We sit with God, our beloved. We do not sit with God for what we will obtain. We do not sit and expect a gift in return. “Lift your heart up to the Lord with a gentle stirring of love, desiring Him for His own sake and not for His gifts.” This is a teaching from the classic contemplative book, The Cloud of Unknowing.
We enter centering prayer with no expectations to receive the gift of contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is prayer in which we experience God’s presence within. We sit naked before God. It is God and us. Our whole being, body, mind and soul is in the pure presence of God. There is nothing between God and us. Contemplative prayer is a prayer of love without any ulterior motives. We pray because we love God. If and when God’s presence becomes known is not our business. Our business is simple to wait in silence and stillness, which are God’s first languages (John of the Cross).
Fruits of centering prayer… We do not enter this prayer for them. Each time we sit with God, we give God another opportunity to act in us. (I believe God also acts within us during our non-centering times.) We say, “Here I am God. Do with me whatever you want.” This time is unique for each person. God will do whatever God wants to do within you.
The actions that arise from my centering prayer practice are the fruits.
What actions has God prayed in me that will be revealed in my world?
I notice I have more patience. I am more willing to listen to my child, my friend, a coworker without judgment. I am willing to see and hear things from a different perspective.
I notice that I react more calmly to situations when things do not go as I had hoped. I let the situation be. What can I learn from the situation? Many times I do not need to take any action. It resolves itself.
I notice I do not seem to panic when I have multiple tasks that need to get completed in a short period. Some of the tasks do not need to be done. Some of the tasks are simpler than I originally thought.
Lastly, I have more compassion, excitement for life, inner peace and wisdom for daily
Again, I did not enter this time for these fruits. They were freely given to me by God as I waited in silence and opened myself. As you continue your practice, you too will notice how you have been blessed with fruits as a result of your daily sits.
Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating
Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition by Thomas Keating
The Path of Centering Prayer by David Frenette
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Does this sound like you?
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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.)
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