Monday, December 28, 2009

Beginner's Mind, from Richard Rohr, OFM

This essay came in an daily email I get from Richard Rohr. I read it over and over. First I saw faces of a few people I know who live in absolute certainty yet I consider to be pretty ignorant. Then I wondered, "Ooh, who says that about me?" May I consider things prayerfully, and not just go with my knee jerk reaction. I've done that before, and been badly burned. Like Fr. Rohr says, that's ego. Without opening oneself to further wisdom, that person operates at an infantile level. Ouch.

December 28
Feast of the Holy Innocents

Question of the Day:
How can I incorporate waiting for wisdom into my day?

Ignorance does not result from what we don’t know! Ignorance results from what we think we do know—but don’t! Most ignorant people are, in fact, quite certain. “Holy innocents” just don’t know. And what is so wrong about that?
Wisdom is not just knowledge (i.e. data, facts, information), but putting knowledge in larger frames, and frames where I and my groups are not the reference point. It’s connecting new information with other perspectives and goals than my own. Wisdom is the combination of momentary text and full context. Knowledge is about words and definitions. Wisdom includes what is written between, above, and below the lines.
Most people's first reaction is usually based on knowledge, data, and facts, but not necessarily on wisdom. Beginner’s mind is willing to wait and pray for the full picture. So it does have a lot to do with patience—it’s refusing to trust my knee-jerk reaction. The knee-jerk reaction is almost always ego. So you wait and you pray and you listen. And then you might have something wiser to say—something a little more truthful than my little story—or even more than our group story—something that might possibly approach The Story.

Adapted from Beginner’s Mind

Let each moment be a new beginning.


Leann said...

I can so relate to this. Thank you for reminding me to sit quietly and ponder what I think I know and how that might change when I truly do know.

I don't know how many times I've made snap decisions or judgments about people and then end up feeling like a fool because they were completely wrong.

Jan said...

Richard Rohr always tells things simply even though they are profound. Thanks.

dr. sheltie said...

I also get daily emails from Richard Rohr--and this particular thought was one I shared with our session. (That's Presbyterian-speak for board of elders.)

"Most ignorant people are, in fact, quite certain." True words of wisdom. How many problems do we get into (not to mention, our nation) by the lack of intellectual curiosity that accompanies a certain type of bone-headed certainty?