Streams of Consciousness


This week, my new boss kindly put me on to Richard Rohr’s blog entitled ‘Streams of Consciousness’, in which the latter observes that most of us live our lives with a “steady stream of consciousness” and that this governs how we think and what we do. He opines that we don’t have ideas or feelings but rather ideas and feelings often have us. For Rohr, emancipation is possible. He says:

“With every idea or image that comes into our head, we have the opportunity to say, “No, I’m not that; I don’t need that; that’s not me.” This frees you to intentionally choose your divine identity instead… But you must not attack, hate, or condemn any idea or thought; that would merely be your perfectionistic ego trying to “win.” This is basic training in nonviolence. You must not hate your soul. The point is to recognize thoughts and feelings and to say, “That’s not necessary; I don’t need that.” But do it very amiably. If we learn to handle our own souls tenderly and lovingly, then we’ll be able to carry this same loving wisdom into our other relationships. A thousand seeming “distractions” are now a thousand opportunities to choose God instead.”

Rohr, 2017

I love this. Life changing stuff and great antidote to what’s been going on the world lately. I particularly like the idea that we can cultivate the ability to say no to pre-conditioned thoughts and ideas through prayer and meditation. In my view, we could add ‘taken for granted assumptions’ to Rohr’s list (i.e., ideas or feelings). In my experience, the ability to transcend our day-to-day lived experiences to see what kind of social world/s we are making through our taken-for-granted assumptions normally happens through reflexive conversations. I’m interested, intrigued and want to learn more about how reflexivity about the consequential effects of our streams of consciousness on self and others can be cultivated spiritually.

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