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We embrace the process of transformation in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of Centering Prayer.

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The Soul and the True Self
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am currently wrestling with various concepts and definitions and how they fit together. When it comes to the false self and the true self I find the glossary at the back of the Intimacy with God book helpful. However does the soul equate with the true self or not?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
The Story of My Surrender
Grace Sutherland
Voices of Community

 

In his book, Invitation To Love, Thomas Keating writes:

"On the spiritual Journey there is usually someone in our family, our business or in our community whom we cannot endure, someone who has a genius for bringing out the worst in us. No matter what we do we cannot seem to improve the relationship.

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
The Story of the Cloak: A legend Attributed to St. Bridget, Patroness of Ireland, circa 452 – 525
Fionnuala Quinn, OP
Voices of Community

As the story is told, Brigid went to the King of Leinster to tell him she needed land upon which to build a monastery.

"You do, you do," replied the king. "How much do you need?"

"We need only the land my cloak will cover – no more," she answered.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
The Time of Lent
Kathleen Stevenson
Voices of Community

Lent a time to start over
      a time to take stock
         a time to see the truth
            a time to lay it all down 

Kathleen Stevenson,  Murrells Inlet, SC

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The Two-Armed Embrace of God
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I daily say the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  However there are times that I cannot complete these prayers and I wonder [uneasily], is this how God wants me to pray? Or am I intent on ritual versus Presence, a Presence in which I sense I am in union with every moment, in and through all that I see and do not see?

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Contemplative Spirituality
The Welcoming Prayer and "letting go of the desire for security, affection, and control."
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I have a question about the Welcoming Prayer, related to "letting go of the desire for security, affection, and control." I say the prayer often during my daily encounters and frustrations and it brings great comfort and reminds me to "truly let go."

My question has to do with the conflict of letting go of these desires and yet setting future goals that include financial planning (security) and relationships (affection) that one would like to achieve in life. I truly believe God wants us to be happy and security and affection do include happiness. Can you please shed some like on this potential conflict?

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Welcoming Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Welcoming Prayer: Deepening Our Practice of Letting Go and Letting
Michael Erwin
Voices of Community

My name is Michael Erwin. I have been doing Centering Prayer on a daily basis for several years during my incarceration at San Quentin State Prison. I have found that Centering Prayer goes beyond all other forms of meditation that I have done in my life.

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Welcoming Prayer, Prison Ministry
The Wind
Laurie Basile
Voices of Community

fierce wind blowing
widely splitting
high white blue sky
ever opening

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Centering Prayer
The Witness to “Is”
Sydney S. Orr
Voices of Community

There is

just this witness to

observe

both inside and outside

the body-mind.

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
There is No Other
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. ... Many years ago I listened to a tape by Fr. Keating, and in the end of one of the talks, Thomas says something about the journey resulting in "There is no other, because you have become the other.”

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
These Annoying Humans!
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:   What the heck is one supposed to do if one just doesn't like people and humanity? Seemingly making some progress in my practice, desire closer relationship with God, but can't get past the stupidity, smallness, greed, ignorance of most people, or the self-destructiveness of the race? How can anyone love this sorry lot?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Thomas Keating & The Three Biological Needs
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Thomas Keating identifies three essential biological needs for human beings: (1) Security & Survival, (2) Power & Control, and (3) Affection & Esteem.  Can you please tell me if these biological needs are Fr. Keating's own creation or did he borrow them from another source?

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Thomas Keating Archive to be Housed at Emory University Other

On September 22, 2010, Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. and Emory University signed an agreement to house the works of Fr. Thomas Keating at the Pitts Theological Library of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Father Thomas Keating
Union
Chris Plunkett
Voices of Community

I sometimes wonder
as I see the early morning frost.
Could it be that the blanket of white that covers everything Is compassion?
And the sky's soft glow after sunset is empathy?

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Contemplative Spirituality
Unloading and Evacuation of Emotions
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

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!

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Unsure of the Outcomes of Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I always try contemplative prayer, and it seems to be working. How can one be sure that the outcome (even though negative at times) is working for the right? And what is the possible outcome?
 

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Using a Vision in Centering Prayer Instead of a Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  In the last couple of weeks I find that a certain vision of a person with her/his back to me and arms stretched out toward a representation of me is an effective way to stay focused or to refocus [during Centering Prayer]. ...The sacred word was not doing what it was supposed to do...   I wonder two things: what is your response to this and do you know of anyone else with the same experience?

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Centering Prayer
Visiting San Quentin
Cherry Haisten
Voices of Community

The purpose of my visit was to introduce some of the “men in blue,” inmates in for the long haul, to the Welcoming Prayer. For ten years, George has been leading a Centering Prayer ministry begun at San Quentin by two Mercy sisters 25 years ago. George felt that the men with an established prayer practice were ready for Welcoming Prayer, an active practice that complements the other 23 hours of the day.

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Welcoming Prayer
Waking Up and Growing Up
Leslee Terpay
Voices of Community

Fr. Thomas has asked the Centering Prayer community to spend the next year going back to basics. For much of the past 12 years I have been revisiting Thomas’ teachings on Centering Prayer and the Christian spiritual journey by serving at least one long Centering Prayer intensive retreat a year in which I prepare by reading both Open Mind, Open Heart and Invitation to Love. This may seem a little over board in terms of preparation but I find each yearly reading brings me closer to absorbing the materials with my heart rather than my head.

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Walking Into the Dawn
Ed Speedling
Voices of Community

Before setting out for morning services, John and I stood outside of our hermitage, which overlooked the valley and the monastery below, and gazed into the pre-dawn sky; the same sky we examined the previous evening after returning from Vespers, when John pointed out to me the mighty Orion. Now, as then, the moon and stars enchanted us...

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey, Retreats
Welcoming & Security Issues
Pamela Begeman
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I need help. Every day I pray the Welcoming Prayer. I trip up at "I let go my desire for security and survival." I'm a mother. How can I "let go" of something so imbued in my mothering DNA?

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Welcoming Prayer
What a Difference a Word Makes
Reva Freeman
Voices of Community

"Consent" or "surrender-accept."

“Consent to God’s presence and action within.”

Sometimes I hear something so often that I cease to actually hear what it says.

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
What are you doing here? A Centering Prayer Reflection
Neil Foley
Voices of Community

... Like so many before, I started by first seeking happiness – that illusive entity which is so physical and sensory when young. Happiness seemed to equate to pleasure, but pleasure is a fickle and fleeting ally. No sooner was I satisfied when I would desire again. Like the wind, it could be felt but not grasped. God was not in such pleasure. ...

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Spiritual Journey
What Centering Prayer Means To Me
Alegria Kent
Voices of Community

In retirement, I found myself lost and without an identity. It was a great loss to find that all of a sudden so many of the props that held my identity upright were gone.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
What Happens When
Jacqui Leiba
Voices of Community

What happens when
The ground on which one stands
ecomes a mighty chasm
And earth a distant land?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey

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