Eternal Marriages

"When someone you love dies, you weep, you remember your times together, you hold the pieces close to your heart for a while. But finally you let go and move on with life.

"In most cases this is probably the best thing to do. But not always.

"In certain, perhaps rare, love relationships, instead of the normal imperative for letting go and getting on with life, there are subtle but clear signs that the journey with one's beloved continues beyond the grave. Rather than ending, the walk together is only just getting under way. This is the stuff of mythology and high romance: the Orpheus journey, The Divine Comedy. But it also happens to real people. I know this because I am one of them. . . .

"Far more often than is generally acknowledged, those whose love for one another is marked by a particular intimacy and spiritual kinship are invited to continue together beyond the grave. Such unions — sometimes known as 'eternal marriages' — come into existence because they are part of the divine scheme. True love expresses the sacred promise that love is stronger than death. And in going the distance on this promise, the two beloveds drink deeply of that complete self-surrender in love that is at the heart of all spiritual experience. In a particularly pointed way, they follow the pattern of Christ. . . .

"The walk is difficult — not without its frustrations and anguish. It requires fidelity, faith, and the willingness to bear the obvious burdens of the lack of human partnership and a heart wide open to heaven. But for those able to pay the price, it is a precious opportunity to discover for oneself that true love really is eternal."
Love Is Stronger Than Death: The Mystical Union of Two Souls

Boot Camp in Gethsemani

"A nun, after her first try at centering prayer during a workshop led by Thomas Keating, came up to him in great frustration. 'I'm such a failure at this prayer,' she said. 'In twenty minutes of sitting I've had ten thousand thoughts.'

" 'How lovely,' Fr. Keating responded, without so much as batting an eye. 'Ten thousand opportunities to return to God!'

"And that is the essence of centering prayer. The 'magic' of this prayer is not attained by keeping the mind perfectly still or clear. It happens in each moment you catch yourself thinking and are willing to let that thought go as a symbol of your consent to open up fully, let go of your own stuff, and simply hold a space of total availability given to God as a free gift of your love for the duration of the prayer period.

" 'Not my will but thine be done, O Lord' — over and over, thought by thought, ten-thousand-thoughts by ten-thousand-thoughts. I call it 'boot camp in Gethsemani' because in this simple form of meditation we are practicing that core gesture of the Christian faith: total surrender of ourselves into the hands of God."
Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God

Learn from Your Body

"From learning to ride a bicycle when I was seven, I came to know something about interior balance, getting the hang of something from the inside out. From learning to float, I discovered that trust means relaxing and letting something else hold you up. From ecstatic lovemaking, I learned not to fear dissolving into oneness. The language of spiritual transformation is already written deeply within our bodies; when we get the hang of the gesture, we discover the spiritual truth it illumines."
The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart

A Tragic Case of Mistaken Identity

"Like most of the great spiritual masters of our universe, Jesus taught from the conviction that we human beings are victims of a tragic case of mistaken identity. The person I normally take myself to be &3151; that busy, anxious little 'I' so preoccupied with its goals, fears, desires, and issues — is never even remotely the whole of who I am, and to seek the fulfillment of my life at this level means to miss out on the bigger life. This is why, according to his teaching, the one who tries to keep his 'life' (i.e., the small one) will lose it, and the one who is willing to lose it will find the real thing."
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening