I am currently enjoying Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass.
Let me share the below paragraph from this wonderful book.
“Life is the first gift,” said poet Marge Piercy, “love is the second, and understanding the third.” The first gift is life. My life. Your life. There exists a unique beauty and dignity at the core of each one of us, the quality that animates every human being and that Jews and Christians call “the image of God.” That is the gift. No other gift is possible without it. Nothing we ever receive or have can rival it. Gratitude is not about stuff. Gratitude is the emotional response to the surprise of our very existence, to sensing that inner light and realizing the astonishing sacred, social, and scientific events that brought each one of us into being. We cry out like the psalmist, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Ps. 139: 14). When we push aside the immediate anxieties of that existence, we can actually see more clearly that to feel fear, doubt, or anger at all is part of the gift of life itself. Without life, even the negative emotions are impossible. Everything else is dependent on that one thing. All we experience is radically contingent on a single gift—life.”
Gratitude is deep. It is at the core of who we are. We are made in the image of God! My being and the Great Creator sit quietly together during my centering prayer time. My little image sits within the Larger Image: we become one. My being rests in the Larger Being. My life connects to Life.
I arise from my silent sits filled with an energy and an excitement for life. I arise from my sits confident that God and I will partner to take on today’s tasks. I arise from my sits fitted with a new pair of eyes and ears and with an openness to the Inner Nudges that God wishes for me to explore.
I seem to hear and see new things that previously I did not notice: a slightly different color leaf on a tree, a gentle breeze moving the tree branches, the beautiful white clouds in the sky, the billions of stars that light up the night sky.
I am now able to slow down, watch and listen without a need to take an immediate action. Sometimes no action is the best action. God simply wishes that I enjoy what is right in front of me just now. I have learned to be grateful for life and its sounds, sights, aromas and textures.
All of my outer actions, thoughts and emotions are birthed from these powerful silent sits. These silent sits help me better appreciate the gift of life that I have been gifted. My silent sits teach me how to be grateful and will continue to fill me with Gratitude!
“Gratitude is not about stuff. Gratitude is the emotional response to the surprise of our very existence, to sensing that inner light and realizing the astonishing sacred, social, and scientific events that brought each one of us into being.”
My silent sits have taught me that life is the first gift! My silent sits will continue to teach me that life is the first gift.
Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass (Listen to this book for Free when you try Audible with a 30-day free trial.)
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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.
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The rate is $50 – $75 per hour. The first session is 1/2 off.
Feel free to peruse my Resource Page. I frequently update it with new information.
I am currently reading Moving from Stress to Joy by Nicholas Amato.
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.)