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Humans make hard and impossible the very things we most want (see Romans 7:14-25). Such contrariness must be the meaning of any original wound or “sin.” Mean-spiritedness and hate appear to be helpful to and needed by most people, believe it or not. Negativity unites most people far more quickly than love. The ego moves forward by contraction, self-protection, and refusal, by saying no. The soul, however, does not proceed by contraction but by expansion. It moves forward not by exclusion, but by inclusion and by saying yes.

Jesus came to reveal and resolve this central and essential problem. I consider it the very meaning of the Risen Christ. There is really no other way to save us from ourselves, and from each other, until we are saved from our need to fear and hate.

Conscious love is the totally enlightened, and often entirely nonsensical way out of this universal pattern. Love has to be worked toward, received, and enjoyed, first of all, by facing our preference for fear and hate. But remember, we gather around the negative space quickly, while we “fall into” love rather slowly, and only with lots of practice at falling.

This is what Jesus did: he hung on the cross and did not return the negative energy directed at him. He held it inside and made it into something much better. That is how he “took away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He refused to pass it on! He absorbs evil until it becomes resurrection! That’s how Jesus takes away the sin of the world. And this is exactly what contemplative practice helps us to do. Meditation is refusing to project our anxieties elsewhere, and learning to hold and face them within ourselves and within God.

Adapted from Richrd Rohr’s Dancing Standing Still:Healing the World from a Place of Prayer ,
pp. 66-70, 77-80