When I slow myself down I remember I am a divine being. One way I slow myself down is through the practice of centering prayer. I have practiced centering prayer since June 1, 2014.
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The recommended guidelines are twice per day, twenty minutes each time. Previously, I dabbled with centering prayer. For a few months, I practiced once per night. Each session lasted no longer than ten minutes. I knew this was not enough. I knew God called me. I knew God wanted me to experience more and more of Her Spirit.
On June 1, 2014, I decided to stop the experiments. I decided to consent to the presence and action of God within. I knew that the only way to do this was to follow the recommended guidelines.
I now center first thing before I begin my day. My second session is usually in the evening. Each time I center, I am refreshed. I call this time “my sit with Jesus.” My sacred word is a mental picture of Jesus from an icon.
As my thoughts wander or my emotions reflect about the past day or upcoming events, I ever so gently return to this mental image to bring me back to the purpose for centering. I consent to the presence and action of God within.
I allow myself to enter the fourth stage of prayer that I read about in a recent blog article, Finding Your Inner Room by Irwin J. Boudreaux. The first three stages are: One – We speak, God listens, Two – God Speaks, we listen, Three – No one speaks, both listen.
Centering Prayer is a practice which leads me into contemplative prayer or the fourth stage, No one speaks, no one listens. I simply rest in God. I let God act in me. Do I know what God will do? No, I do not. My job is to simply rest and trust. How God acts within me, will reveal itself in my non-silent actions throughout the day.
Many times throughout the day, I ever so gently return to my sacred symbol when I find my thoughts and emotions distract me from what I need to do. I re-center myself even during my non-centering portion of the day. When I find myself become anxious, angry or frustrated, I mentally visualize my sacred symbol and bring myself back to the task at hand.
During Centering Prayer, I consent to the Divine so the big D and me, the little d, simply sit with each other. We become united. During my non silent parts of the day, I do the same. My little d recognizes that I need to become one with the big D. I mentally visualize my sacred symbol and allow myself to become united with God. At that moment I can get back to the task at hand. At that moment I partner with God to accomplish the tasks ahead.
Fruits of Centering Prayer
Since I began my centering prayer practice I have noticed a few new things about myself. I am much calmer. Yes, I still become anxious, nervous, frustrated and upset just like everyone else. Yet, I notice that I am able to re-center myself much more quickly and resume whatever tasks are in front of me. I no longer panic when I have an enormous list of tasks that need to get done in a short period of time.
For example, at work, I will have at least 20 or more items that need to get done. I find that I am able to calmly review my list and one by one make my way through this list. At the end of each day, I am always amazed by what I have accomplished. I know the calmness and fluidity of this process is because of my centering prayer practice! God and I partner throughout the day.
Centering prayer slows me down. I bring this slowness into my daily life. I am calm yet more productive. I am calm and make wiser decisions. Because I am calm and make wiser decisions, I am able to get more done. It is a paradox. When I work faster and harder I will get more done. I find this is not true. When I work slowly but with a calm intensity, I am always more productive.
What fruits of centering prayer have you noticed?
Visit my Start Here Page to learn more about Centering Prayer.
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault
The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice by Cynthia Bourgeault
Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating
Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition by Thomas Keating
The Path of Centering Prayer by David Frenette
One on One Coaching with Rich
Does this sound like you?
“I am bored with my life?”
“I am not doing the things that I want to do in all areas of my life:”
-career, personal, family, community.
I feel unfulfilled, like I am just going through the motions everyday.
I have dreams and goals, but I am afraid to show up and take action on them.
I don’t want years to pass and be disappointed when I look back on my life.
Integrating Centering Prayer practice with your everyday life addresses all of these thoughts.
Do you want to obtain the freedom to become your true self, the person I’m created to be?
How do I create a long lasting and sustainable centering prayer practice?
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions.
I will work with you to setup a program designed to meet your specific needs.
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