The Attitude of Listening – 9 quotes from Thomas Keating’s book – Reflections on the Unknowable

by Mark Votava

41-YNDn2WOL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. To be powerless

“To be powerless is to accept and welcome all the consequences of being powerless.  It is to feel oneself to be weakness itself, unable to practice even the smallest virtue, and to be always failing in one’s good intentions and resolutions.  It is to die at every moment into utter spiritual destitution.  It is to be nailed to the cross in union with Christ.  It is to live in Christ and let Christ live in us…”

2. Not ideas but intuitions

“What maintains normal speed on the spiritual journey are not ideas but intuitions.  Such are the inspirations of the fruits and gifts of the Spirit…”

3. The attitude of listening

“There remains the attitude of listening: alertness without effort.  This kind of contemplation is completely receptive.  But it is not just passive.  It is an affective kind of receptivity, a peaceful and sometimes delightful being with the silence, presence, or stillness…  There are no words, no thoughts, just pure awareness with perhaps the sense of loving or being loved, and the longing for oneness.”

4. To be, to live, and to act

In oneness, there is not more or less; there is only oneness…  One-ing is to be, to live, and to act…”

5. The capacity for intimacy with God

“The Spirit is the love of everything according to its nature.  The capacity for intimacy with God is in proportion to our consent to be a creature and our willingness to remain so.  The acceptance of powerlessness is the path to becoming everything and to be truly like God, equal to God in every way that is possible for a creature.”

6. The sense of serving every living thing

“If people would put their minds on becoming God – not in the sense of power, but in the sense of serving every living thing as far as they have the strength and talents to do so – then the world would become the Garden of Eden.  In fact, we have to make it the Garden of Eden or we will make it into a kind of hell.  The false self has the tendency to create its own hell and which can start in this life.”

7. The game of life is designed for us to enjoy fun

“There is so much to learn, and one of the great things to learn is that the game of life is designed for us to enjoy fun, not to accomplish something.  As soon as you want to win, you’ve lost the pleasure of playing.  A certain amount of competition is not bad, but the fun is over once you make the game a career.”

8. To forgive, to show compassion, to respect everyone

“The promise is that we are developing our capacity as human beings to do the things that God does with the greatest of ease: to forgive, to show compassion, to respect everyone, and to experience oneness with everyone.”

9. Human consciousness

“Out of that immense chaos ultimately emerges human consciousness, which is the greatest masterpiece of creation.  That is still going on.  If we could collaborate with it, we have no idea what wonderful things the human race might be capable of in the next millennium.”  

Which quote do you like the best?