This process can be brutal, but it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise the “I” that I am cannot separate from its identification with its own thoughts and feelings. Most people become their thoughts. They do not have thoughts and feelings; the thoughts and feelings have them. It is what the ancients called “being possessed” by a demon. So we start with wiping the mirror until we can see what is objectively there. But let’s go further than that: wiping the mirror until even the eye that is watching the mirror is not taken too seriously. The watcher can become self-preoccupied, which only distorts things further. So we have to observe, but also not let the observer become an accusing tyrant. If we get past that temptation, we no longer ask questions about whether we’re doing it right. We stop pestering our soul with questions like “Am I pure?” “Am I holy?” “Am I good?” “Is my technique proper?” They all fall away. It starts with mirror-wiping. It starts with doing the discipline faithfully. When the veil parts and we see love, the self-conscious watcher, preoccupied with doing it right, just forgets the self (Mark 10:18). After worrying that I don’t know about myself, a lovely question then arises. Who cares? My watching and judging don’t change what is, but often become a concern with watching and judging itself. Prayer, however, is not finally self-observation but rather to “fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).
Richard Rohr Everthing Belongs
None of us are completely present.
So don’t feel guilty.
This is the ideal, the enlightened moments that come now and then.
But we do know that when we are manipulating, changing, controlling, and fixing, we are not there yet.
The calculating mind is the opposite of the contemplative mine.
The first is thought by the system, the second by the spirit.
Richard Roher–Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer