I’ve been on Bowen Island co-facilitating Living from the Heart, so I’ve had no time to write. But I think you’ll like this post (originally published in 2014) which follows up what I posted last week. The quote at the bottom is new. I love it.
I keep thinking of myself as that leaky bucket. I marvel at the fact that I don’t need to put myself into God’s ocean of love; I’m already there.
The first illusion, which I talked about last week, is that I need to fix my holes to be useful to God. The second is that I could ever be empty of God.
When I open myself to God, I do not let in more of God. I am already full of God. Instead, I open myself to the reality that I am in God.
When Darrell Johnson taught at Regent College, he once said in a sermon on John 17, “We are in God and God is in us,” then added with a wondrous sigh, “and you can’t get much closer than in.”
Jesus prayed that we would be one with the Father in the same way he is. God answered that prayer through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Yet we keep living as if nothing has changed. Father Thomas Keating, a Benedictine monk, said, “The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from Him. If we get rid of that thought, our troubles will be greatly reduced.”
Yes. “That thought” makes me thrash about, frantically trying to keep myself afloat. Jesus smiles. “Let yourself sink into my love. Abide in me and I will bear fruit in you.”
I imagine myself again as that leaky bucket sinking into an ocean of love, not fixing or accomplishing or becoming… anything. I feel peaceful.
But it doesn’t take long before my ego asks, “So, what are you doing here?”
The answer comes to me in the middle of the night: I am “doing” the will of God. As I rest in God’s love, I am fulfilling all God wants me to do with my life.
Out of this resting, out of God’s fullness comes surrender to God’s will. I can surrender from a place of being immersed in love because I know that God is attending to my needs. My ego can relax: God is my creator, saviour, and sanctifier.
Here in God’s ocean of love, with my ego asleep beside me, I am free to do whatever pleases God.
God wants nothing more than our consent to be loved.
–Father Thomas Keating
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I first began praying without words when I ran out of them and found myself drawn to just rest in God’s presence. A few years later, in what is now called Living From The Heart, I was introduced to the practice of Centering Prayer with a video of Father Thomas Keating, a Trappist monk and founder of Contemplative Outreach. Keating’s life is a vibrant example of the freedom and joy that is the fruit of prayer. His enthusiasm is contagious.