As we mature spiritually and are ready for deeper and more expansive experience, so much that religion focuses on—propositional statements of belief and messaging that leads us to believe “If we do this practice or that amount of good, we will be ‘saved’”—can begin to hinder our connection. Using the phrase attributed to Jesus that “the kingdom of God is within [us]” (Luke 17:21) as an entry point into a discussion of deeper forms of spirituality taught in and urged by the scriptures, as well as the inner call of our own spirits, this two-part episode focuses on the vitality of direct experience with the Spirit—our true, divine selves in the presence of God. What ideas and mis-identifications keep us from these experiences? What are the effects that follow in our lives from having them? How do we put ourselves in a position (techniques and attitudes) to have them?
If you’re feeling “stuck” or unsatisfied, that something in your spiritual life is “missing,” please join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists Phil McLemore and Nathan Kline on an exploration of ideas about our natures and the spiritual heart of religion and the kinds of practices that nudge us toward something more fulfilling, concepts and disciplines that help move us from an identification with and desire to perfect the “natural man” to a realization of our true spiritual essence, from a life dominated by fear and a craving to be “in control” to one of centered in love and leading to a desire for oneness.
Part 1 focuses on theory; Part 2 on practice (especially “centering prayer” and meditative disciplines).
Please listen and give us your thoughts below!
By Carol Lynn Pearson
I read a map once
Saying the kingdom of God
Was within me.
But I never trusted
Such unlikely ground.
I went out.
I scoured schools
And chapels and temples
And other people’s eyes
And the skies and the rocks.
And I found treasures
From the kingdom’s treasury
But not the kingdom.
Finally I came in quiet
For a rest
And turned on the light.
Just like a surprise party
Was all the smiling royalty–
King, Queen, court.
People have been
Locked up for less, I know.
But I tell you
Is bordered by this skin:
I am a castle
And the kingdom of God
On Centering Prayer
Bourgeault, Cynthia. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening. Plymouth, UK.: Cowley, 2004. (Amazon link)
Study Guide for Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (free download)
Keating, Thomas. Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer. New York: Crossroad, 1994 (2009). (Amazon link)
Keating, Thomas. Open Mind Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel. New York: Continuum, 1986 (2011). (Amazon link)
Willard, Dallas. The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. New York: HarperOne, 1990. (Amazon link)
Phil McLemore articles and interview
“Hindering the Saints: Taking Away the Key of Knowledge,” Sunstone, September 2012. (Link to purchase magazine issue)
“The Yoga of Christ,” Sunstone, June 2007. (Free download)
“Mormon Mantras: A Journey of Spiritual Transformation,” Sunstone, April 2006. (Free download)
A Mormon’s Spiritual Transformation through Meditation and the Hindu Yogic Tradition, Mormon Stories Podcast, Episodes 246-249, March 2011, interview with Phil McLemore conducted by Andrew Ainsworth (Free download)