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Two Complementary Natures.

As mentioned last week, the Wisdom paths across the various spiritual traditions teach that there is more going on spiritually in and around us than we notice in our ordinary human awareness, rhythms, and ways of relating. They remind us that we have within our one being two complementary natures—human and divine. Although these two natures are often seen or experienced as being at odds with one another, from a Wisdom perspective they can be viewed as part of an essential relationship comprising a whole. A full embrace of both natures within—human (the horizontal dimension often referred to as the world/world 48 and below—worlds 96 & 192) and divine (the vertical dimension often referred to as the kingdom of heaven/imaginal realm/world 24 and above—worlds 12, 6, 3 & 1)—rooted in the eye of the heart, which sees both realities, allows us to see that we play an important part in this unfolding universe. Wisdom teacher Cynthia Bourgeault says, in a podcast on A Different Way to Live Virtuously (she does explain the worlds named above within it), that human beings are called to see beyond the ordinary and to be the great transformers of the outer appearance of things. We can recognize that something beyond the ordinary eye is needed and we can participate in bringing that forth, releasing it into the atmosphere around us. Whether we realize it or not, she reminds us, we are always releasing something into the atmosphere. Our invitation is to release the virtues and fruit of the spirit that act as actual energy packets and good food rather than something that acts as poison and brings deprivation. She says, “When human beings put into the atmosphere courage, love, compassion, forbearance, inclusivity, sanity, equanimity, we are actually physically, energetically, altering the environment for good. We are feeding the planet. When we put into the environment fear, suspicion, alienation, scapegoating, terror, isolation, hatred of the stranger, we are actually putting into the world toxins.” The question becomes what are we going to release not only in the atmosphere around but within and toward ourselves, all beings, and the worlds beyond? We know that when we are deeply grounded in both natures, rather than living entirely from one nature or the other, the former sometimes referred to as an “egotist” and the latter sometimes referred to as a “stupid saint,” we can take up our place as great transformers. Wisdom rhythms, ancient in origin, support us in—remembering this reality, listening to those heart impulses which can tell us what is needed in any given moment, and keeping in step with that voice of Love/God/Origin/Mystery within. We will be working with listening for these rhythms in the upcoming Wisdom School August 11th-16th. If this is an area of interest to you, it would be wonderful to have you with us in the relational field. You can find more information about it here. With Love, Heather


From the Daily Contemplative Pauses

Monday “There is a fifth kind of thought which arises in centering prayer. Any form of meditation or prayer that transcends thinking sets off the dynamic of interior purification. . . The experience facilitates the come to consciousness of one's motivation and evil tendencies, and sometimes enables the organism to release deep rooted tension in the form of thoughts. Generally, thoughts which are the result of this process arise in the mind when one is most at peace, without one's knowing where they come from or why. They may introduce themselves with a certain force or even with an emotional charge. Once again, the best way to handle them is to return to the sacred word.” — Thomas Keating, 'Cultivating the Centering Prayer' in Finding Grace at the Center, p. 30 Tuesday “There is, finally, a sixth kind of thought, but this one is to be accepted and not disregarded. When in the seed-bed of deep interior silence, the mustard seed of divine charity has been sown by the Holy Spirit and begins to grow, it creates within what the author of The Cloud calls a “blind stirring of love.” This awareness is the goal of centering prayer, the beginning of divine union. “For the work of perfect love which begins here on earth,” says the author of The Cloud “is the same as that love which is eternal life; they are both one” (Chap. 20).” — Thomas Keating, 'Cultivating the Centering Prayer' in Finding Grace at the Center, p. 32 Wednesday “This [contemplative] tradition was well summed up by Gregory the Great at the end of the sixth century. He described contemplation as a knowledge of God that is impregnated with love...It is a resting in God. In this resting or stillness the mind and heart are not actively seeking [Her] but are beginning to experience, to taste, what they have been seeking.” — Thomas Keating, 'Cultivating the Centering Prayer' in Finding Grace at the Center, p. 34 Thursday with Catherine “Let rest come” “You may be conscious that you are leaning toward rest. Your tendency may be to try to rest in God. Trying to rest in God makes God a dualistic goal. Rather…experiencing rest involves learning to rest from seeking God – rest from trying… This kind of resting from seeking God is like giving up trying to get to sleep. Let go of the seeking and let rest come to you.” — David Frenette, The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God, p.37 Friday with Catherine “There is a relationship between trust/faith and rest.” “Centering Prayer involves a very delicate form of faith based more in unknowing and experience than in knowing and dogmatic belief. You simply return to the sacred word when you are engaged with thoughts, including thoughts about God…The simple letting go of thoughts and the more delicate letting go of thinking about thoughts opens you to deeper levels of relationship with God, in which thoughts self-release in you without you doing anything but just being in God.” — David Frenette, The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God, p.35 Saturday “Teresa if Avila calls this the “prayer of quiet.” This sounds wonderful doesn’t it? It sounds as if your thoughts and thinking mind were always still and silent in prayer. Actually, Teresa describes this state of contemplative prayer as one in which your will is quiet while you can still experience distracting thoughts as your intellect roams around like a madman within you. She makes the point that the prayer of quiet includes times when you are aware of the surface of your mind and the depths of awareness at the same time. The thoughts continue roaming around the surface like madmen, but when you quiet your will, in the immediacy of God’s presence in awareness, the mad thoughts are just surface noise. When you let go of fighting and resisting thoughts, and consent to God…you can be aware of thoughts while a the same time resting in their source…the ever present source of your life.” — David Frenette, The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God, p. 46 Sunday “Find a place of rest in the middle of things.” “The prayer of quiet is very liberating because you begin to experience freedom amidst thoughts. Freedom from thoughts, resting in the depth of the river away from the surface noise in interior silence, is indeed a valuable experience on the spiritual journey. But your relationship with God will be limited until you also learn how to be free in thoughts. If you are always searching for a transcendent peace free from thoughts, your spiritual life will not be fully integrated with the busyness and diversity of human life. Teresa of Avila says that the great benefits of the prayer of quiet are shown in daily life.” — David Frenette, The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God, p. 46


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