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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 Format of a Centering Prayer Support Group
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I attended a Centering Prayer group at my parish for about a month.  I stopped going because, after the final oral prayer and reading, the leader's wife asked for feedback in our lives during the recent week.  ....  I don't mind the feedback, but there are several venues in our parish for addressing problems in our lives, not during or after Centering Prayer.

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
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
Posture and Breathing in Relation to Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:   My impression is that some meditation practices have very specific guidance about physical technique such as posture, breathing etc. But Centering Prayer suggests fairly little except to have a comfortable upright posture (or lying down if you have back problems or are ill), the goal being to be relaxed but alert.  What accounts for the difference? I suspect it has something to do with Centering Prayer not being a concentrative or awareness method.

Maybe I'm asking because I'm less aware of mental/emotional thoughts in practice, and more aware of aches and pains. Maybe I'm asking because I can't believe that the method is so simple and that it is okay to trust it. "I should be working harder." I have been practicing Centering Prayer for  six  years or so.

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Centering Prayer
Amount of time for Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I have been practicing Centering Prayer for about a year now. I wanted to increase my time to 40 minutes because I was used to sitting for a half hour when I was doing a more concentrative meditation before I adopted Centering Prayer. I find that the first thing in the morning the 40 minutes is fine but when I pray in the late afternoon ...

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Centering Prayer
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
Praying to the Old Man on the Throne?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Recently, when I concluded my session of Centering Prayer and recited the Lord's Prayer, as is my custom, I was struck by the disparity between the Trinity in Whom and with Whom I had just been abiding, and the "God in heaven" who seemed to resume his cloak of an old white man on a throne far, far away.  Am I taking the opening of the Lord's Prayer too literally? 

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
God's Unconditional Love and the Last Judgment
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I have one "very spiritually perplexing question" that our group is unable to answer... If God loves us unconditionally as Father Keating often makes explicit, then how are we to reconcile this with a "last judgment" that is referred to in the Bible.

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Contemplative Spirituality
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Archive: Related to Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. Can you provide a connection for me between Centering Prayer and The Cloud of Unknowing?

A. :  I would recommend you study the pamphlet on Centering Prayer by Fr. Thomas Keating...

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Awareness & Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Where does one initially place their awareness during Centering Prayer?  In other words, when introducing the sacred word does one let the awareness float up toward heaven someplace "outside" oneself, or...

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Centering Prayer
Panentheism
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Is panentheism the theology being taught by contemplative prayer?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer and Mindfulness
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I practice Centering Prayer and recently a friend asked me to explain the difference between it and mindfulness meditation. I replied that the difference was in intent - Centering Prayer is consenting to God's presence and action in my life and mindfulness is seeking personal improvement, such as stress reduction. But she said she was asking about the differences in the practices themselves. I found this hard to articulate and wonder if you can refer me to a good source or answer yourself.

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Centering Prayer
Just Be in the Silence
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I've been practicing Centering Prayer for about two years. It has helped me in more ways than I could ever express. My question has to do with what happens in the silence between the moments I use the sacred word. In those moments in between using the word am I simply to seek to be present/attentive to the Presence of God or would this be considered a thought too?

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Centering Prayer
The Rosary and Contemplation
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Is it possible to pray contemplatively while saying the rosary at the same time?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Centering Prayer and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: What do you recommend for people who suffer from OCD?

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Centering Prayer
Centering Prayer During Times of Unrest
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Extreme injustices and inflicted cruelty are buried in people's lives.  When these experiences arise (often unexpectedly) as a response to the asking participation in one's own spiritual journey, it is advised to slow down the evacuation process.  How does this affect a daily Centering Prayer practice?  We cannot take away another's hurt or suffering.  When one can't even quiet to sit for Centering Prayer during these times of unrest, from the contemplative point of view, what can we suggest? 

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Centering Prayer
Centering Prayer and Disabled Adults
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I have a 50 year old sister with Williams' Syndrome (similar to Downs Syndrome - different chromosome)....Have you had experience sharing this practice with disabled adults?

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Centering Prayer
Centering Prayer and Biofeedback
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: What do you think about doing Centering Prayer while wearing a biofeedback device such as an emWave? I have been doing this for about 2 years now and it seems to be bringing about some very profound changes in my life and relationships, and a big shift in my perception of God. But sometimes...

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
The Dying Process
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Our Centering Prayer group has been watching the Gift of Life DVD and benefiting by it. We are hearing about persons who spend considerable time in the dying process. Can Contemplative Outreach say anything about those who die suddenly or in a short period of time.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Practicing Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have just started practicing Centering Prayer. I’m Portuguese, live in Lisbon,  and I’m almost 70!  It looks like Centering Prayer came to me (I didn’t look for it) as an invitation/response of Jesus to become closer to Him, as I so much desire... My question of method is this: When does Lectio Divina comes in? Is it at the same time as Centering Prayer? You do both in the same day?

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
What is Being “Welcomed” in the Practice of the Welcoming Prayer?
Cherry Haisten
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  What is being welcomed?  What if I don't feel "welcoming" … it seems like I can't even "feel and sink into" the sensation if I'm not able to welcome? 

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Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer
In his book, Open Mind, Open Heart, Fr. Keating says that divine union is not a free ticket to happiness in this life...Can you please explain...
Fr. Carl
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: In his book, Open Mind, Open Heart, Fr. Keating says that divine union is not a free ticket to happiness in this life; that some people are left with mental/emotional/physical issues that they "suffer for some unknown purpose for the good of the whole human family." Can you please explain what this means?

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Contemplative Spirituality
Spiritual Direction and the Contemplative Path
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am new to contemplative prayer.   I have been meditating for 15 years, but have decided to take contemplative prayer as my spiritual path as it suits me better... My question is to do with a spiritual teacher or guide. While a person like this is needed in Eastern spiritual practices, is it also needed in contemplative prayer?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
The Jesus Prayer and Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Can you tell me similarities or differences between what happens in 'The Jesus Prayer' where the mind moves into the heart leading to the Hesychast experience, and Centering Prayer? ...

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Purification of the Nights
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am currently undergoing the dark night of the soul for the 2nd /3rd time. I have read a lot about John of the Cross and other authors. I am wondering who at CO has gone through the experience's. I know Fr Thomas must have had at some stage...

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
God’s Embrace
Ben Butera
Voices of Community

At some point I picked up on the idea that we should talk less and listen more. I was also intrigued with Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know I am God.” But how does one listen?

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Centering Prayer

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