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Spiritual, But Not Religious? (with Father Thomas Keating)

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Uploaded on Sep 13, 2007

Religious, but not Spiritual?
Good News and Bad News from the World's Largest Religion

It takes a moment to reconcile oneself to the fact that the religious tradition of St. Francis and Mother Theresa is also the tradition of the Crusades and the Inquisition. Fr. Thomas Keating, considered one of the great contemplatives of our time, has spent a lifetime in the practice of Christianity, seeking and sharing its depths. The goal of the tradition, suggests Fr. Thomas in this week's video, is transformation—but transformation into what?

The answer depends on what stage of development you're at. Beyond becoming a better person (though your family and friends may thank you profusely), beyond even becoming a saint, Fr. Thomas suggests that the goal of the mature Christian life is to become no thing. As with any developmental sequence, the subject of one stage becomes the object of the subject of the next—in this case, until absolute Subjectivity itself. The problem—and the challenge—lie in the fact that, among its 2 billion adherents, relatively few are aware of Christianity's mystical tradition and contemplative path. Statements like "I'm spiritual, but not religious" actually come from a fairly evolved place, from which one rejects external aspects of the tradition, while still longing for its esoteric wisdom.




Integral spirituality offers an entirely new perspective on this question. From this perspective, we can see that although the stories of the world's religious traditions vary wildly, the contemplative experience is essentially similar. And from Integral, we can appreciate the stories for what they are, the first rung in a ladder of development—both our own development, and that of anyone on a similar path. In the end, no matter how profound the state in which we experience the divine, it is always interpreted from our stage of development.

Integral also points to the reality of our shadow, and points out that we might need something other than our contemplative practice to bring it into the light. Finally, Integral can help us both to transform into deeper stages of awareness and compassion, and to translate our current stage in the healthiest way possible.

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