“When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,…
(Matthew 6: 6).
Last week I provided a summary of Centering Prayer. I mentioned the four steps of Centering Prayer. Today I will discuss Step 1.
Select a sacred word as the symbol of your intent to open yourself to God’s presence and action within.
It is best to keep it simple. Choose a word with one to three syllables. You might select: Jesus, love, ocean or peace for example. When I first began to practice centering prayer I used the word “Jesus”. I also recall that I used the words “love” and “let go”.
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Some people choose an interior image rather than a word. I receive the Richard Rohr daily meditations. On a past meditation I noticed a Jesus icon. I began to use this image as an interior sacred image to use during my practice. To this day, I continue to use this sacred interior image.
Amos Smith uses the sacred glance. When my fifteen year old daughter sits with me, she does too. The sacred glance is performed with the eyes open. You simply stare at a spot three to five feet in the distance as a way to bring your self back to the Presence.
Lastly, some people use the sacred breath method. They return again and again to their breath as a means to bring them back to the purpose of their sit: to open to the presence and action of God within.
Cynthia Bourgeault reminds us, “A sacred word merely serves as a placeholder for your intention.”
David Frennete mentions, “the sacred word is sacred because it expresses your intention to consent to God’s presence and action.”
I also like what David Frenette says, “You gradually become a sacred word yourself, silently spoken by God to the world around you.“
It is best to use the same sacred method during your silent sit. If you find that you want to change it, that is fine, use your new sacred method for your next sit. As I mentioned, I remember that I used three different words before I settled on the sacred image. I will continue to let the Spirit nudge me.
I am a visual person. That is probably why I gravitated to a sacred image. If you are an auditory learner you might do better with a sacred word. If you are a kinesthetic learner, the sacred breath might work best too.
Next week I will discuss Step 2:
Sit comfortably, close your eyes and internally repeat the sacred word slowly and silently.
I hope you will continue to join me over the next three weeks.
David Frenette, The Path of Centering Prayer
Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God
Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition
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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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer re-energized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. This 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, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.
The Contemplative Journey (Volume I) is Father Thomas Keating’s great masterwork: a complete curriculum devoted to a Christian path for achieving the still point of resting in God.
Learn More About:
- The complete history, theory, and daily practice of Centering Prayer
- What the medieval saints knew about resting in God
- The sacred word that revitalizes your prayers
- How to heal the irrational drives that can sabotage your spiritual growth
“In case you haven’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops.” This is the opening sentence of Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. Since its publication in 2007, I’ve been inundated with questions about why that inner voice is always talking, why so much of what it says is negative and stressful, and most importantly, how you free yourself from it. In this course, we will put to rest any questions you have about that inner dialogue. Not just about quieting it down—but about how to steadily remove the root cause of its existence.
The story of Jesus has not waned in its power to change lives. Although many of us grew up in a culture suffused by the mythos of Jesus, today we feel disconnected from the essence and vitality of his teachings. With Resurrecting Jesus, Adyashanti invites us to rediscover the life and teachings of Jesus as a direct path to what may be the most radical of transformations: spiritual awakening.
The Enneagram and Grace: 9 Journeys to Divine Presence by Richard Rohr and Russ Hudson – Fr. Richard Rohr and Russ Hudson offer a deep study of the Enneagram as a powerful spiritual tool. The Enneagram has become many things to many people, but its roots are profoundly spiritual and are based in the studies of the Desert Fathers, the world’s first Christian monastics. At its core, the Enneagram addresses the question of how we fail to recognize the presence of Grace in our lives. It helps us see the psychological issues that cause us to forget the Divine Presence here in each moment.
The Cosmic Christ by Richard Rohr – In this teaching, Fr. Richard gives profound insight into the nature of the historical Jesus and what the resurrected Christ really means. We are reminded that the material and spiritual worlds are part of the same universal reality. As the Body of Christ, we are all called to participate in relationship with the Divine Trinity.