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"The Rising Tide of Silence," by Thomas Keating

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04 February 2014, 09:02 AM
"The Rising Tide of Silence," by Thomas Keating

04 February 2014, 09:03 AM
Here is the comment I posted on our Linkedin group for Spiritual Directors.

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Fr. Thomas wrote the introduction to my book, "Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality." He is a friend to me and many others, and his teachings are a gift to this generation of spiritual seekers. What's many miss, however, is that what he teaches is nothing new, but what St. Paul, the patristics, and Catholic doctrine affirms: that we can come to participate fully in the life of God. . . eventually. ;-) Of course, few attain *perfect* union in this life, and Fr. Thomas would not point to himself as one who has done so.

He gives witness to the apophatic stream of Christian spirituality, which points to God as unmanifest mystery. The other stream (kataphatic) is equally important, however: that something of God can be known through creation as well, and especially (Christians would say) through Jesus Christ, the incarnate manifestation of God.

We need both streams for a healthy Christian spirituality. Without the apophatic witness, we can easily become dogmatic, moralistic and over-confident of our knowledge of God. Without the kataphatic, however, the mind and its capacity for critical thinking is left out, and we can become unfocused, undiscerning ecclectics.
06 February 2014, 01:07 AM
Do you think people like Rohr and Keating have been irresponsible by allowing the lines between Eastern metaphysics and Catholic metaphysics to become blurred to the point where no clear distinctions are made anymore. That is fine for the Apophatic tradition, but it seems to me to be a disservice to the Kataphatic tradition, without which Christianity would not exist. Just wondering, not judging - okay, maybe a little, but not my primary intention Wink .
06 February 2014, 12:39 PM
The video begins:

Interviewer: "Someone once wrote that you can never see God because God is not an object, God is the subject."

Keating: (chuckles) "You can'y see God, because when you are God, there's nothing to see. You're not God in an absolute sense, but you're so much God in every possible way that humans can be participants in the divine nature. . . ."

The rest of the interview went better, imo.


First point, which Jacques alludes to: God can indeed be an object of consciousness in the case of Jesus Christ. "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." (Col. 1: 15). Hence, Catholic spirituality has never discouraged devotion and worship of Christ, as he is God incarnate.

Fr. Thomas missed an opportunity to say something about that.

Second point: the subject of consciousness is not necessarily God, as I have noted many times. Human consciousness in its non-reflecting aspect is a subject, and this experience can account for most enlightenment accounts.

Then, yes, OK . . . human consciousness can also participate in the divine consciousness, but it does so both kataphatically and apophatically. We look for certain signs and fruits of the Spirit to validate such experiences.

Overall, Jacques, it does seem to me that Frs. Keating and Rohr emphasize the apophatic way at the expense of the kataphatic, most likely because they find Christianity at this time to be over-balanced in the direction of kataphatic spirituality.
15 August 2015, 07:43 PM
This movie was just shown by a local CO group. Overall, it is a very pleasant movie and the discussion is basic, but encouraging. Father Keating is, indeed, a lovely man.

There was a lot of discussion and adoration among the movie attendees about Father Keating, but no discussion of any kind about the prayer practice itself. However, if I recall correctly, the topic of the movie is Keating's life.

For me, I prefer the teachings of the Carmelites, so I am a bit biased in their favor.