As with many topics that address spirituality, much has been written and spoken about the meditative process of centering prayer. Centering prayer principles outlined in books and discussed at conferences, however, may not always match the experiences of practitioners. In fact, some people may think that if their centering prayer is not like what other people say it should be they are doing it wrong.
Not to worry. The practice of centering prayer is not about rightness or wrongness; it is about developing and deepening one’s relationship with God.
Thomas Keating 1 says “the actual work of Centering Prayer is consenting to God’s presence and in doing so letting go of the present moment with its psychological content.” 2
In doing this “actual work,” how do practitioners speak about their practice? Members of centering prayer groups in Albuquerque and Edgewood have explained how the experience of centering prayer has uniquely and personally affected their lives.
“For me, centering prayer is a way of slowing down, going inside, going deep, separating myself from the mad rush. The process is healing for me, a necessity and a blessing.” In this process of going within, she states honestly, “I can’t say that I always find God, but I come closer than usual to finding myself.”
This perception clearly expresses the self-discovery that one encounters in developing a relationship with God.
Another member states there is nothing complicated about practicing centering prayer. “It provides a reason for a daily ‘time out’ with God, a resting period with God. Centering prayer provides a feeling of closeness that did not previously exist.” He further states, “Whether it is a dialogue with God, it certainly is a means of providing a positive progression in my faith life.”
Keating also stresses the importance of deep rest, the “slowing down” and the “resting period” to which both individuals refer. An integral part of centering prayer, “deep rest is not only the result of freedom from attachments or aversions to thoughts, but also the feeling of being accepted and loved by the divine Mystery. . .” 3
To learn more about the self-discovery, deep rest, and divine acceptance of centering prayer, join us for more insights from Albuquerque and Edgewood centering prayer practitioners.
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If you are interested in attending a centering prayer group in Albuquerque or Edgewood, please call (505) 281-7542.
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1 For more information about Father Thomas Keating, please go to http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_people_keating .
2,3 Intimacy with God, Thomas Keating, A Crossroad Book, Snowmass, Colorado, 2009, pages 26 and 44
To read the previous articles on these centering prayer group discussions, please begin here: http://pingroof.com/spirituality-in-albuquerque/centering-prayer-albuquerque-and-edgewood , and http://pingroof.com/spirituality-in-albuquerque/centering-prayer-albuquerque-and-edgewood-ii .