Archive for the ‘Centering Prayer’ category

Momentary Silence

March 17, 2009

A lot has been said about centering prayer, a unique Christian form of prayer. Some people just say that it’s meditation, or some way to allow Eastern ideas into the Western way of Christianity. One quick point of information is that Christianity itself is an Eastern religion. Picking up from roots in Judaism, Christianity has at its core many concepts that definitely have a flavor of other religious practices and forms.

The major idea is to look at what the practice seeks to do. Not what it looks like or what someone else has said about it. Centering prayer seeks to connect the individual with an aspect of God’s personality that is similar to the awareness of God’s “everywhereness” and “nowhereness” that Moses felt as he saw the back part of God when God walked by. It is both a seeking and a desire to experience God in a new and old way.

Many who have practiced centering prayer find a complexity of the new and familiar surrounding them as they move toward God in stillness and quiet. For me, it is a Momentary Silence within the ebb and flow of sound that comprise each and every wonderful day created for us to revel in by our Creator.

Words From Rumi

November 11, 2008

Rumi was a Persian poet who had and continues to have considerable influence in both the Middle East as well as here in America. His poems are known for their spiritual significance and poignancy. One that I felt would be good to share is short and to the point.

“Sit down and be quiet.
You are drunk, and this is the
edge of the roof.”

How often do we become caught up in the activities of the day, drunk if you will, and forget about the life we are living and the world around us. Taking time to consider and think about things consciously is a discipline that is lost from our collective accepted behaviour. Anyone can sit and say that they are thinking, but the truth of their words comes from the actions that follow.

Take some time today and think – if for just 5 or 10 minutes. Focus on the thinking and quiet yourself. Often when you return to your work things will seem clearer. This isn’t magic, it is the way we were meant to live our lives.

Night of Worship – Silence

September 3, 2008

This month’s Night of Worship was marked by discussion and practice of Centering Prayer. We sang a then after a time of explanation, practiced five minutes of centering prayer. This is one of the aspects of spiritual disciplines that is sometimes difficult for people to understand. Somehow it seems less “sacred” to practice a discipline. We would rather heed Nike’s theme and “just do it”.

The problem with the “just do it” approach is that we tend to find ourselves quickly in over our heads and overwhelmed. The result of this overload is that we stop the discipline and go forward in our lives with a sense of failure about a particular practice.  I cannot stress how important it is for us to understand that every aspect of our lives is a learning process. This includes those aspects we deem spiritual or not. As we practice we become more familiar and more able to share our experience and knowledge with others.

To become true disciples we must not just focus our attention on aquisition of knowledge and practice, but also on becoming teachers ourselves. To teach out of our experience is to give a part of ourselves to others. My favorite teachers taught from their hearts as well as their minds.

I’m learning how to develop time to be silent and open myself up to God. In that development, my desire is to help others along the way as we all seek to know more about what it means to be a Christ follower.

Pillars Part 4

August 23, 2008

This week we talked about prayer as a discipline. For me, during the past few years I have run the gamut between prayer needing to be a fixed point in my schedule to wondering that if God is in control – what is the real point of prayer at all. I’m certain that you’ve thought about the idea of prayer and wondered if “you had it right” or whether you could “do it” at all. Prayer is such an enigmatic topic that many times we chose not to dive into it. We wait for priests, rabbis, imams, pastors or teachers to tell us “what it is”. Here is the interesting point, those guys you are waiting to tell you what prayer is often have the same struggle defining it and practicing it.

Loved the discussion about prayer we had Sunday. If you missed it you can hear it here. One of the aspects I want to just touch on is Centering Prayer. The idea was brought into prominence by Father Thomas Keating several decades ago. In a simple nutshell, centering prayer is about sitting and allowing the thoughts in your mind to pass by unattached to you. Think of sitting by a stream. Carried by the current of the stream are the thoughts that are passing through your mind. Consciously let them pass by. It takes effort. but eventually the number of thoughts will decrease and the static/noise level in your mind will subside.

Doing this for just twenty minutes can have a dramatic difference in your day. I know you may be saying that if I’m praying I should be saying something. This is one of the misconceptions we have with prayer. Think of a situation where you asked an opinion about something and your inner thought was your true feeling, but you said the opposite. Our true self resides within and can be heard when we sift through the myriad of brain chatter that vies for our attention each day.

Try each day to visualize yourself for a few moments at the streams edge and watch the thoughts go by and dissipate. This is the “centering” part of centering prayer. Just like everything else in our lives, practices that have the greatest amount of impact take time and effort to learn and become part of our daily rhythm.