In his address to the Renaissance 2021 Spiritual Directors’ Conference, which should be viewed in its entirety here: Richard Rohr suggests that the wisdom path involves holding the tension of dualism and non-duality.

It is only by resisting the demand to “choose sides and accuse or blame the other side” that we can hold duality and nonduality at the same time.  Rohr argues that in this way evil will  be

exposed, named and held accountable.

This strategy alone will make it possible

to carry all the ambiguity of human history.

And, make no mistake, all history is deeply and profoundly ambiguous, because history is the product of human beings and we are all deeply and profoundly ambiguous. There are few if any unadulterated heroes. The entire human story is besmirched with the grime of human selfishness and ego. No one is entirely pure. We all carry a shadow side out of which we are doomed to act so long as we fail to acknowledge its reality.

Rohr articulates powerfully the true nature and depth of this struggle saying,

This leaves me feeling a bit powerless, a bit empty. I don’t know what perfect truth is here.  If you are only practiced with having certitudes about everything, you won’t stay here long.

To live in this painful awkward space requires faithful disciplined practice. Rohr recommends the practice of silent meditation as a path towards being able to open within oneself a place that is expansive enough to hold the reality of the conflicted world. He says,

In sitting we are practicing holding the place of emptiness, of nothingness, of non-certitude. And if you’re not practiced ahead of time, it’s very hard, almost impossible, to do your homework at the last minute. I do not have the full assurance of righteousness. But that is what the ego wants. I want to be right.

In sitting silently in the emptiness of stillness, we begin to experience the possibility that there is another order at work in the affairs of humankind. This other order is deeper and more real than the surface chaos and suffering that plague so much of life on this horizontal plane. Rohr promises,

The Divine order is big enough to include disorder. It is never ours to create alone. That is what makes us righteous. We think, “I have created order by correcting your language or correcting your position. I stand on a high pedestal now.”

He concludes saying,

We go through the disorder and, in the end, forgive everything, forgive reality. We don’t stay in disorder which is the temptation of the liberal-minded or post-modern kind of people. But also not to stay in an initially designed kind of order which is the temptation of more conservative people. But to limit both of those together in a new re-ordering. I call that the wisdom pattern. Here all is mystery. And God alone is good. I don’t need to prove that I’m good, or I’m right, or I’m better, or I won. We stop framing reality as a win/lose context. It is what it is and I love it as it is, as God loves us, even in our clearly imperfect state.   

This feels to me to be a profoundly Christian statement and a hopeful and realistic vision. Rohr invites us to an inner reconciliation with reality as it is. It is in this place of inner peace that I discover the presence of compassion and love from which true justice can emerge.