I am excited to share my review of Manifesting God by Thomas Keating.
Thomas Keating is a founder of the Centering Prayer movement, an author, a teacher, and a monk who has worked for many years to foster understanding among the world’s religions. A member of the Cistercian Order in the Benedictine tradition, he has served at monasteries in Colorado and Massachusetts. Fr. Thomas Keating is a founding member and the spiritual guide of Contemplative Outreach.
I have been a practitioner of centering prayer for just over 4 years. Let me share 5 key insights that I gained as I read this wonderful book.
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“Part of the discipline of Centering Prayer is that, at least during the time of our prayer, we stay in the present moment.”
Centering Prayer teaches us to be present to life. We enjoy our meals and our discussion with friends, family or co workers. We are present and fully focused on our daily tasks. We actually listen to the person who talks to us and not plan what we will say next.
We watch and listen to our child show us how proud they are when they ride a bike for the first time. We notice when someone needs help and we stop what we do to assist them. We read a book or watch a movie, not plan our day or ruminate on the past.
We drink a cup of coffee on our deck and look out at the trees and blue sky. We feel the ground on the base of our feet as we stroll through the neighborhood, smell the barbecue aromas from the neighbors’ grills, look at the new shrubs and flowers in the neighbor’s front beds or listen to the children laugh and play. To be present is a wonderful gift. Don’t let it pass by you unnoticed!
God As Abba
“This is one of the precious gifts that the discipline of Contemplative Prayer communicates. It transmits Christ’s experience of God as Abba. The Aramaic word Abba roughly means “daddy”—an affectionate and intimate term of endearment that a child invents for a tenderly loving father.”
My Centering Prayer practice is a silent sit with God who unconditionally loves me. It is a love that I will spend a life time to grasp and understand its great depths and riches. Twice a day I sit silently with God who simply wishes to refresh and rejuvenate me to the depths of my innermost soul.
It is like a reverse prayer. No words are exchanged. I am silently prayed in by God. Yes, God prays in me, silently beyond words, thoughts and emotions.
“Attachment to our roles in life hinders us actually fulfilling them.”
It is when we let go that we open ourselves to fulfillment. What? Yes you heard that right! We need to let go of our preconceived notions of how things aught to be. When we open to the myriad of possibilities that is when true fulfillment begins. We become more open to a new path that God wishes to journey upon with us.
“The tyranny of over-identification with what is going on at the surface of our awareness prevents us from experiencing the intuitive level that of its very nature tends to be more peaceful, calm, and open to the presence and guidance of the Divine Indwelling.”
Silent prayer is powerful! We connect to ourselves at a deep level. Deep within us is our true self: the person God intends us to be. A daily silent prayer practice connects us to our true self. A daily silent prayer practice helps us remove the many masks we wear: our false selves.
Our false self is who we think we need to be as told by family, friends, other people, our culture, our societies or our places of employment. We arise from our silent sit ready to let the world see our true self. Our silent sit is the place from which our true self spawns. That is why we return each day to our silent sits.
“Two things take place in the inner room. The first is the affirmation of our basic goodness; the second is the purification of the unconscious.”
God loves me. The deeper my interior silence and rest during centering prayer the greater becomes my ability to affirm my basic goodness. I am made in the image of God. God is within me. I come from original blessing. I think we often forget this or do not believe it but it is true.
The purification of the unconsciousness is what Keating refers to as “unloading”. Our repressed emotional material of a lifetime that has been stored in the body is slowly evacuated. All of this negative material has influenced our behavior and decisions.
“God’s desire to heal the depths of our unconscious motivation that is the chief obstacle to divine love.” As I continue to sit in the silence of centering prayer, I am healed and God will rush in to fill the space left empty by the evacuation of my emotional baggage. That is exciting!
I encourage you to read Manifesting God by Thomas Keating. This was my third read of this wonderful book. I am sure I will continue to peek back into this powerful book.
Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating
Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition by Thomas Keating
Invitation to Love 20th Anniversary Edition: The Way of Christian Contemplation by Thomas Keating
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Contemplative Light offers courses on contemplative practices (Christian Meditation, Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer), the Christian mystics (ancient and current) and spiritual writing. Peruse their wonderful offerings.
A Journey of Discernment with the teachings of Mary Margaret Funk and other contemplative voices by Contemplative Outreach, Mary Margaret Funk: This e-course explores the contemplative approach to discerning the small and large decisions in life, which comes from cultivating a life practice of unceasing prayer (whatever types of prayer that may encompass for you). Discernment means sorting our thoughts and following the impulse of grace given by the Holy Spirit. As Sr. Meg writes, “Since we are not our thoughts, we can observe them rising and follow the ones that are from God.” This is a way of coming more awake and discovering the spark of divinity burning in our hearts.
Poetry and Prayer from the Celtic Tradition by Carl McColman: The traditional Celtic people of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales wove prayers, blessings, poems, and songs into every aspect of their daily lives — using the power of language to blend a rich spirituality of presence and wisdom into the very fabric of their being. Many of these poetic invocations and charming poems were collected by folklorist Alexander Carmichael over 100 years ago and preserved in the book Carmina Gadelica — the “Charms of the Gaels.”
Celtic Spirituality At the Edge of Mystery by Carl McColman: Consider it a pilgrimage into one of the best examples of everyday spirituality. Celtic wisdom and poetry encourages us to recognize the holy all around us, honors and protects the sacred earth, gives inspiration to free our creative voice, and presents a holistic path that links the quest for holiness with an embodied sense of Divine love.
How might your life change if you were steeped more deeply in the wisdom of the Christian Mystics? Drawing on the best available writing on the topic of Christian Mysticism both ancient and modern, Contemplative Light is offering a special course on the Christian Mystics Sacred Lives: An Introduction To The Christian Mystics.
Contemplative Practices: 5 Ways of Consenting to the Divine – Learn methods practiced by Christian mystics for centuries to consent to the action and presence of God within, including Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, Christian Meditation, and the Jesus Prayer.
Drawing from the wisdom of monastic life, modern psychology and best practices in personal productivity, the Monk Manual provides a daily system that will help you find clarity, purpose, wisdom, and peace in the moments that make up your life.