Thank you for joining me on this Six Part Series on Centering Prayer!
In case you missed any of the previous five parts, I have listed them below. Feel free to take a peek back.
In this final post I will discuss next steps. Now that you have begun a centering prayer practice, what are some recommended next steps.
These next steps are for both beginners and those who are long term practitioners. I am not a beginner. Nor am I a long term practitioner. I have practiced centering prayer since June 1, 2014.
Let me share some next steps that I have taken:
- Find a Spiritual Director that you can meet with to discuss your practice and faith. I live in the Philadelphia area and was able to find a wonderful Spiritual Director at the St. Raphaela Center.
- Find a local Centering Prayer group that meets weekly or monthly and join them from time to time. Silence in community is powerful. The Contemplative Outreach has many chapters throughout the United States.
- Go on a weekend retreat. I went on a weekend retreat at the Bethany Retreat Center. It was led my Father William Meninger, the founder of Centering Prayer who then refined it with Fathers Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington. The retreat I attended discussed Saint John of the Cross and The Cloud of Unknowing. Of course Centering Prayer was practiced twice per day in community at this retreat.
- Stay at a hermitage for a few days to go deeper in your practice. Amos Smith and I spent 3 nights at the Santa Maria De La Vid Abbey: Norbertine Community of New Mexico. We practiced Centering Prayer three times per day, 30 minutes for each sit. We wrote. We walked. We attended a traditional monastic service.
- Read books on Centering Prayer. You can find some of my favorites on my Resource Page.
- Don’t become discouraged. God is delighted that you want to sit no matter how long your sit is. If you miss a scheduled sit, God infinitely loves you and looks forward to your next sit.
- Attend a long term silent retreat. These retreats are often 7-10 days in duration. I have yet to attend one but hope to do so in the future.
Again thank you for joining me over these past six weeks.
Centering prayer is not a race. It’s a marathon. Centering prayer practiced on a daily basis will transform you. If you are faithful to your practice, your practice will be faithful to you!
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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.
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