There is a world within me that I can tap into. In “Integral Christianity” by Paul R. Smith, I read about three different and identifiable states of consciousness which have been experienced by mystics of many traditions around the world.
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Most of us operate in the world with our ordinary awareness. The ordinary awareness is the day to day world that we all function within as we go about our daily tasks at home, work and in our communities.
During this state we utilize our five senses. We see, move, smell, taste, hear and touch. There are two more states of consciousness that can be experienced: spiritual awareness and divine awareness.
It can be entered during prayer, meditation, worship, song, chant, and the Eucharist. It can be entered while you take a walk in the woods, the mountains, the beach, or whatever that sacred place is for you.
How do you feel the spirit’s presence? This will also be different for each person. Some examples include: joy, peace, warmth, energy, or a sense of touch. We perceive these with our spiritual faculties.
Lastly, there is divine awareness. This is an awareness of our inner divinity. This is an awareness of our True Self–of God’s presence. This is an awareness of union with God–that we are divine beings. It’s an empty state. It’s a state where there is an absence of things or forms. We are free to experience unmediated pure Spirit.
Paul describes it when he said, “I live, yet not I but Christ lives within me.” I let the I of the universal Christ live, not the I of my ego. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become that person and the hidden things will be revealed to him.
Paul R. Smith, Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve
Paul has a new book out, Is Your God Big Enough? Close Enough? You Enough?: Jesus and the Three Faces of God
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 Paul R. Smith, Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve, (Paragon House): 2011
I just finished Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community by Daniel P. Coleman and The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner. I am currently reading Intimacy with God: An Introduction To Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.