Quiet Mind

I have been challenged in my thinking over the last several years by Thomas Keating and those that have followed in his footsteps.


John Main, Thomas Merton, and Keating are responsible for bringing to the forefront, to a much wider audience, the practice of meditation.  While Main’s version is much more of focus meditation that creates a certain kind of benefit, Keating is much more concerned with release/surrender meditation that brings a sense of quiet center.  The former is more kataphatic, using images, words and imagination while the latter more apophatic, intentionally letting go of images and entering into a vast stillness. 


The value of Keating’s contribution is for us to realize that we have little if any taxonomy or strategy for helping people encounter the reality of the “Be still and know that I am God” of Psalm 46.  I have asked pastor after pastor, numerous small group and spiritual formation pastors, how they help their people actually DO Psalm 46.10 and I have yet to find even one that has an answer.  This isn’t an indictment as much as it is an observation that we are big on action, small on being, high on energy and imagination, low on presence and emergence.  We love active mind, and know little of quiet mind.  While both are important and serve key functions, I have lacked far more of the latter in my life. 


The role of apophatic type approaches is critical to a genuinely post Guttenberg, post informational approach to spirituality and spiritual formation.


2 Responses to “Quiet Mind”

  1. I wonder if we are very afraid of what we will find if we are still.

    If there is a discrepancy between who you think you should be and who you really are; then it is difficult to sit still and be. (Easier to immerse yourself in trying to become what you think should be.)

    More and more I am captured by the thought that God loves us. Not just when we can hit all the marks (and with some sort of grudging acceptance when we don’t), but actually loves us. Our being not just our becoming.

    If we can own that, it is much easier to be still.

  2. Is it possible that our churches and our spirituality are stuck in the Rational Age where knowledge and information are king and experts are required to navigate? I have recently come to understand that it is actually experiencing the love of God as I sit in His presence (being still and knowing God) is what transforms and heals my brokenness. I have been a Christian for almost 40 years. Why didn’t someone tell me that being still and knowing God would do that in me?

    Maybe the church didn’t know it either.

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