A REFLECTION ON CENTERING PRAYER’S CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND
Inspired by Thomas Keating’s conceptual background for Centering Prayer, this book begins by using the biblical story of Adam and Eve to describe four basic parameters that frame the universal human condition. These parameters or “Fruits of the Fall” are: death/change, sex/desire, good/evil choices and our existential aloneness/incompleteness apart from God. Within the framework of these parameters we experience our basic instinctual needs and their distortions into emotional programs for happiness—which happens when needs are wounded, unmet, or perceived as unmet.
Human Ground, Spiritual Ground identifies our basic inborn needs as security/survival/safety; sensation/pleasure; affection/esteem/approval; power/control; and intimacy/belonging. These needs pertain to both our human and spiritual growth. The book describes them in detail, giving examples of their healthy expressions as well as their pathological distortions into self-centered agendas for happiness that form the basis of the false-self system, the key to all of which is our inner motivation.
In addition to describing the primary obstacles to human spiritual growth, Human Ground, Spiritual Ground addresses how these unconscious obstacles are overcome through the daily practice of Centering Prayer and the divine action working in us and in our life. The ultimate fruit of this inner purification, healing and transformation process is the shifting of our inner center of identity from human ground into spiritual ground and our life in Christ—which is participation in the divine consciousness.
See also Kess Frey's more recent work for Portal Books, Centering Prayer and Rebirth in Christ on the Tree of Life: The Process of Inner Transformation (2013).
C O N T E N T S:
Foreword by Fr. Carl J. Arico
1. Our Lost Paradise
2. Fruits of the Fall
3. Hole in the Soul and Sex / Desire
4. Good / Evil in Human Ground
5. Our Basic Needs, Part One
6. Our Basic Needs, Part Two
7. Our Basic Needs, Part Three
8. False Self and Happiness Programs, Part One
9. False Self and Happiness Programs, Part Two
10. Intimacy / Belonging and Happiness Programs
11. Identity Quest and Cultural Conditioning
12. Cultural Conditioning and Identity Shift
KESS FREY, born in 1945, grew up in Eagle Rock, California (North Los Angeles). He graduated in Psychology at the University of California, Irvine, and has studied Eastern and Western philosophy, psychology, and religion since 1965. He met Thomas Keating in 1989 and has been involved with Centering Prayer ever since. Mr. Frey lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where he offers introductory Centering Prayer workshops, facilitates prayer groups and retreats, and is active in prison ministry. Kess is the author of Human Ground, Spiritual Ground: Paradise Lost and Found: A Reflection on Centering Prayer’s Conceptual Background
(Portal Books, 2012) and Centering Prayer and Rebirth in Christ on the Tree of Life: The process of Inner Transformation
(Portal Books, 2013).
Fr. Carl J. Arico is a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. A founding member of the Contemplative Outreach Spiritual Network and vice president of Contemplative Outreach Ltd., he has been active in the Centering Prayer movement since 1975.