“It’s in these gaps that Centering Prayer does its real transformative work.”
“….bit by bit you’ll discover that this inner spaciousness is no longer “a place you go to” but “a place you come from.” It begins to offer itself as a new home for your deepest sense of self hood.”
“In the nano second between the cessation of one thought and the arising of the next, there is a moment of pure consciousness where subject and object poles drop out and you’re simply there. For a nano second, there’s no “you” and no God. No experience and no experiencer. There’s simply a direct, undivided, sensate awareness of a single, unified field of being perceived from a far deeper place of aliveness.”
I pulled these quotes from Cynthia Bourgeault’s Book, The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice.
I call it the spaces between my thoughts. I enter them during my silent sit. Sometimes they are short. Other times they are longer in duration. I seem to emerge from my sit a new creation. I arise from my sit calm, peaceful, energized and excited to live life. I find I am very productive after my sit. I often discover solutions to problems that previously seemed to elude and hide from me.
What happens in the spaces between my thoughts? Why are they important?
God is in action. We connect to the Divine within. We become one with the One. We can take this connection with the Divine with us as we arise from our sits. We take it with us into our day and into the tasks that we need to perform.
God wants us to be calm. God wants us to have inner peace not turmoil. God wants us to have energy to accomplish our tasks. Gods wants us to have excitement for life! God wants us to enjoy life and the relationships we have with others. God wants us to live productive lives. God wants us to find solutions to the challenges that we face.
Why wouldn’t God want all of this for us? God loves us! God wishes us to have abundant lives! I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
During centering prayer we put on the mind of Christ. If we choose to practice centering prayer or some other type of daily contemplative practice, we continue to put on the mind of Christ each time we sit. This also means that we can continue to take the mind of Christ with us into our daily routines. That is powerful!
Even during our daily routines we can take a silent pause. A moment of silence is all that God needs for us to put back on the mind of Christ so we can resume our duties and tasks.
I encourage you schedule time each day for a contemplative practice such as centering prayer. Perhaps you start your day with this practice. It also means you might schedule a second practice time later in the day.
I also encourage you to let the Spirit nudge you when you need to take a ‘silent pause’. This is an unscheduled pause: one that is much shorter in duration but just as important.
The mind of Christ is always available to us!
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Contemplative Light Course – Contemplative Practice: 5 Spiritual Exercises To Get Closer To God. Learn methods practiced by Christian mystics for centuries to consent to the action and presence of God within, including Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, Christian Meditation, and the Jesus Prayer.
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I just finished Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community by Daniel P. Coleman and Intimacy with God: An Introduction To Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating. I am currently reading The Bible Makes Sense by Walter Brueggemann.
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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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