Richard Rohr Meditation: The Source of Action

The effectiveness of action depends on the source from which it springs. If it is coming out of the false self with its shadow side, it is severely limited. If it is coming out of a person who is immersed in God, it is extremely effective. The contemplative state, like the vocation of Our Lady, brings Christ into the world. —Thomas Keating [1]

.. I founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in 1987 because I saw a deep need for the integration of both action and contemplation. Over the years, I met many social activists who were doing excellent social analysis and advocating for crucial justice issues, but they were not working from an energy of love. They were still living out of their false self with the need to win, the need to look good—attached to a superior, politically correct self-image.

They might have the answer, but they are not themselves the answer. In fact, they are often part of the problem. That’s one reason that most revolutions fail and too many reformers self-destruct from within. For that very reason, I believe, Jesus and great spiritual teachers first emphasize transformation of consciousness and soul. Without inner transformation, there is no grounded or lasting reform or revolution. When subjugated people rise to power, they often become as dominating as their oppressors because the same demon of power hasn’t been exorcised in them.

We are easily allured by the next new thing, a new agenda that looks like enlightenment. And then we discover it’s run by unenlightened people who, in fact, love themselves first of all but do not love God or others. They do not really love the Big Truth, but they often love control. Too often, they do not love freedom for everybody but just freedom for their own ideas.

Untransformed liberals often lack the ability to sacrifice the self or create foundations that last. They can’t let go of their own need for change and cannot stand still in a patient, compassionate, and humble way. It is no surprise that Jesus prayed not just for fruit, but “fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Untransformed conservatives, on the other hand, tend to idolize anything that lasts, but then avoid the question, “Is it actually bearing any fruit?” This is the perennial battle between idealism and pragmatism, or romanticism and rationalism.

If we are going to have truly prophetic people who go beyond the categories of liberal and conservative, we have to teach them some way to integrate their needed activism with a truly contemplative mind and heart. I’m convinced that once you learn how to look out at life from the contemplative eyes of the True Self, your politics and economics are going to change on their own. I don’t need to teach you what your politics should or shouldn’t be. Once you see things contemplatively, you’ll begin to seek the bias from the bottom instead of the top, you’ll be free to embrace your shadow, and you can live at peace with those who are different. From a contemplative stance, you’ll know what action is yours to do—and what is not yours to do—almost naturally.

The Angst of Endangered CEOs: ‘How Much Time Do I Have?’

a common lesson this year: The pay is great, but job security has rarely been shakier.

chief executive churn reflects a broader reality for the country’s business elite: An array of challenges—from

  • increasing impatience on Wall Street and in boardrooms to
  • a corporate landscape rapidly transformed by new technologies and rival upstarts

—have made the top job tougher and more precarious than just a few years ago

.. The typical CEO of a major company a decade ago resembled a ship captain “who could rally a group of people with a lot of process and procedures,” said Deborah Rubin, a senior partner at RHR International, a leadership-development firm. “Today’s CEO has to be much more like a race car driver,” she added. “You have to do the sharp maneuvers.”

.. Flush with more cash than ever, activist investors are pursuing bigger corporate prey.

.. Even GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s disclosure that he would depart this summer came amid brewing tensions with activist investor Nelson Peltz

.. Mr. Peltz’s Trian Fund Management LP had recently stepped up pressure on GE to cut costs more aggressively and boost profits, setting off speculation about when the longtime CEO might leave.

.. Growing shareholder clamor for quick results comes as new technologies are upending entire industries. If you run a retailer, for instance, “you are watching your whole market go away in just a matter of years,”

.. Likewise, Ford’s ouster of Mark Fields after less than three years in its highest job was the starkest sign yet of how tech players such as electric-car maker Tesla Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous-car unit, Waymo, threaten the traditional auto sector.