“I recently read Tools Matter: Beginning the Spiritual Journey.  I walk away with two actions that I can immediately implement. I hope you find them helpful too.
Watching Our Thoughts
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“This watching of our thoughts is probably the most effective way of managing our thoughts.” I am not my thoughts. I can step away from my thoughts and observe them. I can acknowledge their presence. What do they tell me? They might inform me that I feel worried, anxious, angry, lonely, sad or unconfident. This is not who I am. This is how I feel and I will be best served if I let them go. “We are not our thoughts. If we do not think about them and go into the commentary and the emotional valences attached to these thoughts, they simply dissolve like a vapor in the air.”
“The practice of manual labor is when each touch of the hand to the device of labor is single-minded; God springs up and there’s Presence.” God is in all of my work. When I clean the dishes, vacuum the family room, and help my child with his homework, God is present. At work, when I read my multiple emails, perform the same task over and over and over again, or respond to an angry client, God springs up and is present. God is in both the smallest and the largest tasks. God is in both the exciting and mundane functions I perform. Why wouldn’t He be. This forces me to think differently about all of my daily tasks. If God is present then I need to be present, focused and do all work to the best of my ability!
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Tools Matter: Beginning the Spiritual Journey by Mary Margaret Funk
Thoughts Matter: Discovering the Spiritual Journey (The Matters Series) by Mary Margaret Funk
Discernment Matters: Listening with the Ear of the Heart (The Matters Series) by Mary Margaret Funk
 Mary Margaret Funk, Tools Matter: Beginning the Spiritual Journey, (Liturgial Press): 2013
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
I just finished Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community by Daniel P. Coleman and The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner. I am currently reading Intimacy with God: An Introduction To Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.