I am excited to share with you my review of Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault.
Modern day mystic, Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally known retreat leader, Cynthia Bourgeault divides her time between solitude at her seaside hermitage in Maine, and a demanding schedule traveling globally to teach and spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative and Wisdom path.
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She has been a long-time advocate of the meditative practice of Centering Prayer and has worked closely with fellow teachers and colleagues including Thomas Keating, Bruno Barnhart, and Richard Rohr. Cynthia has actively participated in numerous inter-spiritual dialogues and events with luminaries and leaders such as A.H. Almaas, Kabir Helminski, Swami Atmarupananda, and Rami Shapiro.
Learn more about Cynthia at The Contemplative Society
This was the first book on Centering Prayer that I read as I began this transforming practice in June of 2014. I recently took a peek back into this wonderful book and wish to share with you six key points.
“As we move toward center, our own being and the divine being become more and more mysteriously interwoven.”
This is what happens when we sit in silence and open to the presence of God. We become one with God. We let God pray in us. We arise from our sits ready to act on the prayers God prayed in us. When we take our second sit, we begin this beautiful cycle again: sit in silence, God prays in us, arise from our sit, act on God’s prayers in us.
See In The Dark
“In fact, you could say that learning to shift to seeing with your spiritual awareness is a lot like learning to see in the dark.”
Centering prayer is a silent sit in faith. We let go of all thoughts, emotions and physical sensations and open to God. We trust God. We don’t know what will happen. We sit and we trust that God’s inner actions are best. We learn to see in the dark.
Place We Come From
“But as the practice becomes more and more established in you so that this inner sanctuary begins to flow out into your life, it becomes more and more a place you come from.”
After each morning sit I am ready for the day! I am calm and energized. I am excited for what the day will bring. I seem to know what tasks that God wishes for me to accomplish today.
My second sit is usually in mid afternoon. My second sit refills my reservoir. It helps me to refocus and finish my day.
I need both sits!
Die To Self
“Dying to self means being willing to let go of what I want (or think I want) in order to create space for God to direct, lead, and guide me into a truer way of being.”
This is what we do during our silent sits. When we let go we create this most important space. My best actions spawn when I die to self during my silent sit.
“Paul sees that self-emptying is the touchstone, the core reality underlying every moment of Jesus’ human journey. Self-emptying is what first brings him into human form, and self-emptying is what leads him out, returning him to the realm of dominion and glory.”
When we sit in silence we experience the death, passion and resurrection of Jesus. It is a beautiful mystery that happens each time we sit with Jesus. To be honest, I am not completely sure what this means but as my silent sits continue more and more of this mystery is revealed to me.
“But the promise contemplative prayer makes is that if you show up, things will start to change.”
The fruits of Centering Prayer are unique to the practitioner. We do not enter Centering Prayer for these fruits. They are freely given to us by a most gracious God. I have noticed I am more calm and confident. I slow down and listen to others. I am filled with energy and excited to live my life.
I encourage you to check out Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening. I also reviewed her newest book, The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice. I hope you enjoy my review.
Books by Cynthia Bourgeault:
(Listen to The Heart of Centering Prayer for Free when you try Audible with a 30-day free trial.)
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.)
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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.
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 re-energized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. This 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, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.
Themes in the Gospel of John by N. T. Wright: The course approaches the Gospel of John in a way that looks at seven key themes. These themes bind the Fourth Gospel together in a manner that allows us to see this ‘new way of living’ as possible for followers of King Jesus. In so doing, we then apply these themes to the current era in order to ask ourselves questions about how we are putting them into practice. In a way, this is the story of how to live out being the presence of God on earth through the indwelling of God’s spirit.
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.
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 .
This new course by Contemplative Light is currently 1/3 off!
Living Sacraments: The Christian Mystics & The Inner Journey to God – How might your life change if you were steeped more deeply in the wisdom of the Christian Mystics? This course helps contemplatives, healers, clergy, and spiritual directors get a handle on the daunting subject of Christian Mysticism to draw on this timeless wisdom for their own spiritual journey AND to provide care to those they serve.
After taking this powerful course, you will know:
- The path of mystical transformation
- The four main mystical types
- The three eras of mystical flowering in the Christian West
- The lives, key teachings, challenges, and major works of TWENTY of the Christian mystics