Father Thomas Keating

February 17, 2001 in San Francisco

Father Thomas Keating, a spiritual leader of the Centering Prayer movement and a founder of Contemplative Outreach, spoke in San Francisco on February 17, 2001 at St. Gregory Nyssen Church. He spoke on "unloading" of the unconscious and the fruits of the Spirit.

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Morning Session

1 hour 5 min


Real Audio format
Afternoon Session

58 min


Real Audio format



28 min


Real Audio format


“Unloading” is familiar to practitioners of Centering Prayer and of other contemplative practices. In Father Thomas' words, it is the process of “releasing the emotional junk of a lifetime.” A lifetime of emotional pain -- perhaps fear, anger, resentment or mistrust of God and of life -- emerges into consciousness, sometimes quickly but more usually, gradually. During our times of prayer, in spite of our hopes of finding an obvious peace, we may be bombarded with surprising thoughts, dark emotions, and painful memories. We become aware of our hidden deep motives, of our fears, resentments, and attachments. Simultaneously — and this is the good news — while unloading, we eventually come face to face with Christ the Healer who works with us as we are and accepts us now. Being loved unconditionally provides the confidence to replace our distorted values with the values of the Gospel. The act of faith required at this time of purification is simply to hang on -- to consent to this process of deep healing and to believe that God is not trying to kill us but to heal us. The fruits of the Spirit are ways in which the Spirit enriches our lives.

The fruits of the Spirit “are the new wine of the Gospel filling us with the divine energy and with a certain spontaneity. [T]his freedom . . . is not license, but an ever-increasing sensitivity to the initiatives of the Holy Spirit. The hallmark of the divine action is, to quote Thomas Merton- ‘mercy, within mercy, within mercy’”. (Summer 1999, Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. Newsletter).

Thanks to Quinton Gooden and Vik Slen for their generosity in taping the event and to Quinton for hosting the webstreaming.