21: Pre-Rational Energy Centers, Part 1

Hilma af Klint, The Dove, No. 13, Group IX/UW, 1915

“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


Sing for joy, O heavens and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his suffering ones.
– Isaiah 49:13


Fr. Thomas introduces us to the antidote to our programs for happiness — the Beatitudes. He says, “The beatitudes are the quintessence of the teaching of Jesus. They represent his comprehensive approach to happiness.”

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.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
– Matthew 5:3-12

To Practice
  • View the video excerpt: “Pre-Rational Energy Centers, Part 1.” It is about is about 21 minutes in length.
  • Spend some time with the Beatitudes. Read them slowly and mindfully, 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.

. 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T46SJQ8Cqbc


“Pre-Rational Energy Centers, Part 1,” excerpted from The Spiritual Journey Part 2, 24.3 mins.
For English captions and auto-translation of subtitles, watch here on YouTube:
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Audio for this Narrative

"Pre-Rational Energy Centers, Part 1," excerpted from The Spiritual Journey Part 2, 24.3 mins.
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Resources for Further Study:
You may wish to read Chapters 18 and 19 in Invitation to Love (20th Anniversary Edition), Chapters 17 and 18 in earlier editions.

Additional Resources