Richard Rohr continued in his address introducing the spirituality that underlies his understanding of Trinity:
The ego always looks from a point of personal advantage. What is in this for me?
All world religions have discovered that we do not see very well. So religion’s function is to try to help us see more clearly.
When Paul instructs us to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17), he cannot have meant to talk all the time. This kind of prayer is an entire life stance which emerges when you see you are not doing it.
There are two ways the mind captures reality:
- velcro mind – fearful, negative, anxious, angry, and grasping. This mind wraps itself around obsessions like velcro
- teflon mind – there’s no problem. The Bible begins with Genesis 1 where all is good; there’s no problem. But theology usually starts with the problem in Genesis 3. When you start in the pit you stay with the problem.
We need to start with original innocence before we were wounded.
The dualistic mind operates in the binary division which gives a false sense of confidence in our position. In this dualistic mind we wrap ourselves tightly around our side of the equation or argument so that all that is left is shouting louder and telling bigger lies.
The Trinity was made to order to defeat the dualistic mind. Because we like to think oppositionally we shelved the Trinity. Everything became either/or so you have to choose sides.
The Trinity invites us into a water wheel of flow. It is an infinite act of pouring and emptying without end. It is inherent connection.
Don’t try to picture the Trinity as three separate flows. Picture a spinning whirling top of infinite perfect love, the soul implanted in everything. Everything is attracted to everything. Genesis 1:26, 27 – God planted this attraction of life towards life in everything. Everything is whirling with the same beauty.
13.7 billion years ago the inner radiance of God began to radiate outward into material manifestation (“the Big Bang”).
The Trinity is only known in the mystery of love as a subjective experience. We live in an alive universe. Social and mental illness emerge because we have been told we are all disconnected.
Soul = the word for deeper connection. The work of spirituality is to keep reminding the children of God that we are the children of God. When you don’t know your divine identity you create a culture of celebrity.
The contemplative mind relies upon the displacement of me. Someone has to pull the rug out from under my ego self. Only then will I start to live in the flow.
No one every told us God is self-emptying. They told us only that God is all-powerful. But if God is both self-emptying and self-giving, we have a different vision for life.
Richard ended this address reading the poem “This December Day” by the Irish poet Brendan Kennelly. Richard suggested that this poem could serve as an image of the Trinity:
Here in this room, this December day,
Listening to the year die on the warfields
And in the voices of children
Who laugh in the indecisive light
At the throes that but rehearse their own
I take the mystery of giving in my hands
And pass it on to you.
I give thanks
To the giver of images,
The reticent God who goes about his work
Determined to hold on to nothing
Embarrassed at the prospect of possession
He distributes leaves to the wind
And lets them pitch and leap like boys capering out of their skin.
Pictures are thrown behind hedges,
Poems skitter backwards over cliffs,
There is a loaf of bread on Derek’s threshold
And we will never know who put it there.
For such things
And bearing in mind
The midnight hurt, the shot bride,
The famine in the heart,
The demented soldier, the terrified cities
Rising out of their own rubble,
I give thanks.
I listen to the sound of doors
Opening and closing in the street,
Such striving towards emptiness.
Thinking, however, of the intrepid skeleton,
The feared definition,
I grasp a little of the giving.
And hold it close as my own flesh.
It is this little
That I give to you.
And now I want to walk out and witness
The shadow of some ungraspable sweetness
Passing over the immeasurable squalor of man.