“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
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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.
I am currently reading From the Inside Out: Reimagining Mission, Recreating the World by Ryan Kuja.
Contemplative U Course- Everyday Mysticism: An Introduction to the History, Theology, and the Practice of Contemplative Christianity. It’s great for someone who is brand new, or for those looking to brush up or deepen their practice.
I continue to update my Resource Page including Books on Sale that features great kindle books at low prices. It includes authors such as Nicholas Amato, J Brent Bill, Daniel P Coleman, John Eldredge, Rachel Held Evans, James Finley, Sharon Grussendorff, Philip Gulley, Thomas Keating, James Martin, John Ortberg, Amos Smith, Barbara Taylor Brown.
The Power of the Jesus Prayer: Learn a method practiced by Christian mystics for centuries to consent to the action and presence of God within.
Christian Prayer Methods: Prayer is a core Christian practice, but for many, this means “saying prayers” or asking God for various favors. In this course, we will review a variety of methods of prayer that have been used for centuries in Christianity. Whether you’re a beginner who is just learning how to pray, or a more mature Christian who has been at it awhile, this course will offer specific guidance, encouragement and support for practicing several time-tested methods of prayer.
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself. It is based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message .
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. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
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.
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.
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.)