Thomas Keating outlines some of the basic landmarks, obstacles, and challenges of the spiritual journey in this paperback. For anyone starting out on the contemplative path, the founder of the Centering Prayer Movement's advice and Christian counsel is highly recommended.
He sees the major impediment to growth as our continued enslavement to the false self. It convinces us that when someone hurts us or ignores us, we cannot feel good about ourselves or be happy. Anger, apathy, and pride come to the surface in our relationships with others. To heed the gospel call to full development of our spiritual legacy, we must disidentify with the values of the false self and with the cultural conditioning that has set us on a course of self-centeredness.
Keating notes that "the regular practice of contemplative prayer initiates a healing process that might be called 'the divine therapy.' " He shows how the four consents developed by John S. Dunne, the temptations of St. Anthony, the night of the sense experience by St. John of the Cross, the stages of contemplative prayer described by Saint Teresa of Avila, and the wisdom sayings of the Beatitudes can be used as helpful spiritual resources by those seeking "the further growth that God has in store for us, the intuitive and unitive levels of consciousness to which mature faith and love gradually raise us." Put another way, these resources can bring us to a fresh sense of God's presence in everything around us.