Susan Boruff offers another reflection for our blog today. She speaks of the wisdom of the late Fr. Thomas Keating and how we can implement the silence and science of meditation into our daily lives. We’ve added a brief YouTube video about his life and prayer at the end of today’s post. Take a deep breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. Please read along…
By: Susan Boruff
“Your relationship with God, others, yourself, and all creation keeps changing for the better. Most of the world’s religions have developed maps to describe this process.” ~ Thomas Keating
My mentor and one of Christianity’s most revered elders passed away in October, 2018. Trappist monk, Fr. Thomas Keating, was instrumental in bringing the Christian contemplative path back to the church in the late 1980’s and continued teaching and guiding others on this deep spiritual journey until his death.
For the past month I have been participating in an on-line class that featured eight poems that he wrote including some written in the last year of his life. These poems reflect the journey of “leaving self behind” as instructed by Jesus (Mt. 16:24), following him and entering into the kingdom of heaven on earth.
St. John the Baptist also invites us to change the direction in which we are going, to repent, to leave behind the old ways in order to receive all that God’s Spirit has for us. And to bring that Spirit out to the world.
This journey of denying the self or leaving self behind requires the practice of silence and listening. Jesus listened deeply to our Father in heaven and then taught what he had received. This is what Fr. Thomas Keating did as well.
The following statement was shared with me as part of the on-line class as taught by Episcopal priest Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault:
Two weeks before he died, Thomas Keating emerged briefly from four days in what appeared to be a coma to deliver an extraordinary final message beamed straight to the heart of the world. Acknowledging that “an extraordinary moment of civilization seems to be overtaking us,” he urged the human family to scrap old approaches based on religious or political dogma and “begin a new world with one that actually exists,” a world whose truth is guided by “silence and science” and whose heart is revealed in a universal resurgence of human compassion and creativity. “We need to find ways to make this really happen,” he said. “I leave this hope in your hands and hearts coming as a real inspiration from the heart of God.”
He is inviting us to “begin a new world whose truth is guided by silence and science.” Wow! This was two years ago.
What in society causes us to take a moment of silence?
We are usually honoring the life of someone of great value and worth to our society, someone that might have honored others through their work and sacrifice.
Why wouldn’t we do that every day to honor the life and the sacrifice of Jesus? It is in the silence where the resurrected life of Christ in our hearts is awakened.
The goal of meditation is to take our mind off of ourselves and turn wholeheartedly to another, to God, to Spirit, to Christ and then to each other.
Silence gives space to allow God’s truth to arise to the surface of our lives, from the deep recesses of our hearts
Fr. Keating spent many hours in the last months of his life meeting with the Dalai Lama and well-known neuroscientists who have been conducting research on how meditation and contemplation change the brain. They explained to him how these practices change the wiring in our brains for more love, compassion, tolerance, acceptance and social awareness.
The field of quantum physics is also revealing what the mystics have known for many years: the oneness of humanity with each other and God.
There is still much to learn.
To learn more about Susan’s Take Twelve Today’s ministry: www.taketwelvetoday.com.