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JUNETEENTH-5: First Examine the Shadows in our own Hearts and Minds...OR, “Don’t just DO something..

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

Links to the other 4 Juneteenth posts are at the end.

"Don't just DO something...SIT there..."

For over 40 years, Franciscan Richard Rohr has provided my family and some of our friends with new and deeper ways of seeing...EVERYTHING!!! ...New ways of experiencing the riches in the Christian tradition in which I was raised and also introducing us to the contemplative treasures in the other spiritual traditions. We’ve been richly blessed!!!

Richard’s spiritual father, Francis of Assisi, renounced his life of privilege to live among and care for the poor and forgotten members of the society of his day.

Rx: I’ve called Richard's Daily Meditations my “daily MEDICATIONS...”

Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM


Week Twenty-Four Theme: Shadow Work - Summary and Practice

Sunday, June 13—Friday, June 18, 2021

(each day is a link to the full-strength meditation)

Sunday The movement to second-half-of-life wisdom has much to do with necessary shadow work and the emergence of healthy self-critical thinking, which alone allows you to see beyond your own shadow and disguise and to find who you are “hidden with Christ in God,” as Paul puts it (Colossians 3:3).

Monday Usually everybody else can see our shadow, so it is crucial that we learn what everybody else knows about usexcept us!

Tuesday Western civilization has failed to learn how to carry the shadow side. It is much easier to see things as all-good or all-bad, rather than both crucified and resurrected at the same time, as Christ is.

Wednesday God embraces you as you are—shadow and light, everything. God embraces it, by grace. —Brother David Steindl-Rast

Thursday Usually sometime around midlife, we come to a point where we’ve seen enough of our own tricks and we come to feel that my shadow self is who I am. We face ourselves in our raw, unvarnished and uncivilized state.

Friday When we try to live up to the impossible image of a spiritually enlightened, knowledgeable, selfless, patient, forgiving, easy-going, supportive, generous superhuman, the dark side of our nature just gains in power. —Toko-pa Turner

Deep Mercy

Over the last few years in the United States, we (especially those of us who are white) have been asked to examine the collective shadow of racism that has been a part of our nation since its founding. We wrestled with it during the Civil War and again during the civil rights era, but, as we do with so much shadow material, we allowed it to go “underground” and remain there. Part of the reason we do this is because it is so painful to face our shadow and all the destruction we have caused by ignoring it. As Zen Buddhist teacher Larry Ward writes, shadow work requires us to hold the tension of placing our collective shadow within a deeper well of mercy:

The bridge of mercy lies deep within us and among us, however well it is hidden by clouds of conflict, cruelty, and hatred. . . . [But] it seems that as a culture we take great pride in our capacity to be unmerciful. . . .

Look at the prison system in America if you want an example of our collective fragmentation: the United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with 2.3 million people in prison, and of those people, one-third are people of color. This could not happen in a society of merciful people guided by justice and integrity. . . .

We need the experience of what I call deep mercy. Mercy lies in our mindful actions of thinking, speech, and behaviors toward ourselves and one another. We may not seem as if we are capable of collective deep mercy, as expressed in acts that restore a sense of shared humanity with one another. Yet these acts of mercy are not absent; in fact, they are the invisible web that sustains living connection and progress in human history. We have survived as a species by crossing its bridge again and again. . . .

Mercy’s bridge is kept alive by the energies of deep justice flowing back and forth, the truth of suffering beyond the constrictions of the law. It is the justice of our precious bodies being respected and loved concretely as divinely human.

I invite you to spend some time today contemplating a personal or collective shadow, perhaps even journaling about it or speaking with a trusted friend. Accessing the “deep mercy” that Ward describes only comes about when we have allowed our shadow to come to the surface, faced it fully, and chosen a path of healing and justice for all people.

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound (0:59).

Reference: Larry Ward, America’s Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal (Parallax Press: 2020), 95, 96–97.

For more information, to sign up to receive his Daily Meditations, or to listen to podcasts, visit the Center for Action and Contemplation’s Albuquerque, NM hermitage and center. In 2016, I visited there with our son John as part of what I called “a father-son pilgrimage.” While there, we participated in their 2016 Conspire Conference.


There were so many songs that would carry the energy of Richard's words...but, I chose to use only the first one that came to mind...from one of my favorite mindful soul travelers.

--in the first 6 minutes, Trevor shares a personal story of the song's origins and then a later experience of its meaning in his own life. Powerful encouragement to trust Spirit.


I thought I was finished...and, instead was led by my Spirit-Muse a Sufi wisdom teacher - Imam Jamal Rahman - that I recently encountered in a Shift Network course on the mystics, hosted by a colleague of Richard's - interspiritual teacher Mirabai Starr. Imam Jamal is a delight to sit with, as he dispenses his timeless wisdom with ample doses of joy and laughter. His reflections fit in perfectly with Richard's and Trevor's experiences.

"A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, medicine go down..."

Gratitude in Times of Suffering - Imam Jamal Rahman (2-minute read, lifetime of digestion)

--In the Shift Network course, he invited us not to run TO suffering, but, also not to run away FROM it too quickly when it arrives on our doorstep...until it teaches us what it was sent for...

CAUTION: May cause uncontrollable smiling or giggling...


COME share your talents with us! Join the Poor People’s Campaign Movement...

...on this page click your state name then follow the links (email and website) and fill in the “Join the Campaign!” form to get connected.



Date: Mon. June 21 @ 5:30 pm ET Online and live in Raleigh, NC

--use site for more info, signing up and supporting our Campaign

Links to Related Posts

History of the new Federal holiday plus info on the Poor People's Campaign and it's comprehensive strategy for ending systemic injustices like poverty, racism, lack of adequate housing and healthcare, militarism and the war economy and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. JOIN ME!!!

Using music, poetry and image, we reflect on this historic juncture in our nation's history, as the Poor People's Campaign has just launched a strategic plan to rebuild our nation - from the bottom up! Join us!!!

Using mindful music and images, we consider the necessity of balancing our actions for social justice with periods of rest and refreshment – mountaintop experiences to sustain us for our times in the valleys...

All about the power of musicians to tell us stories to both trouble our souls into ACTION and then provide the soundtrack for them...


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