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Monday March 11 –  Oh, How Happy You Would Be ...  
"A whole program of self-centered concerns has been built up around our instinctual needs and have become energy centers -- sources of motivation around which our emotions, thoughts, behavior patterns circulate like planets around the sun. Whether consciously or unconsciously, these programs for happiness influence our view of the world and our relationship with God, nature, other people and ourselves. This is the situation that Jesus went into the desert to heal."
- Thomas Keating, Journey to the Center
How do we, as Jesus modeled, "go into the desert," to work with temptations to succumb to our habitual responses to thoughts, circumstances and people who trigger the energies of security, affection and control?
"I have a right not to be negative."
- Work aphorism
As negative emotions arise, instead of acting on them (which might give some small, temporary relief), we pause; we feel the sensations in our bodies; we observe the thoughts and emotions without self-criticism. Ironically by accepting — even embracing — the present moment just as it is, we can relax and surrender it to God.
"So every one of you [can] say … 'I can work,' because this is what we can do. I can remember myself according to my own level; I can separate from negative emotions according to my own state and my own level; I can stop making internal accounts; I can practice non-identifying; I can stop fantasies; I can stop self-justifying; and so on. [E]ven if it is only for a short time … you are working … and you will change your level of Being, not downwards, but upwards, not outwards, but inwards, and through this you will come under different influences, better influences, influences in other words that belong to your next level of Being …"
- Maurice Nicoll, "On Changing Our Level of Being," Commentaries, Vol. 2
As we begin to awaken from the sleep of our compulsive reactions, we begin to make space to experience the joy — always present, yet obscured — that is promised in the Beatitudes.
A Meditation -- The Beatitudes
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
- Matthew 5:3-12
To Practice

- View the video excerpt: "The Human Condition: The Pre-Rational Energy Centers." This excerpt is about 23 minutes in length and can be found on this page along with a transcript.

- Spend some time with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12.) Read them slowly and mindfully, perhaps aloud, pausing if a word or phrase attracts you or stands out for you. Ponder what this word or phrase might mean for you in your life today. Notice any feeling, thought or prayer that rises up from your heart. Share your ponderings in your journal or your Journey Group. 
Resources for Further Study:
  • Chapters 18 and 19 in Invitation to Love (20th Anniversary Edition), Chapters 17 and 18 in earlier editions.
  • For an esoteric view of the Beatitudes and the Kingdom of Heaven, read "On Changing Our Level of Being, " in Volume 2 of the Commentaries, page 729
  • Fr. Thomas often speaks of the "triune brain." For explanation of this, you may want to watch this YouTube video, which is about six minutes in length:  
An archive of previous emails may be found here.
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