Today I will review Step 3:
When you become aware of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, return ever so gently to your sacred word.
On March 19 I discussed Step 1: The Sacred Word. Feel free to refer to it if you need to. If you recall, we begin our prayer with a sacred word, sacred image, sacred glance or even our breath. We need to choose what is most comfortable for us.
Over time we might change our word or even change from the sacred word to the sacred image for example. I found I was attracted to a sacred image and have stuck with it for now.
Each time you begin to plan your day, think about a past activity that aggravates you or you worry about the endless tasks you might need to do today, gently let them go and return to your sacred word.
You might need to do this over and over again. Sometimes there is more and more space between your thoughts and you do not need to return to your sacred word as frequently.
Other times you will discover that you are able to let go of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations without the intervention of the sacred word. Don’t worry. That is perfectly okay too.
Cynthia Bourgeault reminds us,…”thoughts are not an obstacle in Centering Prayer, but an opportunity. Each new thought gives you chance to exercise that “muscle” of letting go.”
Next week I will discuss Step 4:
At the end of the centering prayer session, remain in silence for a minute or two before you resume your daily activities.
I hope you will continue to join me next week.
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I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer Coaching Sessions. Contact me for more information.
I am currently reading Contemplative Living: An Invitation to a Deepening Journey by . I just finished reading Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening by Diana Butler Bass, A Taste of Silence by Carl J Arico and The Bible Makes Sense by Walter Brueggemann.
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.
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Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain. Explore prayer methods that go back to Jesus.
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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. Learn more about how to pray with a prayer rope.
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.
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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.)