Daily Meditations

Resting in God

The final word for mysticism, after the optimistic explosion that we usually call hope and the ensuing sense of safety, is an experience of deep rest. It’s the verb I’m told that is most used by the mystics: “resting in God.” All this striving and this need to perform, climb, and achieve becomes, on some very real level, unnecessary. It’s already here, now. I can stop all this overproduction and over-proving of myself. That’s Western and American culture. It’s not the Gospel at all.

Many of us have imbibed the culture of unrest so deeply. What got me into men’s work is that I found that males are especially driven in that direction. We males just cannot believe that we could be respected, admired, received or loved without some level of performance. So many of us are performers and overachievers to some degree, and we think “when we do that” we will finally be lovable. Even when we “achieve” a good day of “performing,” it will never be enough, because it is inherently self-advancing and therefore self-defeating. We might call it “spiritual capitalism.”

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate: Seeing God in All Things (CD)


Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist who was a major contributor to quantum physics and nuclear fission, said the universe is “not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think.” Our supposed logic has to break down before we can comprehend the nature of the universe and the bare beginnings of the nature of God.

I think the doctrine of the Trinity is saying the same thing. There is something that can only be known experientially, and that is why we teach contemplative prayer and quiet. Of all the religious rituals and practices I know of, nothing will lead us to that place of nakedness and vulnerability more than forms of solitude and silence, where our ego identity falls away, where our explanations don’t mean anything, where our superiority doesn’t matter and we have to sit there in our naked “who-ness.” If God wants to get through to us, and the Trinity experience wants to come alive in us, that’s when God has the best chance. God is not only stranger than we think, but stranger than the logical mind can think. Perhaps much of the weakness of the first 2000 years of reflection on the Trinity, and many of our doctrines and dogmas, is that we’ve tried to do it with a logical mind instead of with prayer.

~Taken from Richard Rohr, The Shape of God: Deepening the Mystery of the Trinity (CD)


At times we have to step into God’s silence and wait. We have to put out the fleece as Gideon did (Judges 6:37-40), and wait for the descent of the divine dew, or some kind of confirmation from God. That is a good way to keep our own ego drive out of the way.

There are other times when we need to go ahead and act on our own best intuitions and presume that God is guiding us–but even then we must wait for the divine backup. Sometimes that is even the greater act of faith and courage.

When either waiting or moving forward is done out of a spirit of union and surrender, we can trust that God will make good out of it—even if we are mistaken! It is not about being correct; it is about being connected.

~Adapted from Richard Rohr, Contemplation in Action