The Four Consents

In his Spiritual Journey series of retreat conference lectures, Fr. Keating speaks of four (4) “consents” that an individual is expected to make at certain stages of life, in order to develop fully into a spiritually mature human person.

[The above video is available from our YouTube channel.]


Summary of “The Four Consents”

Consent Nature or Purpose Age
1.  LIFE To accept and affirm the basic goodness of our being and that of life. 1 – 11 yrs
To allow the full development of our being: to affirm our capacities to do or become, biological growth, the goodness of others, and spiritual transcendence eventually 11 – 22 yrs
3.  NON-BEING To let go and release our humanhood, viz:
physical aging, illnesses, death.
Middle Age
To welcome and allow the demise of the false self system. 50 onward


Ideally, the appropriate consent should be made during the stage of life to which that consent pertains. Furthermore, the prior consent(s) is needed to progressively facilitate and help enable the individual to make and fulfill the succeeding consent(s).

However, life events, circumstances, situations and conditions can impair the making of a particular consent at any given stage. When this happens, succeeding consents may become compromised or affected negatively in varying degrees.

In the second part of Fr. Keating’s lecture, he shares his recollection of a member of their religious order whom he knew personally. He reflects on how the person’s life exemplified the consents he was discussing.

[The above video is available from our YouTube channel.]

(The preceding material is an excerpt taken from our site page titled The Realization of Truth.)

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About Marc of Contemplative Pathways

Marc teaches contemplative meditation in the context of "contemporary mysticism" under the style of "Contemplative Pathways." His spiritual work is backed by a profound understanding of mystical teachings and the mystical life, that is rooted in fifty (50) years of personal study, practice and spiritual unfoldment (inner realization and spiritual experience).  In the course of his spiritual journey, he has received the gifts of mystical discernment and spiritual transmission. Marc has been conducting classes and meetings on contemporary mysticism and meditation at the San Francisco Bay Area for over fifteen years, usually in a classroom, lecture, seminar, workshop, online meeting, or group practice setting. He has facilitated study groups and workshops for centering/contemplative meditation practice meetings since the 1980s. Marc's teaching work meaningfully shifts consciousness in students through the process of spiritual transmission and mystical transformation.  He enables others to embark on the spiritual journey by understanding the Truth teaching and by living its principles in their daily lives. His methodology of instruction is divinely inspired and firmly rooted in pure, authentic mysticism.  Marc's approach to the subject of contemporary mysticism is essentially nondenominational, nonsectarian, culturally interfaith, transreligious, definitively unitive, and unequivocally nondualistic. Within the context of the great shift in consciousness presently occurring all over the planet, Marc’s work focuses on individual and collective spiritual instruction and transformation. He promotes the practice of contemplation or meditation as the vehicle for spiritual transcendence and ascension to the higher dimensions of mystical consciousness. His other contributions to worldwide spiritual awakening and the global contemplative movement include spiritual mentoring, spiritual direction, and spiritual healing work. Marc is firmly committed to the vision of a global spiritual awakening and the divine promise of humanity’s mystical illumination. His brand of mysticism is the only true contemporary mysticism born of 21st century illumination and spirituality.  
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