Minute Meditations

Seeing the Big Picture

trees and fog | Photo by Thomas Griesbeck on Unsplash

Inside of silence—especially extended silence—we see that things find their true order and meaning somewhat naturally. When things find their true order, we know what is important, what lasts, what is real, and what Jesus would call the Kingdom or Reign of God—in other words, the big stuff. All the rest is passing. All those things you were emotional about last Wednesday that you cannot even remember are what the Buddhists rightly call emptiness. They have no lasting substance. In that sense, they are not real.

Yet we give our lives for emotions that are over and gone by next week. We wrap our egos around them and give them a weight and importance they do not deserve. Feelings are inherently self-referential: they help us know ourselves but also keep us in our own little world if we take them too seriously or attach to them. Feelings are, first of all, always about “me,” which give us good self-knowledge but also trap us in ourselves if we do not use them to go further.

My metaphor for Jesus’ Reign of God is simply the Big Picture. In the Big Picture, what matters? When you are on your deathbed, what will matter? Will you be thinking about what you are thinking about now? Will you be arguing about what you are arguing about now? To pull back from the tug of emotion and the ego that wants to be right, wants to win, wants to put the other down, and wants to humiliate the enemy is the very heart of spiritual warfare. This is where we need to put our energy first.

—from the book Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation 
by Richard Rohr, OFM

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2 thoughts on “Seeing the Big Picture”

  1. This reflection can help us live better. When angered, in dire need of something or feeling misunderstood; we should match that situation against the big picture (which for me is when on my death bed) then decide how to react. Thank you for this insight. God bless

  2. Mike Reininger

    I think feelings are a good thing if they are properly aligned with the right mental outlook. Wasn’t it the ancient Greeks who said we humans are composed of three things, namely: emotions, intellect, and character?

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