Do You Know How To Be Present?

I want to be present.  I want to enjoy the blue sky and the trees.  I want to watch my children play.  I want to enjoy conversations with family and friends. 

Image Credit: Brenda Lewis

I love cities:  their sounds, tall buildings, the hustle and bustle all around, the night life and lights.  I like the beach and the ocean. 

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I like to sit in coffee shops. I like to drink a good cup of French pressed coffee. 

There is nothing like being in the stadium of a university football game:  the roar of the crowd, the sounds of the band, the plays on the field.  There is excitement in the air!

I miss all of this when I am on my phone or I-pad checking Facebook, Twitter, my emails or just searching the web.

God wants me to enjoy the city, small towns, the country and the coasts.  God wants me to both listen and talk with others:  family, friends, strangers and even co-workers. 

Centering prayer teaches me to be present with Presence.  Presence is all around me.  I don’t want to miss it. 

Centering prayer teaches me to slow down.  When I slow down I see things as if for the first time.  I see, smell, touch, taste and hear all that is around me: true presence with Presence. 

I want to be more present.  I want to savor and enjoy life.  I need balance.  I need to work.  The bills need to get paid.  The dishes need to be washed and the clothes laundered. 

I also need to play, relax and take long walks. 

Centering prayer teaches me to pause, look around and be present with Presence.  This means I utilize  all of my senses: sight, smell, touch, auditory, and taste. 

It also means I use my sixth sense: spiritual sense.  I learn how to tap into my spiritual sense when I sit in silence with God.  I connect with God in silence. 

I can also connect with God during the events of my day.  I can be present when I wash the dishes and load the dishwasher.  I can be present when I walk around the block with my daughter. 

I can be present when I drive to work, stop at the gas station or pick up a gallon of milk.  I can be present when I type on the keys of my laptop. 

To be present means to be open to this moment and what it presents. 

It all belongs in the present:  both the pain and the joy, the snow, the rain and the sunshine, the traffic jams and the quick moving traffic.  It all belongs exactly as it is in the present.

This is what centering prayer can do for me.  This is what God wishes for me!

Go Further:

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening was the first book I read on Centering Prayer.

How I Use My Prayer Bracelet

Healing the Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots by Amos Smith

Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life by Phileena Heuertz

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Contemplative Discernment by Fr. Carl Arico, Pamela Begeman, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler: A contemplative practice of discernment is not about decision-making, although this may be an eventual outcome. Rather, contemplative discernment is receptive in nature, a process of opening to receive clues about who we are in God. We focus on ever-deepening levels of relationship and trust in God’s will for us. We learn how to listen deeply to our motivations and sort through and purify any mixed motivations. As this relationship deepens, we learn to allow the love of God to motivate our actions and manifest through us. We discover what it means to truly pray “not my will, but Thy will.”

Embracing Living: The Welcoming Prayer by Contemplative Outreach, Mary Dwyer, Therese Saulnier, Cherry Haisten, Jim McElroy: The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. If Centering Prayer (or another daily prayer) is practiced for one hour of the day, the Welcoming Prayer is for the other 23 hours. It is a “letting go” in the present moment, in the midst of the activity of ordinary life.

Practicing the Presence of God by Pamela Begeman, Mary Ann Brussat, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler, David Frenette: We live in a world of complexity, fragmentation, noise, and haste. We sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of tasks, appointments, and commitments facing us. How can we experience God in the midst of the busyness, responsibilities, and activities of our daily lives? By practice. By living more in the present moment. By practicing the presence of God in the present moment.

Sounds True has titles by teachers and authors such as Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Richard Rohr, David Frenette, Parker PalmerEckhart  Tolle , Michael Singer , Jon Kabat-Zinn , Marianne Williamson to name a few.

Contemplative Light offers courses on contemplative practices (Christian Meditation, Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer), the Christian mystics (ancient and current) and spiritual writing. Peruse their wonderful offerings.

Prayer-Bracelet: Authentic Orthodox prayer ropes and bracelets are handmade by monks in the Orthodox monastaries reciting a prayer for every knot they tie. Peruse their prayer ropes and bracelets that are all handmade, provided by several orthodox churches around the globe.

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