“Like most beginners, I thought that the aim in Centering Prayer was to let go of thoughts so that God could “fill” me with his presence. One day I suddenly realized that the God story was the sideshow and the letting go was the main event. That was when the practice flipped for me, as I recognized that thoughts were not the obstacle; they were the raw material, as every opportunity to practice releasing that focal point for attention deepened the reservoir of “free attention” within me and strengthened the signal of the homing beacon of my heart.”
I read this wonderful quote in Cynthia Bourgeault’s newest book, The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice.
this post may contain affiliate links
I too used to believe that I entered Centering Prayer to be filled with God. I now know that this is no longer true. I do not need to be filled with God. God never stopped being in me.
Cynthia reminds us, “Every heart is already a perfect holograph of the divine heart, carrying within itself full access to the information of the whole. But it does need to be purified, as Jesus himself observed.”
Centering prayer is a place I come from. Centering prayer teaches me who I am. I am unconditionally loved by the Divine! Centering prayer teaches me how to live. I live connected to the Divine within.
Centering prayer is a wonderful practice that teaches me how to live from this place of “free attention” as Cynthia mentions. Centering prayer is only a tool. It is a practice I use to let go of my thoughts, emotions, and even physical sensations and open to God who resides in my heart.
God does not need to fill my heart. God has always been in my heart. Centering prayer is a daily practice that purifies me so I can learn to live from my heart.
I arise from my sits in a new operation mode. I operate from my heart. My heart sees differently. It is open to life without judgmental filters. This means I better enjoy all things because I do not immediately judge them as good or bad. I let them be. I see with wider lenses. I can take in and enjoy the Whole field. That is exciting! I do not want to miss out on what God’s world provides.
I learn to make wiser decisions. I am more open to all solutions that are in front of me. I am not as quick to rate them as poor or excellent. I see them all and then make a better informed decision. Sometimes the best decision is to remain open and wait. Centering prayer teaches me that God is patient and I too must sometimes be patient.
God is compassionate and empathetic. When I operate from my heart I too become more compassionate and empathetic. I need to practice centering prayer twice per day. To sit in silence is an act of love. It teaches me to how to love God, love others and even love myself. I need the balance of all three. They make me whole!
I am very much work in progress! That is why I return to my Centering Prayer practice each day. It keeps me connected to the Heart that resides within my heart. This inner journey will best prepare me for my outer journey.
How does your practice help prepare you for your outer journey?
If you enjoyed reading this post, please recommend and share it to help others find it.
Books and Courses by Cynthia Bourgeault:
Books and courses by Cynthia Bourgeault:
(Listen to The Heart of Centering Prayer for Free when you try Audible with a 30-day free trial.)
The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault: Jesus first and foremost is a Wisdom teacher, grounded in the universal traditions of spiritual transformation, and the first teacher of non-dual consciousness the West had ever seen. Almost two thousand years ahead of his time, he stands in the lineage of the great Jewish prophets, the master “cardiologist” entrusted with implementing the promise made to the prophet Ezekiel: “I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Centering Prayer by Cynthia Bourgeault: Centering Prayer is a simple, no-frills form of meditation in the Christian tradition. Since it was first developed by Christian contemplative monks in the 1970s, it has allowed tens of thousands of practitioners worldwide to “return home,” developing an authentically Christian meditation practice which not only delivers the healing and quieting of the mind typical of all meditation paths, but also reconnects directly to Christianity’s hidden treasury of mystical and transformational wisdom.
The Gospel of Thomas by Cynthia Bourgeault: This e-course, “The Gospel of Thomas with Cynthia Bourgeault,” is a complete “Thomas starter kit”: everything you need to know to get you up and running with this remarkable text, plus a generous sampling of its most important sayings, arranged thematically so that they speak to issues that contemporary spiritual seekers are actually dealing with.
A Simple Immediacy: Desert Wisdom for Advent by Cynthia Bourgeault: The Desert Fathers and Mothers of the fourth and fifth centuries are arguably the first Wisdom School in Christian history. At first in trickles and then in waves, they fled into the deserts of Egypt and Syria to escape the increasing imperialization of the Christian Church and to live in a simple immediacy with the Risen Christ. In the process, they generated an extraordinary body of practical teachings on the spiritual practices underlying this life of deeper awareness and mystical union.