When we look at Sufism, we are coming back to some of the transformational wisdom of Jesus. Learning from Sufism is not going away from Christianity, but returning to it far more intimately.

Once the heart begins to open and once you have begun to establish this tether of obedience by which you can align with the Divine, the other gifts begin to unfold in their time, as needed and as is compatible with your own personality, lighting up the beauty of your own finite being with the qualities of the Divine and Infinite which will express themselves in your finite being like light shining through cut glass.

Dare to trust what begins to emerge. We know but we back off from what we know. We can’t stay present to that level of truth that we really recognize as the core of our being. If we could, we would flow as our true self which only exists as it flows beautifully and gracefully.

It is the pattern of your own being that flows out from the alignment of the heart toward God. But we fall off that, because we want to bring our false self along with us. We forget that we know that we know how to know what we know. But it comes back. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall off. Something is sustained and it will carry you.

Matthew 6:5,6 – read at 2 levels:

1. outer level – don’t pray to be seen. But let your prayer be in secret ie. in sincerity.

2. metaphor for what happens in the passage from the kataphatic to the apophatic. We close the door to the outer faculties. The room is the heart, our spiritual awareness. We go into our centre and close the door to the outer world and pray in secret. In this prayer we don’t know what is going on. The secret is from ourselves. When we try to get at the secret, we are caught in self-reflection.

You are relinquishing your right to a personal cognitive experience of the Divine. This is where this prayer is pushing. The only way you can get beyond the experience/experiencer dualism is to give up the right to have the experience.

When the subject/object dualism drops out we lose the ability to stand back and perceive the mountain and say “Aha, how beautiful it is,” so that we don’t even know that God is even there anymore. God has collapsed. There is no longer any inside and outside. We simply step inside love and are lost in it and flow out of it into the world. We sense some sort of deeper grounding where we are being held. We simply enter without even any claim to bring something back with us.

In most meditation schools, the “I am” presence is important. The goal is to be present in a deep way in your deep personal “I am” and not to lose your grip on that personal consciousness.

We have to admit that to experience the “I am” is one of the powerful and important experiences of personal consciousness. To feel the “I am” presence is the be-all and end-all of many spiritualities, the fundamental reverberation of being itself.

Most meditation practices aim at clear mind to connect with pure being consciousness. This lies behind Christian Meditation – you have to stay present, to attain to a state of conscious pure presence which is the full realization of your individual personalized participation in Divine being.

“Sinking mind” is when there are no thoughts but also nobody is present. It is a wonderful haze but a trap which takes you away form the clear mind you are aiming towards.

In Centering Prayer (CP) the goal is to go beyond conscious presence. What is the state beyond presence itself?

Sara Sviri The Taste of Hidden Things – 4 types of prayer

1. prayer of the tongue – can be mechanical

2. prayer of the heart – personal affectivity begins to be engaged, begin to be in touch with your yearning = level of “oratio”

3. prayer of seer/secret – corresponds to entry into apophatic prayer. The “I am” fundamentally resounds in you.

4. prayer of the ruh/spirit – level at which spirit within contemplates God in total cognitive silence. What goes on in the spirit is a secret even from the conscious self = the ultimate apophatic state and you have to trust it. Have to come back because, having reached that place, you as a practitioner have a responsibility to become conscious, to allow that which has been carried and which is going on like a secret fire in the heart of your holy of holies to reverberate in your being by saying “I am,” by being aware, by practicing presence.

CP without a vessel of presence around it can collapse into a psychological yen.