The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from Him. If we get rid of that thought, our troubles will be greatly reduced. We fail to believe that we are always with God and that He is part of every reality. The present moment, every object we see, our inmost nature are all rooted in Him. But we hesitate to believe this until personal experience gives us the confidence to believe in it. This involves the gradual development of intimacy with God. God constantly speaks to us through each other as well as from within. The interior experience of God’s presence activates our capacity to perceive Him in everything else–in people, in events, in nature. We may enjoy union with God in any experience of the external senses as well as in prayer.
Contemplative prayer is a way of awakening to the reality in which we are immersed. We rarely think of the air we breathe, yet it is in us and around us all the time. In similar fashion, the presence of God penetrates us, is all around us, is always embracing us. Our awareness, unfortunately, is no awake to that dimension of reality. The purpose of prayer, the sacraments, and spiritual disciplines is to awaken us.
–Father Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart