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The Second Gaze by Richard Rohr

The Second Gaze by Richard Rohr

My immediate response to most situations is with reactions of attachment, defensiveness, judgment, control and analysis. I am better at calculating than contemplating. Let's admit that we all start there. The false self seems to have the 'first gaze' at almost everything. On my better days, when I am open, undefended and immediately present, I can sometimes begin with a contemplative mind and heart. Often I can get there later and even end there, but it is usually a second gaze. It is an hour by hour battle, at least for me. I can see why all spiritual traditions insist on daily prayer---in fact, morning, midday, evening, and before we go to bed prayer, too! Otherwise, I can assume that I am back in the cruise control of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile "richard" self. The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: "How will this affect me?" or "How does my self-image demand that I react to this?" or "How can I get back in control of this situation?" This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. Only after God has taught us how to live 'undefended' can we immediately stand with and for the other and for the moment. It takes lots of practice....

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