Sometimes you hear things over and over again—or think you do—and then one day, you actually listen.
I don’t know how many times in the last two years I’ve encountered Richard Rohr’s advice to let and fall into God. It’s not so much that I’ve doubted the wisdom of the idea as that it’s sounded terribly unpleasant, somewhere between a colonoscopy and complete financial ruin.
Then a friend reframed it for me. While talking about visiting one of my favorite places, New Camaldoli Hermitage, he said, “I can’t wait to be there and fall into the place.” Now that is a falling I can embrace—a falling into peace and silence, into the invisible care and attention with which the monks hold each of their visitors.
If a bunch of humans can offer such a welcoming landing, God might be capable of at least matching them.
My friend went on to say something brilliant: “That’s probably the attitude I should have in every moment, including this one!” I have probably heard this before, too, but something about seeing retreat time and right now compared in that way flipped a switch. It became clear to me that we have the choice to enter rather than control the experience of each one.
I tried it—only for a few seconds mind you—and it was a radical shift of being. Instead of trying to cram the moment into the shape I imagined it ought to be—a trapezoid perhaps—I entered into it with trust, like in those group bonding games where you fall backward and let people catch you. And they do. And it did. Existence opened up into the unfolding that is actually always happening. Nothing was different from the moment before; I was just paying some attention to what is instead of what is inside my head.
Then I started thinking about how extraordinary the experience was, and it ended. I’ve tried to return to that radical shift, and unsurprisingly, it hasn’t happened. But I’ll keep practicing.