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Unloading and Evacuation of Emotions
Q: There is a female inmate in a weekly Centering Prayer group I facilitate who is afraid of doing Centering Prayer on a daily basis because she believes she would be stuffing all her feelings again. She has been there for almost two years and is present every week! I promised her I would clarify this with you. It will mean so much for her - and for me!
A: Thank you for the question. The female inmate is showing fidelity by coming each week - God's grace must be drawing her. Obviously the power of the group is a source of strength for her. Perhaps she needs to know that when she prays Centering Prayer on her own, the power of the group is still there for her. She is not alone. But now let’s move to the question at hand.
The power of Centering Prayer is so freeing! This is impressively reflected in the title the inmates gave to their version of the Centering Prayer leaflet, “Locked Up and Free” which is available for free in our online store. When you let go of whatever is coming up during the prayer – by reaffirming your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within you through your sacred word, breath or image - you are not pushing anything down or away, but allowing it to come out. This is the unloading and evacuation process we reference when teaching Centering Prayer. The image of a fire burning in a fireplace is helpful. As the fire burns, smoke is produced and rises up through the chimney to be dispersed into the universe. Consenting to God’s presence and action in Centering Prayer allows the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit to uncover and evacuate any obstacles to God’s love. Through our daily Centering Prayer practice, we consent to the presence and action of the Divine Therapist.
Remember that when you let go, it is coming out. If there is something that the Holy Spirit wants you to deal with outside of the prayer time, you will remember it and can process it further then. What is coming up is going out. Centering prayer is both a relationship with God and a purification process at the same time. - Fr. Carl