Thomas Keating on Contemplation


What is the essence of contemplative prayer? The way of pure faith. Nothing else. You do not have to feel it, but you have to practice it. Open Mind Open Heart p. 11


[Contemplative prayer is the world in which] … our private, self-made worlds come to an end; a new world appears within and around us and the impossible becomes an everyday experience. Yet the world that prayer reveals is barely noticeable in the ordinary course of events. Open Mind Open Heart p. 13


Contemplative prayer is not so much the absence of thoughts as detachment from them. It is the opening of mind and heart, body and emotions—our whole being—to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond words, thoughts and emotions. Open Mind Open Heart p. 14


Contemplative prayer is the world in which God can do anything.… It is to be open to the Infinite and hence to infinite possibilities. Open Mind Open Heart p. 13


The quality of prayer rather than its quantity is what matters. A single moment of divine union is more valuable than a long period of prayer during which you are constantly in and out of interior silence. It only takes a moment for God to enrich you. Open Mind Open Heart p. 57


The desire to go to God, to open to His presence within us, does not come from our initiative. We do not have to go anywhere to find God because He is already drawing us in every conceivable way into union with Himself. It is rather a question of opening to an action that is already happening in us. Open Mind Open Heart p. 46


This much is certain, that once we make up our minds to seek God, he is already seeking us much more eagerly, and he is not going to let anything happen to prevent his purpose. Heart of the World p. 41


Life … in union with God … is full of surprises. You can be sure whatever you expect to happen will not happen. That is the only thing of which you can be certain in the spiritual journey. Open Mind Open Heart p. 105



Keating, T. (1997). Active Meditations for Contemplative Prayer (pp. 11–19). New York; London; New Delhi; Sydney: Bloomsbury.


© 2020 by Robert Barnett