This post is part of a series titled Choosing Authenticity: A Prayer of My Own. It is Part 9/9 of Reflection IV: of that series titled Listening Obedience | Attention Is Everything.
A Prayer of Our Own
Attention Is Everything
Richard’s Rule of Life
Richard’s Personal Mission Statement
I aspire to live a holy life.
I aspire to live that holy life in the midst of my daily activities as an individual, a husband, a father, grandfather, and as a citizen in this world as it is, and as it will become.
I aspire to be in constant awareness of the Mysterious Divine Center I call God; in myself; in each person, each event, and each thing that makes up my life, whether it appears to be good or evil.
I aspire to participate in the holy life with these people, events, and things based on the directives and guidance that flows out of constant awareness of the Mysterious Divine Center.
In light of that divine guidance I aspire to give shape and form to my life and world in a way that will bring an ever increasing consonance, wholeness, and holiness to my own life and that of those I touch.
In the pursuit of this holy life I aspire to challenge myself and others, but also to respect their freedom while being true to my own life call.
I want to be this person! In the very depths of my soul I long to be this person! This mission statement is in my previous book, Choosing Authenticity: Religion Is Not Enough, which was published back in 2011, and it actually predates that time. It is still valid for me today. It is still a good description of the person I feel called to be. I know that I can never fully be that person, but I can move in that direction. Longing for it, striving for it, reaching for that vision gives my life its meaning. Seeing the “just perceptual difference” as I grow toward that goal motivates me to continue on this often difficult journey. This vision calls to me in the midst of all of my other activities, in the midst of happiness and joy, pain and suffering, anger and violence, and it permeates my thoughts and reflections. The vision is the very essence of who I am as a person.
In order for me to continue to move toward becoming that person I need to make specific commitments and hold myself accountable for those commitments. I need to write those commitments down. I need to take the results of my discernment practice and write them down into what is often referred to in the spiritual literature as a“Rule of Life”. I realize that it is impractical to think that I can, or even should, do all of this all of the time, but I am committed to striving to moving in that direction. I am also committed to paying attention of what works and what does not work and making reasonable adjustments as necessary.
My Practice: I am committed to maintaining a regular spiritual practice.
(1) I am committed to one complete time apart every day as early in the morning as practical to include reading three psalms out loud (3, 51, & 95), reading a section from Preferring Christ, and a twenty minute silent contemplation.
(2) I am committed to a twenty minute silent contemplation sometime in the middle of the day.
(3) I am committed to a daily practice with Winnie in the evening to include at least Centering, Reading, Meditation, and a twenty minute silent contemplation.
(4) I am committed to taking some silent time, without any other practice, sometime each day.
(5) I am committed to reviewing one section of this Rule regularly as part of my practice.
Self Presence: I am committed to paying attention to the way I am present in the events of my day.
(1) Specifically I am committed to monitoring my compulsive thoughts, emotions, and impulses and to letting go of those thoughts, emotions, and impulses when appropriate.
(2) As a part of that I am committed to monitoring my speech to include both the content of that speech and the tone and delivery.
(3) When I am unable to do that I am committed to withdrawing from the event and taking time apart until I can.
My Presence: I am committed to being fully present in the events of my day. I will strive to be “that man” as described by Henri Nouwen or as I have come to call him “Abbot Richard”.
Who is this man? He is a person who has a great deal of attracting power for those around him. Those who meet him are fascinated by him and want to know more about him. All he comes in contact with get the irresistible impression that he derives his strength from a hidden source which is strong and rich. An inner freedom flows out from him, giving him an independence which is neither haughty nor aloof, but which enables him to stand above immediate needs and most pressing necessities. He is moved by what happens around him, but he doesn’t let it oppress or shatter him. He listens attentively, speaks with a self-possessed authority, but doesn’t easily get rushed or excited. In everything he says and does, he seems to have a lively vision before him which those who hear him can intimate, but cannot see. This vision leads his life. He is obedient to it. Through it he knows how to distinguish between what is important and what is not. Many things which seem of gripping immediacy hardly stir him, and he attaches great importance to some things which others simply let pass.*
My Family: I am committed to supporting my family and to deepening my relationship with each person. Specifically I am committed to:
(1) Spending time with each of them on a regular basis.
(2) Participating in family events enthusiastically while taking care of my need for quiet and solitude.
(3) Engaging is discussion and speaking my truth in an appropriate manner when I sense that I am called to do so even when my “truth” conflicts with others.
(4) Offering guidance and wisdom in an appropriate manner even or maybe especially when it is difficult or not received well.
Church: I am committed to maintaining my relationship with Walnut Grove Baptist Church for the foreseeable future. Specifically I am committed to:
(1) Attending Sunday School and Church with my family one some Sundays.
(2) Staying home on those days when my need for quiet and solitude is particularly strong. I will do that without guilt and without apologizing for my decision.
(3) Engaging in discussion and speaking my truth in an appropriate manner when I sense that I am called to do so even when my “truth” conflicts with others.
(4) Being open to opportunities to speak, teach, or serve in ways that are consistent with my ministry goals and objectives.
My Ministry: I am committed to sharing my experience and knowledge of spiritual formation and the contemplative lifestyle with others.. Specifically I am committed to:
(1) Finishing and publishing my second book, tentatively titled Choosing Authenticity: A Prayer Of Our Own.
(2) Maintaining my blog Turning Around,
(3) Considering the place of both in person and online teaching and speaking in my ministry.
(4) Developing and implementing a marketing plan, including specific goals and objectives, to include my first book titled Choosing Authenticity: Religion Is Not Enough, my second book tentatively titled Choosing Authenticity: A Prayer Of Our Own, and my blog Turning Around.
(Written in June 2017)
* Nouwen, Henri J. M., With Open Hands. (Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1972), p. 132.
If you liked this post, check out the other posts in this series:
Listening Obedience: Attention Is Everything View…
Developing Attention View…
The Power of Focused Attention
Developing Openness View…
Attention To Our Speech View…
The Discipline of Restraint of Speech
Developing Apatheia View
Attention To Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Impulses
Attention To Our Sacred Inner Being
Developing A Way of Life View
A Guide To Live By
Richard’s Rule of Life (This Post)
Conversion of Heart
Saying Our Prayers Is Not Enough