A New Depth – 5 quotes from Thomas Keating’s book – Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel

by Mark Votava

51XJ05B0NVL._AC_UL320_SR212,320_1. Acceptance and peace

“To sum up, the best response to the ordinary wanderings of the imagination is to ignore them; not, however, with a feeling of annoyance or anxiety, but with one of acceptance and peace. Every response to God, whatever it is, must begin with the full acceptance of reality as it actually is at the moment. Since it is part of our nature to have a wandering imagination, however much you might want to be quiet, accept the fact that thoughts are certain to come. The solution is not to try to make the mind a blank. That is not what interior silence is.”

2. Our instinct to possess

“The attitude that reinforces the false self more than anything else is our instinct to possess something, including our own thoughts and feelings. This instinct has to be relinquished. Most of us are starved for spiritual experience. When it begins to happen, everything in us reaches out for it. We can’t help ourselves at first. As we learn through bitter experience that grasping for spiritual experience gets us thrown out on the banks, it dawns on us that this is not the way to proceed. If we can let go of our clinging attitude toward this deep peace, we will move into a refined joy and an inner freedom where spiritual experience no longer looms so large. We can have all we want of divine consolation if we don’t try to possess it. As soon as we want to possess it, it is gone… Once we know that our destination lies beyond any kind of spiritual experience, we realize that it is useless to hang onto anything along the way…”

3. A new depth

“Sometimes all you need is to wait and not lose heart. When that oil well runs dry, you will move to a new depth. Or again, it is like being in an elevator that gets stuck between floors. You just have to wait until whatever it is that is an obstacle has been removed.”

4. In the present moment

“Divine love is not an attitude that one puts on like a cloak. It is rather the right way to respond to reality. It is the right relationship to being, including our own being. And that relationship is primarily one of receiving. No one has any degree of divine love except what one has received. An important part of the response to divine love, once it has been received, is to pass it on to our neighbors in a way that is appropriate in the present moment.”

5. Christ dwelling in every person

“The insight into Christ dwelling in every person enables one to express charity toward others with greater spontaneity. Instead of seeing only someone’s personality, race, nationality, gender, status, or characteristics (which you like or do not like), you see what is deepest… This Christ-centered love takes us out of ourselves and brings our newly found sense of independence into relationships that are not based on dependency, as many relationships tend to be, but are based on Christ as their center. It enables one to work for others with great liberty of spirit because one is no longer seeking one’s own ego-centered goals but responding to reality as it is.”

Which quote do you like the best?

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My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“So much of the new locality movement is about strategy, rhetoric and technique. In contrast, Mark Votava offers a soulful path for living locally in community with others for the good of the world. He is a masterful compiler of the best wisdom of the mystical Christian tradition and writes with honesty and characteristic intensity. This is a serious book for people who want to live awake to the sacred in all of life.” Mark Scandrette, activist, founder of ReIMAGINE and author of FREE, Practicing the Way of Jesus and SOUL GRAFFITI