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The Naked Now
Embark on the path of spiritual awakening and live in the kingdom of God now!
The Naked Now
Learning to See as the Mystics See
Bestselling author Richard Rohr brings us back to the truths of Christian faith and shows us that non-dualistic thinking, awareness of the present, and release from ego can awaken our spirits and open us to joy, transformation, and enlightenment.
This exploration of the lost tradition of mystical Christianity plumbs the depths of the messages of Jesus, Paul, and the great contemplatives to help us become unified with our true selves.
Rohr offers anectdotes and illuminating examples to illustrate the vital importance of an undefended experience of connection with the divine. His guidance encourages us to move away from rigid models of knowing to a contemplative and awe-inspired understanding of reality.
This practical resource also provides specific methods for identifying dualistic thinking and simple practices for stripping away ego and the fear of dwelling in the present.
The stories, meditations, and exercises in this book will help you:
- Awaken your desire for God
- Free yourself from crippling fears
- Connect to the joy within
- Transform yourself and inspire others
- See as the mystics see
- Live in full awareness of the Naked Now
Reviews and endorsements
"Franciscan priest and spirituality author Rohr (Everything Belongs) again brings his energy to the reclamation of the Christian mystical tradition. He has a lot of scripture on his side, with many citations from the gospels and epistles. He also offers a distinctive definition of prayer as “a nondualistic way of seeing the moment.” To see as a mystic sees is to pray continually, as scripture enjoins. Some of his criticisms of institutional forms of religiosity as a barrier to seeing with insight are familiar. Yet his understanding of prayer as a tool for contemplation and transformation is forcefully argued. The somewhat theoretical re-reading of Catholic Christian tradition is brought down to earth by a series of appendixes that contain practices for those who want to know what to do; attaining insight is not self-evident nor is it easy. Rohr is enriched by other world religious traditions, but clearly knows his own. Those interested in contemplative Christianity, and particularly Catholics interested in their own tradition, will benefit from this book."
"'For 1,600 years, wisdom, paradox and mystery were essential parts of Christianity,' says Richard Rohr in his latest work, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.
But for the past few hundred years churches and church leaders have become more and more 'professional'— as has happened in Islam, Judaism and other religions—which has meant they have concentrated more on keeping order than anything else.
Recently, religions have tended to focus more on doctrinal conclusions than giving 'people a vision, process, and practices whereby they can legitimate those truth claims for themselves—by inner experience and actual practices.'
Rohr says the purpose of this book is not to change doctrine, but to help people open themselves up to the old knowledge that Christianity had before it became defensive of its doctrine in the wake of the Reformation and the Enlightenment.
The wisdom of the early church is still available, although often hidden, for those who want to seek it.
Essentially, it is a matter of reinvigorating the ancient wisdom by living in the 'naked now,' to be 'present'—i.e., aware of and responding—to one another and the entire universe.
In order to become present, we must learn to perceive beyond our prejudices and expectations. Rohr invites the reader 'to try on a new pair of glasses and to keep your lens clean . . . How you see is what you see. And to see rightly is to be able to be fully present—without fear, without bias, and without judgment.'
That requires metanoia, the Greek word used in the New Testament which is often translated as 'conversion' but which literally means transforming your mind, he says.
Devout people used to know how to make immediate, unmediated contact with the present moment, right where they were, and that is the clearest path to encountering God, Rohr says.
This path is through real prayer, which is not the kind of speeches some preachers make, or a way to manipulate God into granting favors, as if God were a magic lamp.
'As long as you think of prayer as merely "thinking holy thoughts" or even "meditating on pious images," you will normally remain in dualistic consciousness,' Rohr writes.
Dualistic thinking is the kind of thought which puts everything into categories—i.e. us vs. them, good and evil, black and white—but it is necessary to go beyond that kind of thinking in order to understand what Jesus had to say, Rohr says.
Dualistic thinking limits us to worrying about doctrine, rather than how we can transform our lives. If we can go beyond this kind of thinking, we can start to enjoy the Kingdom of God now, he says.
Unfortunately, churches have become focused on telling people what to know, rather than how to know, he said. Religion is kept on the level of a social contract which holds the culture together, but does not necessarily transform people at any deep level.
Monotheistic religions have fostered group order, consistency, organization and membership requirements while trying to hold everything together inside one rather clear explanation, Rohr says.
Living spirituality lost out, and Westerners are now seeking to fill their spiritual needs in other ways, whether in Eastern religion or support groups, conferences, books or do-it-yourself spirituality, he notes.
I have to say I have known too many faithful Christian ministers who have become disillusioned as they find themselves wrestling with church councils over trivial doctrinal matters, and with the church building fund as the center of many discussions. What Rohr says certainly fits their experiences, when they find themselves more as business managers than ministers of deep spiritual matters.
This book can seem a bit fragmented, because Rohr is trying to come at the idea of changing the way we think from several different directions. It is more for those who have never encountered the idea of contemplative prayer—kind of a primer—than for those who are already on that path, but it is well worth the time. Give it a try."
—Dan Barker, Fort Morgan Times
“The Naked Now is a deep breath of fresh air. Richard Rohr invited us, all of us, to slow down and to find God, or be found by God, in all the places we never thought to look.”
—Jim Wallis, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Awakening, President and CEO of Sojourners