The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation

Overview

One of the founders of the Centering Prayer movement, Thomas Keating offers a reflection on contemplative prayer, the human search for happiness and our need to explore the inner world. The spiritual search for God, he says, is also the search for ourselves. Drawing from Christian mystical tradition, Eastern and Orthodox religions, contemporary psychology, and the recovery model, Keating shows how the practice of contemplation can become a process of psychological and spiritual transformation. And as we move into...
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The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation

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Overview

One of the founders of the Centering Prayer movement, Thomas Keating offers a reflection on contemplative prayer, the human search for happiness and our need to explore the inner world. The spiritual search for God, he says, is also the search for ourselves. Drawing from Christian mystical tradition, Eastern and Orthodox religions, contemporary psychology, and the recovery model, Keating shows how the practice of contemplation can become a process of psychological and spiritual transformation. And as we move into a global culture, this process is of greater importance than ever. He begins with the great questions of self-knowledge: "Who are you? Where are you hiding?" The seemingly fruitless search for human happiness hinges on the answers to these: "Where am I in relation to God, myself and others?" and "Whoever I think I am, I am not." The contemplative journey is "divine therapy" for the illness of the human condition, a way to open up gradually to our own wounded unconscious. It is an excuse in letting go of the false self, which is the only self we know, and in realizing that God is the only true security. Divine love is the full affirmation of who we are. Writing with simplicity and depth, Keating brings common sense, extraordinary enlightenment, and fifty years of experience to the topic and the practice of discovering the presence of God.

About the Author: One of the founders of the Centering Prayer movement, Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O., was abbot of St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, before retiring to St. Benedict's Abbey in Snowmass, Colorado. There he established an intensive retreat program in the Centering Prayer. He is president of Contemplative Outreach Ltd., an organization that provides a support system for Centering Prayer practitioners. His books include The Mystery of Christ, Invitation to Love, and Open Mind, Open Heart.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809138821
  • Publisher: Paulist Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Series: Wit Lectures Series
  • Pages: 45
  • Sales rank: 120,754
  • Product dimensions: 4.96 (w) x 7.95 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Foreword

Father Thomas Keating writes with the simplicity and depth that emerge from more than fifty years of practicing to become a "friend of God" --in his case a Cistercian monk, abbot, and spiritual advisor. What many of us especially appreciate about Thomas Keating is the work he has done--and continues to do--to make accessible the practice of Centering Prayer. In this practice, Father Keating has melded elements of Christian mystical tradition into a practice elementary enough for any of us to learn, but which, over time, may help effect a process of spiritual transformation. Without discriminating in the ways that most Christians do between those we call Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, agnostic, Jew, Buddhist, or by other designations, Father Keating attempts to reintroduce into the lives of those he teaches insights and practices that Christian tradition sometimes has suppressed and often has left in obscurity. These two talks begin with a question of self-knowledge and end by recalling the unconditional love of God. In my own life, I cannot imagine having endured certain difficult times without his generous presence and without the practice he teaches. Thomas Keating is both a "discerner of spirits," gifted with a charism known from the early days of the Christian movement, and a "psychiatrist" in the original sense of the term--"physician of the soul." Those of us who learn from him are grateful for--and blessed by--his gifts. Elaine Pagels Princeton University Introduction In 1997, Father Thomas Keating became the fifth person to deliver the Harold M. Wit Lecture on Living a Spiritual Life in the Contemporary Age at Harvard Divinity School. Born in New York City in 1923, Father Keating entered the Cistercian Order in 1944 in Valley Falls, Rhode Island. Fourteen years later he was appointed superior of St. Benedict's Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, and in 1961 he was elected abbot of St. Joseph's Abbey, a large Cistercian monastery in Spenser, Massachusetts. After two decades in Spenser, he returned in 1981 to Snowmass, where he established a program of intensive ten-day retreats in the practice that he calls Centering Prayer, a contemporary form of Christian contemplative tradition. Father Keating is one of the architects of the Centering Prayer movement and of Contemplative Outreach, a support system for those on the contemplative path. He is also a former chairman of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, which sponsors exchanges between monks and nuns of the world's religions; a member of the International Committee for Peace Council, which fosters dialogue and cooperation among the world's religions; and a member of the Snowmass Interreligious Conference, a group of teachers from the world's religions who meet yearly to share their experience of the spiritual journey in their respective traditions. He is the author of several best-selling books on the contemplative tradition, including Open Mind Open Heart, The Mystery of Christ, Invitation to Love, and Intimacy with God. When he visited Harvard Divinity School, Father Keating delivered two lectures and led a service of Centering Prayer in the chapel of Andover Hall. In an era when the commodification of spirituality in America seems inescapable, his presence and message were genuinely inspiring and encouraging. Thus he fulfilled the desire of Harold M. Wit, who established the lecture series in 1988, to bring to Harvard "unusual individuals who radiate in their thought, word, and being those spiritual qualities and values that have been so inspiring and encouraging to me along my path." The publication of these lectures gives me the chance once again to acknowledge with gratitude Harold Wit, a generous benefactor of Harvard Divinity School, and to thank Thomas Keating for bringing together in these lectures the Christain contemplative tradition with insights from contemporary psychology. May his lectures serve as a guide to "true peace, sane counsel, and spiritual comfort in God," in the words of The Cloud of the Unknowing, the fourteenth-century English spiritual classic on which Centering Prayer is largely based. Ronald F Thiemann Harvard Divinity School Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2009

    Short and Sweet

    In Physics the best solutions are the simplest and most elegant: witness E=MC2. This book is a simple, clear, elegant disussion of the human condition. Keating has done in 45 pages of simple prose what it has taken other authors several books and hundreds of pages to accomplish. For me this book is a beautiful little bridge between my studies of Buddhism and Christianity. This is a gem of a book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2006

    A quick spiritual read that you will want to read again

    I came upon this book by accident and loved it. It was short enough for me to get through in a day or two, yet there is a lot to meditate on. Thomas Keating gives us insight on how to become closer to God through prayer which leads us into a subconcious part of our minds where we have many obstacles. By learning of these obstacles it is then we can learn to let go and react differently to conflict or upsetment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2012

    Inspirational

    I bought copies to give out, what a truly needed book in times like these

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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