Centering is a practice that leads to contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is union with God – to rest in God.
Centering prayer is simple. It involves three steps: 1) Show up, 2) Let go, and 3) Open your heart. God will do the rest. During centering prayer we leave our “small mind” and enter the “larger Mind”.
The below centering prayer definition is pulled directly from the Contemplative Outreach website:
Centering prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active mode of prayer – verbal, mental or affective prayer – into a receptive prayer of rest in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ.
The Centering Prayer guidelines, also pulled from the Contemplative Outreach website follow.
1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
2. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.
3. When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
I think it is very important to keep these words in mind from Thomas Keating as you begin and continue your centering prayer practice … “In centering prayer both thoughts and silence have an important role to play. Some thoughts contain what needs to be healed and the silence creates a space for the healing to take place.”
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Centering Prayer by Cynthia Bourgeault: Centering Prayer is a simple, no-frills form of meditation in the Christian tradition. Since it was first developed by Christian contemplative monks in the 1970s, it has allowed tens of thousands of practitioners worldwide to “return home,” developing an authentically Christian meditation practice which not only delivers the healing and quieting of the mind typical of all meditation paths, but also reconnects directly to Christianity’s hidden treasury of mystical and transformational wisdom.
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