The Faith-ing Project’s regimens are designed to deepen the reading experience by pairing a spiritual exercise with each chapter of select books. Unless otherwise noted, these exercises work equally well as an introduction or follow up to the chapter. They can be employed by individuals or groups.
Regimens for the first half of the book are available to anyone who is interested, free of charge. If you would like to access the second half of the regimen, there are 2 different ways to access this.
The first way is to support the ongoing work of the faithing project by becoming a Patron. The second way is to access it on a pay-what-it-is-worth model. You decide if it is worth 50 cents or 10 dollars… or somewhere between. Make a one-time paypal payment to Otherjeffcampbell7@gmail.com Once payment is recieved, the other half of the regimen will be emailed to you.
Here is the regimen for the first half of Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond:
- Close your eyes. Release your obligations from this day.
- See a tremendous rock. It was rolled there by several strong men. You can not move it yourself. Reach out and touch the rock. Feel it scratch the soft skin of your hands.
- Know that within this tomb is your true self. Ressurection.
- Spend several breaths seeing this place. Hear it. Feel it. Fill yourself with the awareness that it is your true self within.
- When you are ready, with each exhale, Think, “Who is going to move the stone?”
- Know that your true self is in the tomb.
- Know that the tomb is empty.
- Remember, with your exhale: “Who is going to move the stone?”
- Place your feet flat on the ground.
- Release your expectations and obligations for the time you will devote to your practice today.
- Take 3 deep inhales and exhales.
- There are many things within you that need to die. Perhaps you are ready and able to name them. Maybe you will think of them more generically. Whichever it is, exhale that which needs to die.
- With your inhalation, bring into your body that which needs to be (and can be) trusted. Again, you might be able to name these things. Or you might simply think of these things as “That which I can trust.”
- Continue to exhale that which needs to die. Inhale that which you can trust.
- When you are ready, release the thoughts with your breath. Simply inhabit your inhales and exhales.
Background: It is said that St. Francis past an entire night asking 2 simple questions: “Who am I, God?” and “Who are you, God?” It is not known what his method was; the correlation of the two questions to the two parts of breath is purely speculation on my part.
- Sit up as straight as you comfortably can. Release your worries and obligations for the duration of your spiritual exercises today.
- As you inhale, ask the question, “Who are you God?”
- With your next inhale, ask the question, “Who am I God?”
- Continue this pattern. When other thoughts or concerns arise, release them by returning to these questions and your breath.
- When your time is nearing completion, dismiss the questions. Enjoy a time of wordless communion.
- When you are ready, explore your feelings about the questions and consider whether or not you have anything that looks like answers to these two important questions.
Background: It seems that there is some immutable center to us. This has been called the True Self. It can be the work of a lifetime to get past the things that seem like such an important part of who we are. Roles, titles, jobs, even callings… These are often good things. But they are not the most basic measure of who we are.
- Relax. Find your breath.
- Imagine a riverside scene. Perhaps it is a place you have been.
- Begin by seeing it in your mind’s eye. Then locate yourself there.
- Furnish additional sensory information. What sounds are you hearing? What smells are you smelling? What is the temperature like? Are you sitting? What does your seat feel like?
- Behold the river. See how the gentle current moves the water out of your vision.
- Calm your mind. As thoughts enter into your awareness, place them on the river. Allow the river to carry them out of your perceptions.
- Continue to breathe deeply and slowly. As anything: feelings, memories, perception rise up to distract you from your breath, give them, gently to the river. Place them as you might put a leaf on the water, so gently to be sure it is floating in the cool water.
- When you are ready, consider a trivial portion of your identity. Perhaps you are a football fan, or a lover of science fiction. Whatever that trivial aspect of your identity is, give it up to the river. Place it on the water and let the current carry it out of sight.
- With your next breath, consider what it is like to be freed of this aspect of your identity.
- Now, consider another aspect of your identity. Perhaps it is a certain distant familial relationship like uncle or cousin. Maybe it is a hobby you are very passionate about. Give this part of yourself to the river, now.
- Experience life with out this fact about yourself. Consider the ways you are changed. As distracting thoughts and feelings arise, remember to give these to the river, too.
- Now, find something very important to you. Perhaps it is a job, a title, or a degree. Maybe it is your role within the family you live in (mother/father/ sister/daughter, etc…) Give this role to the river as well.
- Spend a breath experiencing yourself without this important role.
- Consider that there is something within you. Explore who or what this is.
- If it feels right, give additional aspects of your identity to the river.
- You might even give your name itself to the river.
- When you have given all the parts of yourself that you wish to, explore who you are, now. Consider your relationship with the divine. Think about what is left of you.
- When you are ready, see yourself getting up from the riverside.
- Walk downriver. Continue to not only see, but also hear and feel this world in your imagination. Perhaps fifty feet down the river, you will find that a number of rocks and branches lie across the river, obstructing the flow.
- As you walk among these, you will find that many of the parts of yourself that you gave to the river sit here, prevented from going to far away. Consider each aspect of yourself. The ones you wish for, you can have back. Take them within you again. As for the ones you don’t want? Untether them from the rocks and branches. Let them be washed free.
The 5 remembrances
Background: It is amazing how much time and energy we give to running away.
Our business, our obsession with smart phones, with constantly filling the air with talking and music. These seem to be an attempt to free ourselves from the realities of life.
The funny thing is that the realities of life are not so bad. They just are. There is not an alternative to them. If we could actually deny them, it might almost be worth it. But we never truly escape the things we know. We just pretend we have escaped knowing them.
The Five Buddhist Remembrances are great reminders for people from any orientation. The version used in today’s exercise comes via Thich Nhat Hanh.
- Place your feet flat on the floor. As best you can, relax.
- Think the first remembrance, with your next inhale: I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
- For the exhale, and the whole next breath, embrace this reality.
- With your next inhale, think the second remembrance: I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.
- For the exhale and the whole next breath, embrace this reality.
- With your next inhale, think the third remembrance: I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
- For the exhale and the whole next breath, recognize this true.
- With your next inhale, embrace the fourth remembrance: All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
- Exhale, and breathe your next breathe. And accept this reality.
- With your next inhale, acknowledge this, the final Buddhist Remembrance: My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
- Release these words, and sit in the truth that you are facing. Hopefully you feel freed by this.
god breathing into us.
Background: It is written that God breathed into the earth and made the first human. This, perhaps, was how the image of God got into man in the first place: through that breath.
If we believe that God continues to be active in the world today, we might come to view that original act of creation as an ongoing event, not a one-time thing. More to the point: perhaps God breathes into us still.
- Create a safe and quiet space for yourself. Sit up as straight as you comfortably can. Place your feet flat on the floor.
- Release your worries and responsibilities for the duration of your practice. Don’t worry, they will still be there, waiting for you, when you are done.
- With your next inhale, experience this as God’s breath. Your inhale is God breathing in to you.
- With your next exhale, experience this as a breathing in to God. Your exhale is God’s inhale.
- Continue your practice in this manner. Breathe with God.
- As your time nears its end, release this imagery of your breathing. Enjoy a time of silent communion.
As you go about your day, pay attention to your breath. Recognize that God breathes with you.
Background: Mystic Meister Eckhart said, “The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one love.” This sentence is, to me, nearly as amazing as it is confusing. This exercise is an attempt to grapple with this strange, wonderful idea.
- Breathe deeply.
- Turn your inner eye to God. See God watching you.
- Think about who God is, see God as best you can through your mind’s eye.
- When you are ready, consider the idea that God is watching all things. God is watching you watch God.
- As best you can, consider the idea that God sees you fully. God sees you with infared and ultraviolet vision; God sees all the things you have ever done. God sees you down to the smallest subatomic particle. God sees all the things you have ever been. God sees your body, mind, and soul. God sees the original divine spark which made human kind.
- Know that As God sees you, in every possible way, God sees your potential. God knows the depths of your passion and love. God sees and pronounces you as so good.
- Sit with God’s loving view on you for a bit.
- Take three deep breaths.
- Combine the views, as best you can. God looking down on you is you looking up at God. Your eyes are God’s eyes. God’s eyes are yours. You are God. God is you.