I remember the year Father Thomas Keating came to speak at Naropa University. I, quite by accident, happened to meet him as he was coming down a long dark hallway. Here was this tall, commanding figure dressed in the white robes of a Trappist monk. Yet what really touched me was a deeper presence that quite honestly left me dumbstruck.
The encounter was brief but the awe remains. Having heard the news of his passing, this poem stirred inside my heart.
You will never really be gone
Because you live in our hearts forever.
I still remember that time
When I met you in the hall.
Your commanding presence
Left me speechless,
Which is after all the place where you
Encouraged us to dwell – in silence.
Your talk that night
Left quite an impression.
I still remember how jokingly you called God
”Since God is all things and no thing,”
”I have to ask,
In that moment, my heart sang.
I felt liberated from the dogma
Of my own conditioned mind.
I realized we can ask these questions.
God doesn’t care.
For God is love
Amidst the doldrums of fear,
And God is a comfort
Drying the aching flow of tears,
And God is who I saw that night
Shining brightly in your eyes so clear.
Thank you, Father Thomas,
For all that you taught us.
Thank you as well for all that you gave.
I’m confident I’ll see walking the halls again some day,
For nothing can hold you,
Not even the grave.
Contemplative Light offers classes on Contemplative Practices, like centering prayer, The Jesus Prayer, and Lectio Divina.