Father Thomas Keating
A Trappist monk since 1944, Fr. Keating is the founder of Contemplative Outreach and is an internationally renowned theologian and an accomplished author. He has traveled the world to speak with laypeople and communities about contemplative Christian practices and the psychology of the spiritual journey. Since the reforms of Vatican II, Fr. Keating has been a core participant in and supporter of interreligious dialogue, as well as one of the founders of Centering Prayer. He also helped found the Snowmass Interreligious Conference, which had its first meeting in the fall of 1983 and continues to meet each spring. Fr. Keating also is a past president of the Temple of Understanding and of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. He currently resides at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, CO.
A: Thank you for your question. Let me follow your lead by approaching it on the three levels of your question.
What does it mean?
Q: I just read Fr. Keating's Open Mind, Open Heart book. What should I do during the night, while lying in bed, and I find myself with a bunch of general thoughts going on, as well as "engaged" thoughts? I tried using a sacred word when I found myself with an engaged thought, but then the action(s) made me more awake, and I was up for an hour or more trying to fall back to sleep.
Fr. Thomas Keating states that two things happen in the inner room: We get in touch with our basic core of goodness, and the process of divine therapy is initiated and unfolds. What is divine therapy and how does that happen?
When I was doing vipassana meditation in India, we were reminded that the Buddha said every moment that we are truly present, something heals; the deep impurities of a lifetime surface in various forms.
Q: I heard at the CO September 2017 conference that Fr. Thomas is emphasizing a return to the basics. What does this mean in your view?