Today I started reading a book entitled The Naked Now by Richard Rohr. I originally planned on reading it because a group I belong to, the Commission of Women of the Diocese of Worcester, chose this book as the one they wished to study this year. A dear friend of mine, a deacon in the Catholic Church, had also highly recommended it.
Rohr aims to teach the reader to see as the mystics see.
I have long resisted the notion of being a mystic though this same friend insisted that I be open to the idea. The pragmatist in me, the one who is unimpressed with splashy theatrics and celebrity, would have nothing to do with it. I saw no connection between my earthly life and supposed “heavenly visions.” I mistakenly connected mysticism with crying statues; I wanted nothing to do with it.
However, the creative in me, now being regularly exercised with reading and study, began to speak up and say,
“Hold on a minute. Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye.”
And my inner self, also exercised daily with prayer and reflection, objected too.
The Naked Now is now affirming something I’ve been experiencing ever since I started all this exercising: this newfound ability to “read between the lines,” and it is growing exponentially.
Rohr spells out three ways to view the world through a simple example: how three people view a sunset. One simply enjoys the beauty, nothing more. A second enjoys the beauty and understands the science behind a sunset, giving him extra insight.
The third not only appreciates the beauty and perhaps the science, but also “tastes” the experience. His vision enables him to transcend the physical experience to something mystical.
Rohr calls this seeing with the “third eye.” And I knew exactly what he meant.
I experienced that kind of vision all summer long in my lunchtime walks through the woods, past streams and alongside the lake at Wellesley College. Some of these experiences were quite intense, most especially my kayak trip on Lake Waban.
And I had noticed this vision even before the summer.
Reading the Bible had always been a difficult and dry experience. I simply could not understand what it was trying to tell me. However, last year I began to experience a strange sensation while reading: my mind and my heart would be literally flooded with ideas and insights. It was thrilling and a little scary. It was like God was chattering at me!
I don’t remember when I began acquiring this “third eye” but I am guessing it is connected to a few newer habits in my life: challenging reading, journaling and blogging, and set times for prayer. (This blog is a result of those new habits.)
I allowed myself to be carried in the flow of God’s will, just like my kayak floats down river. I went with the flow and without realizing it, accepted an invitation from God to go deeper with my faith.
I didn’t really know what was happening but had a sense that it was better to just “go with it” rather than to question.
And now, I have a book that will explain what’s been happening.
And the best part is, you can experience this too.
Everyone is called to be a mystic. It’s what Jesus intended. It was not just for those saints we see commemorated in statues and prayer cards.
Jesus means for each of us to experience this “third eye,” a direct result of a close, intimate relationship with Him.
The closer we get, the better we see.
And that’s when life really starts to take off. Surrounded by and immersed fully in this Divine love, we can experience what Henri Nouwen wrote in that post I highlighted the other day, “It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realisation of the unity of all that is, created and uncreated.”
We can Be As One.
You can find The Naked Now on Amazon. Treat yourself, and then tell me what you think!
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