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The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  2,907 ratings  ·  233 reviews
For Christians seeking a way of thinking outside of strict dualities, this guide explores methods for letting go of division and living in the present. Drawn from the Gospels, Jesus, Paul, and the great Christian contemplatives, this examination reveals how many of the hidden truths of Christianity have been misunderstood or lost and how to read them with the eyes of the m ...more
Paperback, 187 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Crossroad
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Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've become quite a bit more selective in the religious/spiritual books I read these days. So many seem agenda-driven and lopsided in the realities they present. This book though stands out from this muddled crowd. A gift from a good friend, The Naked Now is a profound read for anyone wanting to peel back the layers of veneer of religion, and dig into what I feel is one of the key aspects of reality. I really don't see this as a religious book (even though Rohr is an ordained priest), but as a v ...more
Christopher Kanas
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Not a word most of Christianity is comfortable with. Too scary, too deceptive, too New Age. We want our Christianity controllable. We want clear perimeters and boundaries and borders. Tell us what our responsibilities are, then God, just be out there, anywhere, managing, because we're much be comfortable as a manager above us than being so close that You actually are IN us.

Problem is, that's a religion and religion is not what Christ came to bring and act out of.

"Do you not know that y
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“Just learn how to see, and you will know whatever it is that you need to see”. Recently, I have encountered a new way of thinking. Of course, the IDEA of “enlightenment” I’ve heard before, but never has it been explained to me like this. It’s a concept of expanding consciousness, of moving beyond what we would refer to as intellectual thinking or simply incorporating the rational mind to examine the world according to your personal condition (environment, place of birth, life experiences, etc). ...more
Joe Henry
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
It seems like it took me forever and a day to read the 162 pages of the body of this book. Maybe I just wasn't ready for it, but it struck me as something like 50 ways to say that " dualistic" thinking is inadequate, if not bad. I did find some nuggets in the book, but it just seemed to me to be somewhat repetitive. At the same time, I didn't feel that the book had much structure that I could recognize. I may have been moving too slowly to see it.

I also subscribe to Richard Rohr's daily email br
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
Rohr holds nothing back in describing the importance of contemplation in a Christian's life:
"...Jesus' primary metaphor for this new consciousness was "the kingdom of God" He is not talking about a place, or an afterlife, but a way of seeing and thinking now. The kingdom of God is the naked now—the world without human kingdoms, ethnic communities, national boundaries, or social identification...

How different this is from our later notion of salvation, which pushed the entire issue into the futur
Rod White
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Richard Rohr can turn most subjects into a polemic, which is why I have always loved reading him, ever since the 90's when he was a guide to my radical lifestyle. So I liked this book. He makes contemplation something you need to practice or you are missing the mark. You either do it or you are immature. I think that is true, but to hear him say it the way he does males me defensive. The reason I would not recommend this book is the same reason I would not recommend David Benner's new book "Soul ...more
Jordan Kalt
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The sort of book I'm sure I would have to read again and again to fully appreciate. Probably best experienced as a sort of "devotional" or spiritual reference guide rather than a book you just plow through. If it changes how you "see" and how you interact with God, even slightly, then I think it's been worthwhile. My dualistic mind constantly bucked against the organization and style of writing. My fundamentalist background was repeatedly offended. And I was the better for it all by the end.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystical-prayer
Superb introduction to mysticism and mystical prayer, from an acknowledged practitioner.
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-list
My editor told me to read this. So I did. And...well, it was good. I can't decide if it changed my world or if it put words to things I had already sorta had in the back of my mind. It did make me want to read more of and about the mystics themselves--I expected to have some tangible examples from and of the mystics, but there weren't. Even so, I enjoyed this book and the perspective it gave me. I suspect it planted seeds within me that will continue to grow as I keep thinking about all it said.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Confession: I haven't enjoyed books about Jesus or spirituality for some time. They seem too concerned with what to believe or how to believe it. Not this book. Rohr wants to move beyond what we believe to how we see - the world, each other, ourselves. He wants to question everything we've learned and assumed about faith, not to win a debate but to broaden our understanding. Regardless of religious background, there's something here for every reader: how do we let go of knowing and embrace being ...more
Sam Torode
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reading this poolside, the title caught some eyes... Fantastic book.
Jonathan P. Connor
Get Naked!!!

Now that I have your attention, I mean:

Get this book.

Read this book.

Live this book.

Reading this book and living this book will free you from "either/or" thinking.

Get in your "Right mind" and grow closer to God.
This is the third Rohr book I've read to start 2017 and it was my least favorite. Its still great, thought provoking, driving me to deeper prayer and all around a good read, but I suspect I am just growing weary of Rohr. I suspect Rohr would say it is time to stop reading and start praying. Despite writing lots of books, Rohr at times questions those (like me) who read too much and don't pray enough. We can only learn so much about God, after all, from books before we need to learn from experien ...more
Hayley Chapman
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Rohr, being a Franciscan friar, is coming from the perspective of one in the church who acknowledges the imperfections of it's current state. Having noticeable wisdom on all things contemplation, it is evident that he wants to do all he can to share this wonderful knowledge.

In The Naked Now, Rohr challenges not only our perceptions on what it is to be a mystic, but challenges the contemporary Catholic Church, the Christian movement, what it means to have morals and values, and asks the reader t
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Carola by: america magazine
Shelves: spirituality
This book had been on my "to read" list for years, in part because it was not available in my local library. One day I decided to clean up my list, and either dumped books off the list or purchased used copies of them. "The Naked Now" did not live up to the reviews I read of it in America Magazine. Rohr wants Catholics to understand that many aspects of Eastern religions were previously a part of the Catholic tradition, and have been lost along the way. I found this book to be heavy on catch phr ...more
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-naked-now
I am slightly biased as Richard Rohr is a sort of guru for me. And I am a closet mystic you could say. This book gives so much food for thought and nudges toward letting go (of your own agenda, your own need to be central, and also all those feelings of inadequacy) and giving it up to God. Rohr also writes about how to "embrace" the suffering around you and in you, how to be a peacemaker, and living in the present moment. I read this book about a year ago, but it's on the "must read" shelf, alwa ...more
Marilyn Boretz
Oct 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
A reminder (1) to live in the present (2) to gently accept and gradually release dual thinking (the ego, the "monkey mind," the judging mind). A simply stated view of the stages of development along with practical suggestions for moving through them. At first, I was a bit put off by the continual references to scripture, but Rohr's perspective has encouraged me to approach Christianity with fresh eyes.
Jan 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
A confusing mix of new-age thought with Christian mysticism. I constantly found that Rohr would talk about how the Church doesn't have this or that practice of spirituality, then a few pages later give an example of the practice from St. Teresa of Avila or some other saint. Which is it? When he sticks to Church teaching, even in a contemporary way, he has some good insights. The rest is just mystic mush!
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: booksiveread
Eh, it was all right. I was told this book would really get me thinking about my religious beliefs, but about 4 chapters in, I realized that this was the way I already thought about religion and spirituality. So it didn't provide the awakening or food for thought that I was promised. I also thought the book could have ended around page 60 because after that, I felt the point got redundant.
Marc Arlt
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed some parts of the book (5 stars) but other parts were beyond me (1 or 2 stars). Hence the 3 star overall rating. I feel like this is a book which will require me to return back to it at some point in the future to better grasp what Rohr is saying.
Jason Lyle
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rohr takes the reader on a journey through what it looks like to leave an either/or faith and embrace a both/and faith. This book was so liberating and put words to thoughts I have had for years. I will definitely read it again.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, it is all about enhancing spiritual awareness without sacrificing reason. Very enlightening!
Tim Daily
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As this book and my experience is teaching me; God is in me and I am experiencing God all the time if I choose to recognize it. Rohr is a wonderful mystic of our time.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal insight! Savored every word!!! Must-read for progressive Christians.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
3.5 stars

The parts that were good, were really really good. The rest was kinda woo-woo. And the good and the woo were really mixed together.

"The Gnostic Gospels" by Elaine Pagels would be a great companion to this book. "The Gnostic Gospels" talks about how and why Christian churches got their structure. This book talks about how the structure of western religions does not do a good job of helping people reach higher spiritual understanding. This book doesn't really lay out any clear solutions f
W Tyler
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, prayer
I chose to read this book as an easy introduction to contemplative prayer and non-dual thinking, and I was pleased to find that it was an enjoyable and helpful read. Richard Rohr is not a great theologian or exegete, but he is brilliant at pulling together strands of thought from the fringes of traditional Christianity while also maintaining Catholic orthodoxy. Thus Buddhist ideas (for example) can sit comfortably alongside Christian ideas - in fact, key Christian doctrines such as the Incarnati ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
For such a short book, it took me a while to read.
Honestly, I'm still not sure what this book or the previous Rohr book I just finished, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer are about exactly.... Although I found this book to be a bit more readable for me than Everything Belongs, it still just doesn't resonate with me or click for some reason.
There are a few gems that I bookmarked, like this one from Chapter 9:
"The same powerful Scripture text that brings a loving person to ev
Eric Gambill
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This may have been a little too advanced for me in this particular stage of my journey, but there's no doubt that I learned a lot and will be revisiting it at some point in the future.

Many pages had to be reread once, twice, three times...

And, even after a deep reading, I often had a hard time deciding if Rohr had said something deeply profound or if he had said nothing at all. The difference between the two can be subtle.

Overall, I found the book immensely helpful and relevant. Rohr's emphasis
Kyle Nelson
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I give the main ideas of this book five stars. If my brain worked a different way, I probably could give the whole book five stars. But I found it hard to follow the key themes in a super structured and coherent way. Rohr would probably say that is the whole point of his book, but embracing paradox and non-dual thinking has little to do with the flow and storyline, which was largely missing.

After I spent a couple hours poring over my notes and connecting ideas myself across many chapters, the c
Lindsey Mellema
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started reading bits and pieces of Richard Rohr's teachings about a year ago when I subscribed to his daily meditation emails. I was immediately intrigued with a way of thinking that I had not ever been exposed to. Despite my appreciation for these ways of thinking, it wasn't until now that I read a book by Richard Rohr in it's entirety. I'm so glad I finally did! This book offers a great introduction into the mind of the mystics. It took me longer to read than I anticipated because I had to k ...more
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Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard's teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplat ...more

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The must-read summer beach book is a kind of American tradition. The crash of the waves. The glare of the sun. The sand in the pages. Is t...
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“The most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he found God in disorder and imperfection—and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on this earth. ” 81 likes
“It is hardly an exaggeration to say that “us-and-them” seeing, and the dualistic thinking that results, is the foundation of almost all discontent and violence in the world.” 4 likes
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