What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? …
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through God who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death,
nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ.
- Romans 8:35, 37-39
We learned at the beginning of Part 5 that God doesn't just show love, but God is love. As we deepen in the understanding of awakening to divine union, we see what this also means: we are love.
In the spiritual journey, we are undergoing a course of treatment for the human condition, a near-universal state of amnesia. In Manifesting God, Fr. Thomas says, "The purpose of the Divine Therapy is to enable us to become who we are. We may be scared of being who we are."
In Matthew 10:39, Jesus addresses this: he tells each of us that when we try to save our life — that is even when we’re over-identified with who we think we are (our separate, separative-self or the dream of what we are), ultimately we will lose that so-called "life."
As Fr. Thomas says, "The self has no future."
"The second half of the saying is 'One who brings himself to naught for me discovers who he is.' The true Self is limitless in its spiritual capacity. To bring oneself to no-thing, that is, to no particular thing, is to let go of over-identification with one's body, feelings, thoughts, and one's inmost self, as well as friends, relatives, property, and roles. It also means moderating our exaggerated desires for the gratification of our emotional programs for happiness. The Divine Therapy is designed to enable us to negotiate this healing process according to genetic and temperamental factors, our personality and the circumstances of our lives. An enormous Intelligence is guiding us through this process with a love that is unconditional and determined to bring about this healing, whatever the cost to Itself."
- Thomas Keating, Manifesting God
The practices of Centering Prayer and the Work of Inner Christianity bless each of us with the extraordinary opportunity to awaken and to be a junior partner with God in transforming our Being and our life, that we might die before we die and be re-born into whole, free, creative cells in the one body of Christ. We are becoming what we really are.
Nevertheless, if we have concerns about the complete personal diminishment that Jesus prescribes, "Fear not!" — as we are told again and again in the Gospels. Fr. Thomas, who often spoke of the dying process as he neared the end of his life, tells us not to worry. Even in the final moments, the "enormous Intelligence" that is guiding us with so much love and determination helps us to surrender any fear and to trust in the power of grace. Our transformation into love will be completed by God in God's good time.
"I have come to believe that the time of dying effects a transformation from perceived tragedy to experienced grace. Beyond that, I think this transformation is a universal process. Although relatively unexamined, the Nearing Death Experience has profound implications. Dying offers the possibility of entering the radiance, the vastness, of our Essential Nature, at least for a few precious moments . . .
"The Nearing Death Experience implies a natural and conscious remerging with the Ground of Being from which we have all once unconsciously emerged. A transformation occurs from the point of terror at the contemplation of the loss of our separate, personal self to a merging into the deep, nurturing, ineffable experience of Unity."
- Kathleen Dowling Singh, The Grace in Dying: A Message of Hope, Comfort, and Spiritual Transformation
Video Reflections: View the video excerpt "What is the Divine Therapy?, Part 1" This excerpt is about 29 minutes in length. You will find it and a transcript here. If you would like to stream or Chromecast this video, use this link.
Examen: Have you experienced Divine Therapy in your journey? Are you learning to trust the Divine Therapist with your process of healing and awakening? Can you observe any fear about the transformative process? If so, practice non-identification with the feelings and sensations. The Welcoming Prayer is a helpful practice here.
Resources for Optional Further Study:
- Chapter 12, "What is the Divine Therapy?" from Manifesting God.
- An archive of previous emails may be found here.