Contemplative Attitude: Embracing and Being Embraced by God

This is part three of a three part series on contemplative attitudes. David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God discusses the attitudes you bring to your centering prayer sit and how it will help deepen your practice.

David mentions eight contemplative attitudes in his book. This three part series will focus on three of the attitudes:

  • Letting go and letting be
  • Gentleness and effortlessness
  • Embracing and being embraced by God


In case you need to review:

Part 1:  Letting go and letting be.

Part 2:  Gentleness and effortlessness

This week I will discuss Embracing and being embraced by God.


“By resisting emotions, you also resist the transforming action of God.”

“Embracing is an active contemplative attitude that helps you shift into a deep perspective of faith.”

“Feelings are a gift, a part of human experience to be embraced.”

“In other words, one of the best ways of letting go of an emotion is simply to feel it.”


I remember my first sit after my father passed away. As I began my prayer time I sobbed and allowed myself to grieve. I utilized my sacred icon to open to the presence and action of God within.

I continued to cry, let go, and open to the presence and action of God within over and over and over again. Finally I rested in God who is Love and transcends my emotions. God seemed to replace my pain and grief with His boundless love.

I have learned that my feelings are a gift from God to be embraced. When I feel guilty, fearful, anxious, nervous, angry or sad I can take these emotions with me into my silent sit. Thomas Keating mentions that if necessary these emotions can become your sacred word.

It is wonderful to know that God embraces all of me during my silent sit. God seems to transform these emotions with actions He wishes me to take. Other times God replaces these feelings with an inner peace and calmness.

Lastly, I have noticed that God will instill within me an inner nudge to move forward on an action that both excites me and makes me feel nervous. God simply wishes to move me out of my comfort zone so I can move and grow.

I will continue to embrace the emotions God has given me. I will continue to bring these emotions to my silent sits. I am excited to discover the inner nudges and transformations God has in mind for me.


Go Further:

David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer re-energized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. This 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, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.

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.


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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.

The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault: Jesus first and foremost is a Wisdom teacher, grounded in the universal traditions of spiritual transformation, and the first teacher of non-dual consciousness the West had ever seen. Almost two thousand years ahead of his time, he stands in the lineage of the great Jewish prophets, the master “cardiologist” entrusted with implementing the promise made to the prophet Ezekiel: “I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

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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