I am actually going to cheat a bit and just copy and paste the Introduction to this week's retreat postings as we are having a PAUSE. The first part of the course is completed, with an introduction to Centering Prayer, people trying it and then writing about their experiences in the Discussion Board. I have been quite interested in how people's experiences in the retreat are so similar to what people share during the Introductory Workshops. It is a similar path it seems and all we have to do is take the first step to begin it. Not too much to ask.
From the Retreat: Today, as we prepare to close the first part of our course, we pause and reflect, we breathe in and out: What have we heard? What has spoken to our heart? What do we wish to carry forward?
"For the yearning for truth burns in the human soul and finds satisfaction whenever truth is finally met. This yearning is a flame that cannot be extinguished. ... The human soul hungers to know who God is, just as a child wants to know his own father and mother.
"... By its very nature, the contemplative life ... inflames the soul's thirst for truth. Indeed, there is no contemplative grace bestowed unless a soul plunges deeply into a craving for truth. Over the course of time, the contemplative becomes a soul consumed by a desire for truth. Every falsity and artificial mask, every compromise that leans aways from truth, every contrived and convenient interpretation that strays from truth, is inimical to contemplative life.
"This is not all surprising, nor does it require strenuous effort. The turning each day to what is real and true becomes a natural impulse for the contemplative precisely because God is ultimate reality and truth. The degree to which our soul lives in truth, in even the simplest of daily tasks and endeavors, conquering pretension and egoism, confronting the truth of our absolute dependency on God is simply an indirect preparation and readiness for all deeper relations with God."
-- Donald Haggerty, The Contemplative Hunger
"The purpose, then, of silence, is to give an opportunity for the longing for God to break through the crust of the false self and our defense mechanisms so that we can be motivated by that hunger and that love to pursue the transformative process untiringly."
-- Thomas Keating, "The Pursuit of Happiness" video segment from Session 2