The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformationby Thomas Keating, Elaine Pagels
Pub. Date: 09/28/1999
Publisher: Paulist Press
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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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.
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.
I bought copies to give out, what a truly needed book in times like these