Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel

ISBN: 0826418899
ISBN 13: 9780826418890
By: Thomas Keating

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About this book

This is the 20th anniversary edition of Continuum's best-selling spiritual classic, which has sold over half a million in the English language and has appeared in 10 foreign-language editions (Croatian, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesia, Italian, Korean, Polish, and Portuguese). The new edition consists of a substantial new preface, an expanded glossary, some changes in terminology, and a reordering of several chapters.

Reader's Thoughts

Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

I do not spend enough time in prayer. When I do, I am always happy that I have. If you have had bad experiences with church, this is the book for you. You will look at everything in the world in a better and a bigger way.

Mark Wills

A classic read for anyone interested in starting Centering Prayer or Lectio Divina. It sets a good foundation for the practice of contemplation.


I attended a seminar on Contemplative Prayer back in the Fall of 2010 and really fell in love with the method. In the meantime, this book was recommended to me as a sort of Beginner's Guide to Centering Prayer. It's really a beautiful book to meditate on for 10 or 15 minutes every day. It took me awhile to read it because I didn't feel called to just sit and read it for hours on end. But it's a great introduction to Centering Prayer, albeit a little vague to put into practice. I think, however, that's the nature of the method of prayer.

Lance Eads

I read this book back around 1997-98 when I was looking to deepen my relationship with Christ. I was disillusioned with a lot of the mainstream dogma of Christianity at the time and I began reading a lot of books on prayer and on the workings of the Holy Spirit, written by authors of different denominations and with different approaches. This book, along with some by Matthew Fox, really struck a chord with me. The idea that prayer could be listening as well as talking was something that hadn't occurred to me before, and it led me to read more books on contemplative prayer from authors both modern and ancient. I realize that contemplative prayer is very controversial these days, but it has a history that goes back at least to the Desert Fathers, and depending on your understanding of certain Bible passages, possibly back to the Apostles and to Jesus himself. In any case, I find contemplative prayer very enriching to my spiritual life and I would recommend it, and this book, to anyone.


This is written by one of the earlier contemporary leaders of contemplative prayer and meditation practices. Keating is a Catholic priest who in the mid-1980s defined and promoted this way of being and thinking. Now it is common to find many books on the subject of mindfulness, a related thought process.The anniversary edition has been updated to reflect current language and practices. Covers methods as well as spiritual reflections and historical information.This is a book to read in a quiet place. Reading a chapter and then reflecting provides a manageable and meaningful experience. Nicely laid out, some intellectual wording at times, but overall warm in tone.


An introduction to Centering Prayer by the founder of Contemplative Outreach. Locates Centering Prayer in the history of contemplatiave prayer in the Christian Church, which was very helpful for me. Gives beginning instructions and answers to common questions for those beginning a contemplative prayer practice.

Adam B.

An easy to read introduction to the Christian tradition of Contemplative Prayer, with practical suggestions on how to integrate it into your life.


I've actually met Keating a time or two while practicing Contemplative Prayer at Christ Centered Ministries. Both my agreeing and disagreeing with his points are essential introductions to how I practice the Jesus Prayer in hesychastic fashions.

Milan Homola

Most practical spot on book I've read for tapping into that type of daily close walk with Jesus which seems so uncommon. It has helped me in so many ways. I can truly say this book is a breathe of fresh air in a culture of repetitive fluff.


I came to this book overflowing with questions about contemplative prayer, and Keating simply and gently answered all of them. This is a great practical guide to contemplative prayer.

Mason Wren

A great guide in learning the practice of centering prayer. Very practical, simple, and helpful. Lots of practical wisdom and advise through the included question ad answer sections after each chapter.


Thomas Keating has written a very accessible book on the hows and whys of contemplative prayer. Keating unashamedly asserts that centering prayer or contemplative prayer is the way to come into a direct encounter with the Living God. While I found Keating's methods very helpful in understanding how to do centering prayer, i am not convinced this is the best or only best way to experience God. Even so for doing centering prayer, this was a very helpful guide.

Sheryl Valentine

I was introduced in "centering prayer" several months ago, and actually the practice is similar to a form of meditation I used to practice and had got away from. Returning to it over the last few months as a Self-Abidance practice has made and is making a major difference for me! This practice has truly introduced me to the blissful, Present, peaceful Self that is here now and that is What I AM! Thomas Keating has written many books on the subject and this one is great for an introduction and contains loads of inspirational material.He writes: "Contemplative prayer is a process on interior transformation, a conversation initiated by God and leading, if we consent, to divine union. ...WE let go of own idea of ourselves and resting in the Divine Indwelling that is already present within us and waiting to reveal itself to us. Regular periods of silence and solitude can dispose us to extend our consent to God's presence to every moment of our waking lives and thus reduce the influences of the false self [ego]."


Stellar. A clear, wise and practical guidebook of the beginnings of contemplative prayer ("centering prayer"). A critical resource to lay people interested in integrating monastic and contemplative aspects into their daily life. The dialogue of question and answer (on very practical matters involving contemplative prayer) at the end of each chapter is particularly useful. His instruction to practice twenty to thirty minutes twice a day is a challenge, but a needed one - even once a day begins to bear fruit in unexpected moments where a silent and peaceful glory infuses reality.A very solid guidebook into the darkness that is the mystery of God's silent, loving dwelling.


I never considered meditation a Christian discipline. This details how it was very much a practice in the early Church. I'm eager to try this form of "prayer"/mediation that I hope will fulfill this statement: "Be still and know that I am there"

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