Silence, solitude and stillness seem to be the markers of the contemplative path. Let’s talk about each posture and why they are important. During my interview on the Pilgrim Podcast, Lacy Carter Ellman referred to silence, solitude and stillness as the trinity of contemplation.
It is nice to take a break and be silent. God is in both the noise and the silence. (Just because we become silent does not mean there is no noise around us.) When we become silent we get out of the way and open to God.
This time is not about us. It is about how we can deepen our intimate relationship with God. It is about how we continue to fall in love with God. It is a time we set aside to let God love us. I do this as part of my centering prayer practice. I become silent, open to God and let God pray in me. It is like a reverse prayer. It is a very comforting and healing type of prayer. I rest in the arms of God during this time.
It is nice to sit in silence with God. It is like when we sit with a lover or friend. Words do not always need to be said. We just enjoy the company of each other. We can also sit in silence in community. We might do this as part of a centering prayer group or other meditation group. The traditional Quaker service is a silent sit performed in community. Whether in community or by yourself, we sit in silence in solitude with our Maker!
Stillness means we try to stop or better yet, let go of the inner chatter and open our whole being, body, mind and soul to God who is beyond our thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. We observe the inner chatter and then ever so gently let it go. We do not judge, react, or analyze it. Again, my silent prayer practice is centering prayer which includes a stilling of my mind and body.
There are contemplative paths that involve physical movement: walking, photography, drawing, painting. They, like centering prayer include a stillness of inner chatter. Inner stillness opens us to God. We learn how to be. We learn how to be in the presence of God. We learn how to rest in God.
What are the voices we hear in our head that tell us things that really are not true? We seem to tell ourselves to fear, worry, over analyze, obsess, stop any future action. Silence is how we discover who we are!
We are loved by God more than we can even imagine! Our God is delighted that we have taken the time to sit and be prayed in. It comforts me that God prays in me! God enjoys to plant within us inner nudges for future actions we are to take or perhaps not take too. Sometimes God just wishes to slow us down so we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch things that we never noticed before.
David Frenette, The Path of Centering Prayer
Christine Valters Paintner, Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice
Christine Valters Paintner, The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within
J. Brent Bill, Holy Silence
Phileena Heuertz, Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life
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I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. How do I create a long lasting and sustainable centering prayer practice? I will work with you to setup a plan designed to meet your specific needs. Contact me for more information.
I am currently reading The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuertz. Free with your Audible trial
Orthodox Crafts: Making the perfect Orthodox gift, or a personal aid in your spiritual struggle, our prayer bracelets are beautifully crafted to be kept for a lifetime. Strengthen your relationship with God by wearing these bracelets and praying at any time and place during the day. Enjoy my post, How I Use My Prayer Bracelet.
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The Power of the Jesus Prayer: Learn a method practiced by Christian mystics for centuries to consent to the action and presence of God within.
Contemplative Practices: 5 Ways of Consenting to the Divine: 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.
Contemplative Perspectives: Frameworks for the Divine: For anyone who craves to deepen their contemplative process and more fully embody and integrate the the higher stages of the mystical path, Contemplative Perspectives offers an opportunity to travel through the various states of awakening and understand the territory. With the historic practice of The Jesus Prayer as a jumping off point, we explore the experiential aspects of the Purgation/Illumination/Union path of Christian Mysticism.
The Divine Transformation: Essentials of Christian Mysticism: This is a combined course of both Contemplative Practices and Contempative Perspectives.
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 .
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.
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 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.
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.
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.)