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Philip and Contemplative Outreach Atlanta, on March 17, Cynthia presented on her book The Heart of Centering Prayer.

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Please go to this website. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. In Invitation to Love, Fr. We are called to this journey not just for our own personal growth, but also for the sake of the whole human community. The human condition can be presented as an evolutionary process unfolding from one level of consciousness to the next. Developmental psychology points to a similar process in the growth of each human being from infancy to the age of reason. Each level of consciousness is incorporated into the next level and, ideally, all that is good on one level is integrated into the next.

However, it is also possible to become arrested at one level. The purpose of the spiritual journey is to heal the wounds of a lifetime that occurred on all levels. The circumstances of our lives — the unexpected, the trials, the crises, our relationships — begin to uncover where we are in relation to God, ourselves, and others. We begin to look at our false self, our hidden motivations, and the influences that limit our freedom and potential. We remember that this is a healing journey, a journey of transformation.

Thomas uses anthropology, biology, neuroscience, and developmental psychology to explain how each person recapitulates the evolution of the human species in their individual development from infancy to adulthood.

As we move from one stage of development to the next, depending on whether or not our needs were met or we perceive our needs were met , we either integrate these lower levels of consciousness into our ongoing development or we use our higher brain powers rational consciousness to get our unconscious needs met. The Energy Centers — our needs for security and survival, esteem and affection, and power and control — are completely normal when we are in the early childhood stages of development.

In fact, they are also normal for us as adults. The problem is when our preferences for meeting these needs turn into demands and expectations for the people, events, and circumstances in our lives.

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The constant frustration of unmet needs and expectations forms our false-self system. The Philosophical Model develops our understanding of the human faculties — the senses, the intellect, and the will, and how each one functions according to its nature. Like the Evolutionary Model, this model is the ideal of how our powers and faculties work, while the Existential Model is the way human life is actually experienced. In addition to the active intellect which gives us the ability to reason, we have a passive or intuitive intellect which perceives truth directly without the mediation of reason.

This is the seat of our will to God, or our desire to seek that which can only be filled by God. The Christian contemplative journey can restore the faculties to their proper place; resting in God allows the intuitive faculties to function at the deepest level, where we relate to God beyond thoughts, feelings, and particular acts.

With the emotions at rest we no longer resist the movement of the Spirit. We begin to experience God in everything and everyone, in all of creation, which is another way of saying we are now living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel. Session In this meditation, I discover the words I was searching for so long in my Christian tradition.

The readings this morning are complicated and diverse so I would like to focus on just one important line from the epistle to the Hebrews. It is very relevant to the interest right now on the Olympic games.

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The imagery is that of running a race with your eyes on the goal. This, of course, is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. We must keep our eyes fixed on him with the purpose and intensity of an athlete striving for victory. We do realize, all of us, that the most basic and fundamental teaching of Jesus is one of love. Not just love of God, but like unto it love of neighbor.

And why St. John tells us that we cannot love God whom we do not see unless we love our brother and sister whom we do see. Richard Rohr reminds us that love is our very structural and essential identity. To live in conscious connection with the loving inner presence of God is to find our true self. The real tragedy is when a man or woman is afraid of the light. I would like to do something now that is a little bit unusual for a homily. I would like to bring us into an experienced connection, another type of communion if you will, with the love of Jesus, of God and of one another.

I would like to take you through a brief, guided meditation. This meditation is a prayer written by the English theologian , Cardinal, John Newman. It is a prayer that Mother Theresa tells us she recited every day of her life. Brief pause. And now with great sincerity, listen with your hearts and offer this prayer keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus.

The contemplative mind gives you access to your birthright, to what is already within you.

How to Experience God's Presence

When you discover and connect to this awareness, you will have the distinct feeling that you already knew this. Spiritual cognition is recognition. The gift of contemplation will be experienced as freedom, abundance, love, spaciousness, and grace. This entire experience of gratuity makes you fall in love with God. In fact, I would say that utter gratuity is one of the clearest indicators of any authentic God experience.

The Experience of No-Self

But it also installs its own critique. When you know the real thing, you start developing a nose, an eye, and an ear for the false thing. You can recognize truly converted people. And you can smell people who are just using the church, sacraments, or priesthood to aggrandize themselves. In fact, it is all about God! And you will soon find yourself loving all that God loves—which is going to be an ever widening circle of realizations and loves.

At that point, you have been taken into the very life of the Trinity. Richard Rhor Meditation June 29, In addition to being present in the sacraments, Christ is present. The Heart of Centering Prayer audio teaching by Cynthia Bourgeault The following audio teaching was recorded at an event presented by the Cathedral of St. The Existential Model Fr. The Philosophical Model The Philosophical Model develops our understanding of the human faculties — the senses, the intellect, and the will, and how each one functions according to its nature.

To access to audio material click here. Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, That my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me, and be so in me That every soul I come in contact with May feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, So to shine as to be a light to others; The light, O Jesus will be all from You; none of it will be mine; It will be you, shining on others through me. Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example, By the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, The evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.