Doing. Am I only doing or am I being?

By Terry Shea

August 29, 2017

Centre for Spiritual Living White Rock

Posted In: Spiritual Wellness, White Rock


This week we complete the intro to the 3C’s, our Circles of Care and Connection, with the lecture entitled “Am I Only Doing?”

There is a reason why the activity of the circles flows the way it does. The group begins with the “love” activity which really is simply an exercise to encourage the members to share a little bit of who they are. The activity is designed to make you feel a little vulnerable and to open you up to trusting the members of the Circle. The next activities, Learning and Deciding, are really core to what we teach at CSL. It consists in presenting a Spiritual Principle and then inviting the members to consider an activity that might exemplify that Principle in practice. As Dr. Holmes said, it is too easy for someone new to these principles to engage in too much theory and too little practice. If you are attending a CSL Centre and the same stubborn issues exist in your life with no movement, then you may not be getting the best that is available to you through this philosophy; maybe because of too much “Oh yeah, I know that!” and not enough “so IF I know that, why am I still broke, lonely, depressed etc?”

It’s funny how we heard: Change your thinking, change your life and interpreted that as some kind of imperative, rather than what it is, a simple statement of what is true. If you change your thinking your life will change. The obverse is also true. If your life hasn’t changed, then I guess you haven’t changed your thinking as much as you think!

One of my personal heroes Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM deemed that this order of openness, vulnerability and learning was so important that he founded a school called the Centre for Action and Contemplation whose mission is to be …
“A center for experiential education, rooted in the Gospels, encouraging the transformation of human consciousness through contemplation, and equipping people to be instruments of peaceful change in the world.”

There is plenty of evidence out there for change that is not rooted in a contemplation whose objective is a new reformation—from the inside…
• Confirming people’s deeper spiritual intuitions.
• Encouraging actions of justice rooted in prayer.
with a new appreciation for, and cooperation with, other denominations, religions, and cultures.

So much of the obsessive doing in the world is rooted in ego, an ego that prompts us to employ “the ready, fire and then aim method” rather than the more familiar order. Action that is not rooted in the deep change within the individual moving into action is doomed to failure. There is too much evidence out there for peace initiatives, social change and “do gooder” acts of kindness that are not centred in compassion, but rather in sympathy or pity. Look for the innovative and daring plans like the one at St James Anglican Church on the Lower Eastside where clean socks and new shoes are given to the homeless, but ONLY after the volunteers have, in the tradition of Jesus, washed those feet. Or check in with CSL Bellingham where their Laundry Love Programme provides laundry services at a local laundromat once a week for those experiencing homelessness. They believe that this program supports people by restoring a sense of dignity and pride, and providing a warm, human connection every week. This initiative came out of their 3C’s programme. It is not about attacking homelessness, making anyone wrong for the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, or even about getting the homeless off the streets. It is about restoring a sense of dignity and pride to whatever degree is possible.

I look forward to seeing what you all will come up with as our Circles get launched this fall. I am not against doing but I really encourage us to be about “being.” I trust that Spirit will know what to do at that point.

Questions for Rev Terry? Email him at revt@csl-whiterock.com