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Los Dones del Espíritu Santo, Parte 2: Los Dones Contemplativos y las 5 Pistas.

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[Contemplative Gifts and the Five Tracks] - Let's relate the experience of Centering prayer with that background to the specific contemplative gifts of the Holy Spirit, knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Those of you who are doing this practice regularly will notice sometimes that you have two tracks going on at the same time in your mind. There are the ordinary flow of psychological thoughts flowing down the surface of consciousness somewhat reduced from the ordinary flow of daily life, but nonetheless, there when we try to be silent, in other words, silence, interior silence is always relative, at least in the beginning. And so, and because we aware of the thoughts going by we are told to introduce the sacred word as an expression of our consent to God that we made in the beginning. So that when thoughts begin to be stimulating or attractive, by stimulating I mean they stir up some desires or some aversions in the unconscious or in our habitual way of reacting to reality. So if you're interested in the three basic instinctual needs of human nature in a big way, that is security, power control, affection, esteem, when some thought goes down, that appeals to one of those instinctual needs or drives, because they become drives if they've been withheld in early childhood. Some are repressed into the unconscious, some have developed compensatory means of surviving that are very clever if not disastrous. And so, so if we're interested in a big way in security symbols and along comes a nice... what shall we say? A nice new car, or a new house, or a new insurance policy, of course or something, there's a certain interest to look at this. Or as we... are using the image as sometimes use to get on this boat, the symbol of a thought going by to see what's on board, in other words, we want to examine the contents of this thought and if we consent to doing that, then obviously this pull draws us out of the original intention to consent to God and we're coming out of the closet. We're coming out of the inner room too soon, it's... time isn't over for our prayer. So you have to turn around and go back in and start the process again. You shut the door and bolt it and now you're back into your silence and quiet. So, after a while you get tired of doing this and that's why you sometimes can be a little bored during Centering prayer, 'cause you're not enjoying the thoughts and you're not really enjoying the silence. So you've sort of got the worst of both worlds. And hence we need to be firm but gentle in returning to the sacred word or the sacred symbol... whenever you notice you're getting on one of the boats and especially when you find you're already on one of them and have gone down stream... and... where are we here? Oh, yes, you've taken the Newark River, is there such a one? And you've wound up in the Bay of New York. Well, it's time to come back, but never... never with any sort of recrimination or surprise even you simply, without thinking about what you've been doing immediately you return to the inner room by the simple movement of, that symbolizes your intention to be in the presence of God once again and totally open to his will. So, a friendly attitude is required in order to put up with this constant solicitation of the boats going by in our imagination which are thoughts of various kind so that we don't get the least bit discouraged but realize that we've spent a lifetime with habits of thinking this way and it's going to take us a few days, maybe a few weeks to get used to this new way of addressing God, not through these faculties in the head but as Albert Isaac says, by offering him our hearts a symbol in Hebrew literature of our inmost being. So we're aware then often of the thoughts going by on this level and that the level of the private room which is a quieter place, the deeper place, the level of our spiritual awareness. The level of spiritual attentiveness, the level of our will to God and of our intuitive faculty of intellect. And so, on one level, we're aware of thoughts, on the other, we're aware of maintaining our attitude of attentiveness to the Spirit by gently returning to the sacred word as the thoughts go by. I might say here that for most people, you really need to return to the sacred word or some other sacred symbol like the breath as some people have found helpful, or an analogy of seeing or turning towards God inwardly, not seeing anything with the eyes, not with the imagination, but just a spiritual movement of opening to God's presence as if you were looking at someone you greatly loved. Any three of those symbols of our intentions are hallowed by the Christian tradition. We usually teach most through the use of the sacred word, 'cause for most people that fits in with our experience of listening to the word and liturgy and in Lectio Divina. So many feel at home with that, but the others are quite... are more than acceptable and some are better for others. But in any case, as we return to the sacred word, then, again and again, we're aware that we're affirming a different level of our awareness. You're cultivating the spiritual level of awareness. And in this sense, every time we move off a boat into that place you're renewing your love of God and so we can't judge prayer by how many thoughts we have, however much we're bombarded, but by how many times we went back to the sacred word and if we did that our prayer is very pleasing to God because we've made, you know, hundreds of acts of love and as you make acts of love like faith and theological hope the gifts grow in direct proportion to the depth, the increase of faith, hope and love. So they can't go wrong with this practice except there's two ways of going wrong. One is deliberately to engage in some interesting boat going by, the other is to get up and leave. The latter seems to be the favorite process of some people and so they never quite get rooted in the practice. When you're rooted in the practice, you cannot not do it. And this is a sign, this is precisely one of the signs of the gift of knowledge at work in us. Where you no longer have to find time to do the prayer. The prayer finds you, so to speak. So that doing a prayer twice a day just becomes second nature. You wouldn't even think of not doing it. That's the sign of the gift of the knowledge at work in you. The direct work of the Spirit. To get to that place you need a good deal of determination and creativity to set that habit in motion. An even more certain sign of the works of the Holy Spirit arises when during prayer with the thoughts going by, with your return to the sacred word, a third track emerges. And this is a track that distinguishes itself by the feeling of not wanting any thoughts and of being aware that you don't want any. In other words, there's an interior built detachment from following any of the boats that are going by on the superficial level of thought so that now you don't really need the sacred symbol to reaffirm your intention because secretly as Albert Isaac would say, you're established in your request for the Holy Spirit and you just want God and nothing else. And you're delicately aware of the fact manifested by a disinclination for any kind of thought that comes by. Notice I say a disinclination, not a resistance to any thought. Not a rejection of any thought which would be a choice or an act, but simply a freedom to ignore them all, to disregard them all. This again is the fruit of the gift of knowledge. The direct infusion of the Holy Spirit which is strengthening our weakness so that the true value of being with God during this particular time of prayer is so precious that there's no inclination to pursue a thought, or if there is, one quickly drops it. In any state, human weakness always a (). So I don't wanna make any absolutes here. But this is due to the fact that the Spirit is through the divine action and the gift of knowledge is gently attracting our will, our spiritual will so that without our knowing it, 'cause it's very most people don't experience what their will is actually doing they just... it's only the more outward or clumsy expressions of our own will that we recognize, but here we're talking about the will at the intuitive level, not on the level of understanding, reasoning or conscience which are the usual... the acts of the will that come through reason. We're talking now about the subtle interior act of the will that comes from the spiritual level of the will and its intuitive inspiration from the intuitive intellect. And so, there's ordinary thoughts, there's our awareness of returning to the sacred word and cultivating the spiritual level of our being. And then there's awareness that somehow God has grasped our will in such a way that we don't wanna do anything else but to stay in his presence, manifested by a lack... ease in letting go of any thoughts that go by. Well, there's a fourth track that you might have experienced. And this occurs when one loses the self conscious effort to remain in the presence of God and there's no self reflection. On the other levels, we may have occasionally the little thought well, prayer is going well today, or I'm very peaceful. These are thoughts and hence they hinder full union with God. In full union for a few moments, maybe a little longer, the most a half an hour, or maybe if you pray longer than half an hour you're in and out of it at certain degree over an hour or two. But anyway at this level, the Spirit grasps our will and our imagination the source of our thoughts and suspends them temporarily so that one might be filled without any obstructions or hindrances from human nature and the fault self with the divine presence. And this is like a kiss, it's been compared by mystics to that in which one is totally absorbed in the delight of God's presence so that there's no reflection on self at all. And so when one returns from that place, there's a sense of a kind of gap. When one is present in it, there is no way of reflecting. So, in a sense, it's only enjoyable when it ends. When you can reflect that it ends. But the wise... practitioner of Centering prayer will not engage in simply remembering this experience but welcome it with gratitude and go on before the boat starts crashing down the river about how wonderful you are and how far you're advancing in the spiritual life, or simply what happened. Normally that experience is so humbling in the best sense of the word. Not humiliating. But, humiliating is always felt as painful and shameful because what is humiliated is pride, but in this prayer there's no room for pride because one sees intuitively that only God counts anyway, so there's nothing to be proud about. And hence, it's humbling in the sense that it initiates us into the reality of who God is. Just wonderful, just magnificent, just immense, just tender, just absolute unconditional love. [Contemplative Gifts] I'm speaking now of the gift of wisdom... of gift of knowledge, excuse me and this has a very important relation to centering prayer because one of the purposes of centering prayer is to prepare you to enter into the () sense as soon as possible. Some people would rather take a little more time. But, the gift of knowledge is an intuition, it doesn't come through reason, into the fact that only God can satisfy our deepest longing for happiness. For goodness, beauty and truth to put it in a different way. What the gift of knowledge does is, it relativizes the energy that we put into the instinctual programs for happiness. What I've called the emotional programs for happiness that build themselves around the instinctual needs of security survival, power control, affection, esteem and pleasure. That are essential for our growth as infants and human beings and which get us through that difficult period of life. But which become exaggerated in the degree that the infant felt may not necessarily been true. That these important aspects of human life withdrawn from them and hence they had to go and find them for themselves as they got older. So that the compensatory process becomes more and more entrenched and more and more human energy then goes into finding in the culture or the environment that we happen to be in, the symbols that will satisfy never at fully, but seem to satisfy our desire, innate desire, to have an unlimited amount of pleasure, affection, esteem, power control or security. Obviously, since that is the nature of the fault self and everybody has one in the present scheme of things, you're in competition with everybody else on earth who's trying to do the same unfortunate but stupid thing. And so, it can't possibly work. And when it doesn't work then you feel frustrated, off go the afflictive emotions of grief, anger, discouragement and the rest, and when life becomes at issue, of desire, frustration, affliction, misery, discouragement, try again the same cycle. So the same recycling until... for some people it gets so miserable that they opt out with suicide or some other way of ending life such as total withdrawal and apathy or... other methods are total aggression that tries to dominate everybody and this causes enormous harm to humanity and so on. So, how great a favor could you possibly get than to have the Spirit of God, which the Spirit does in response to a centering prayer practice that is established. What greater gift can you have than to relativize the energy that is going into the daily frustration of our lives. What the Spirit says to us is you'll never find happiness in any of those instinctual need. They're just creatures. Creatures are designed to be stepping stones toward God not substitutes for God. And the Spirit then presents to us with the true object of happiness the true source of happiness that is experienced as intimate and present then oddly enough instead of rejoicing with so great a gift most of us go into a period of mourning but that's natural because whenever a human being loses something the loved greatly, or had a great investment in they always get sad, that's the nature. Any... the presence of anything considered evil always cause grief. And when you're frustrated in a energy center that thinks that security is the greatest thing on earth and you don't get it in some particular area then you go into mourning. Well, here the mourning is different. It's constructive, it's fruitful, because after you get used to the fact that God is the only source of happiness you have no more energy for these frustrating programs and you begin to then experience peace and the fruits of the Spirit, charity, joy and peace and the rest begin to emerge first. The ripe fruits of the Spirit are the beatitudes which are even greater dispositions. Dispositions of total freedom to be able to do God's will and not to be held back by the residue or the baggage that we've brought with us from early childhood and are still more or less dominated by. The Spirit also lays to rest our prejudices and biases that come from that period of () when we unquestionably absorb... the values of our culture, parents, ethnic group, religious... now there's a value in all those things, but it's the exaggeration of those values that pulls the energy from the search for God and hence into various forms of dead ends in one degree or another. In centering prayer too, comes the gift of understanding which is a penetration of the truths of faith in some degree. That may come during prayer but more likely outside the time of prayer. And these are not ordinary thoughts like boats, but they're rather impressions or insights that arise spontaneously and although its not the time to think about them, the effect of those lights or illuminations remain with us after the time of prayer in which time you certainly can enjoy and relish the wisdom or the penetration into faith that they bring. Usually, the gift of understanding enlightens the truths of faith such as we hear about in the Apostles Creed and long decrees. You may suddenly realize through a set of experience what the communion of saints actually means or a deeper penetration into what the Word of God became flesh. Those are just words, but the... contained in those words is a depth of reality that is just unfathomable, it's like the truths of faith are like the surface of the ocean. They point to the depths, they invite us to open ourselves to the depths. But if they don't show you what's underneath the surface unless the Spirit comes along and opens their meaning. So they're really pointers and it's the Spirit, the gift of understanding that sort of flushes out or spirits out if that's the nature of the intuition what is hidden, or contained, or suggested, or pointed to in the major truths of our Christian faith. Let's take a look now at the effects of centering prayer. Obviously these effects are going to be different depending on the track that you've experienced in centering prayer and how often. Just a final word about that, to get started on this journey it's important that those of you who are presenters or facilitators, or other forms of leadership need to encourage people in the very beginning to return to the sacred word almost continuously again, and again and again, but gently. Always open to the fact that there may be a few moments in which one is drawn into interior silence which we follow. But, since our imagination has been so habituated to non-stop thinking it takes a while to readjust the human organism to a kind of thinking that is not about things but is simply aware of things. In this context we might say those are fifth track in centering prayer beyond the level of occasional experiences of union in which one habitually is simply aware of the presence of God. Not as a judgmental form, not as a relational form in the sense of a conversation or even communing but as a ever present presence to everything we do and embracing non-judgmentally all reality including us and our thoughts during the prayer so that there is simply the awareness of God but not explained, simply experienced. Now, that awareness since it's so subtle and so present, can accompany us into daily life when it's full blown. Until that happens in daily life we need to make efforts there to be constantly reminded of the presence of God through an act of prayer sentence if that appeals to you, or through if you do Lectio Divina regularly in the morning by taking some word or phrase with you into your daily life and when you have a free moment, listening to it again, not thinking about it please, but listening to it so that the Spirit may nudge us so to speak into a new level of listening than we have enjoyed up till now. The Word of God in scripture is not something simply to be heard externally, it's something to be heard internally and when that happens it awakens the divine indwelling within us so that we become the word of God so to speak. Because the Word of God within us through the gifts of the Spirit is expressing the divine life, Christ's resurrection in us practically speaking, in the detail of daily life. That is fruit of the gift of wisdom. When our prayer becomes spiritually tasty, not in the sense of junk food, which is sometimes occurs in sensible consolation when you're doing discursive meditation or reflecting or at the liturgy... that's useful, but junk food is not as nourishing as the solid food, the manna of the desert, the pure bread of God and which really is the bread of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is meant to bring us to this awareness of the true bread which has come down from heaven, which is contemplative prayer in its purest sense, the gift of wisdom the gifts that Jesus himself experienced and as you know poured out on the disciples at Pentecost and became an intimate part of their lives. And it's this wisdom freely communicated in contemplative prayer that is the source of true ministry. We can do the best we can, help other people in different ways but the gift of wisdom is to be able to help people in God's way or to be an instrument through which God directly speaks to peoples hearts. Always with the view of initiating them into this process of... contemplative prayer which opens them also completely to the presence of God and God's action within us. The three contemplative gifts of the Spirit then are active within us from the moment that you seriously begin to do a regular practice of centering prayer.

Video Details

Duration: 31 minutes and 34 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Producer: Contemplative Outreach
Director: Contemplative Outreach
Views: 32
Posted by: castella on Nov 1, 2017

El Padre Thomas Keating reflexiona sobre los Dones contemplativos del Espíritu Santo: Ciencia, Entendimiento y Sabiduría, y los relaciona con la experiencia de la práctica de la Oración Centrante, a medida que ésta se va arraigando y desarrollando.

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