The potential for human wholeness -- or in other frames of reference, liberation, self-transcendence, enlightenment, salvation, transforming union, moksha, nirvana, fana -- is present in every human person.
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The Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships and service to others. The differences among belief systems should be presented as facts that distinguish them, not as points of superiority. In the light of the globalization of life and culture now in process, the personal and social ethical principles proposed by the world religions in the past need to be re-thought and re-expressed. The foreword to the book was written by New Ager Ken Wilber. More than 50 years ago despite parental protestations, Thomas Keating joined an austere monastic community in order to develop a personal relationship with God.
Twenty years later, he co-founded a contemplative practice, "centering prayer" which helps non-monastics achieve that very same goal through the discipline of quieting thoughts and feelings in order to experience the presence of God.
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As a student at Yale in the early 's, Keating experienced a religious conversion while reading Thomas Aquinas's Catena Aurea , a line-by-line exposition of the four gospels. He realized that union with the divine is not only possible but available to all.
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Keating defines centering prayer as "a very simple method in which one opens one's self to God and consents to his presence in us and to his actions within us. Releasing any distractions caused by thoughts or emotions, the practitioner simply "waits for God. The young people who were checking out the monastery then expected a method because that is what they experienced from Eastern teachers. The movement to the East was very strong among Roman Catholics. So I asked myself, "Why is this? Why don't they go to Christian monasteries? Our thinking was that they would teach the method to lay persons.
But our plans were changed by the Holy Spirit. Through experience we saw that not only were Catholic lay persons taking possession of their contemplative heritage but little by little more and more persons took part from other denominations. In centering prayer , the sacred word is not the object of the attention but rather the expression of the intention of the will.
In centering prayer, you only keep saying the sacred word until you feel that your intention is established in your will. While doing centering prayer , the practice is to let go of any thought or perception. The priority is to be as silent as possible and when that is not possible to let the noise of the thoughts be the sacred symbol for a while, without analyzing them.
Some people whose psyches are very fragile would be well advised not to do centering prayer until they had established another practice that reassured their faculties and their emotions that God is safe or at least is not as dangerous as they might have thought. We didn't know how to teach children religion so we gave them the Commandments instead of fostering the idea of God as a loving father and protector who is merciful and who loves us.
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That is the good news of the gospel. In centering prayer there are moments of peace that give the psyche a chance to realize that God may not be so bad after all. A restructuring of consciousness takes place which empowers one to perceive, relate and respond with increasing sensitivity to the divine presence in, through, and beyond everything that exists. Keating in Open Mind, Open Heart, p Spiritual disciplines, both East and West, are based on the hypothesis that there is someting that we can do to enter upon the journey to divine union once we have been touched by the realization that such a state exits.
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Keating in Open Mind, Open Heart, p Twenty to thirty minutes is the minimum amount of time necessary for most people to establish interior silence. Open Mind. Open Heart : [I]f you are aware of no thoughts, you will be aware of something and that is a thought.
If at that point you can lose the awareness that you are aware of no thoughts, you will move into pure consciousness. Finding Grace at the Center , p. This takes spiritual practice and the cultivation of wisdom. In another time this was called cultivating the supernatural organism, what Paul called "a New creation".
So the main thing is to be transformed into God, what the early Church called deification, theosis, divinization. Thomas Keating is a founding member and the spiritual guide of Contemplative Outreach. Thomas Keating: We didn't know how to teach children religion, so we gave them the Commandments instead of fostering the idea of God as a loving father and protector who is merciful and who loves us.
I'm afraid we got into the habit in many Christian denominations of teaching the bad news first. Thomas Keating wrote the foreword to Philip St. Kundalini has long been known in Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist spirituality. The awakening of kundalini energy and its various stages clearly enhances our understanding of how the body takes part in the spiritual journey. Eventually Keating was one of several monks, including M. Basil Pennington and William Meninger, who developed the centering prayer method of Christian meditation. Toggle navigation. Stock photo. O by Thomas, O.
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The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living: Excerpts from the Works of Father Thomas Keating
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The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living
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