your usual routine by shopping in a different grocery store, taking a different route home, visiting another temple, meditation hall or church, walking in a new park.
- Volunteer somewhere you frequent or somewhere you’ve never been–a library, food bank, animal shelter, and thrift store.
- Try a new physical activity such as tai chi, juggling, skateboarding, salsa dancing or even walking backward.
- Ask a stranger you meet-while waiting in line, at a stoplight-to share their story, to talk about what matters most to them, to name their deepest needs and desires. Really listen. Then share what you learned with someone you know.
Please note: A consistent contemplative practice can help you stay open and receptive during “adventures” into the unfamiliar, as well as during periods of ordinariness.
If you would like help starting or deepening a daily spiritual practice, consider doing our “Spirituality in Action” online program.