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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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Regarding Prayers of Petition
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  If I pray to remove sickness or pain, am I refusing God?  If I am to offer up my pain, how can I pray that it go away?

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

Q:  I know that the mind should be quiet, relaxed and empty during centering prayer, but I unsure of what our state of mind should be like. Should the mind be fully aware and deeply attentive, or less so, like that state leading to a twilight sleep?

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Centering Prayer
The Difference Between Centering Prayer and Dom John Main's Christian Meditation
Fr. Thomas Keating
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

... In regard to the use of a prayer word or phrase by which one disposes oneself to the grace of contemplation, I note that there is a difference in these approaches as regards the actual handling of the prayer word. On the one hand there is the approach of John Main and Lawrence Freeman, which as I understand it, advocates the attentive repetition of a particular sacred word. ... In contrast to these, the method taught in "Centering Prayer" explicitly indicates that the sacred word is not a "mantra" to be repeated, but rather a symbol of one's intention, (to consent to God's presence and action) to which one returns upon noticing one's mind wandering willy nilly.... I wonder if you might be so kind as to give me your take on this difference.

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The Difference Between Centering Prayer, Contemplative Prayer, and Meditation
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Please advise on the different between Centering Prayer, contemplative prayer and meditation.

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Centering Prayer
Music During Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I once asked my prayer group if it was permissible to have a melody running through one's head while centering, and their answer was no.

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Centering Prayer
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
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Archive: Related to Lectio Divina
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. I have been advised to NOT do Centering Prayer in conjunction with Lectio Divina. Individually and in a group setting I have practiced doing Lectio immediately before Centering Prayer and found that often the CP time was enriched by the preceding Lectio...

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

Q:  I attended a one-day Centering Prayer event for people who were experienced in Centering Prayer.  We had three periods of prayer, with some teaching.  At the end of the third session I felt completely empty.  There was nothing, and after the session, as I thought about it, it felt boring and I wondered why I would want to do that again...

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

Q:  I have been doing Centering Prayer for about 20 years.  Some years ago,
during my meditation practice, my head started shaking and jerking from side
to side....Has anyone else had this experience?
 

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

Q:  Hello from Malaysia!  Our group has been practising twenty minutes of Centering Prayer followed by Lectio Divina ( with the 4 movements - Read, Reflect, Response and Rest)  for some time. There is a suggestion from someone that we could start with Lectio Divina...

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
Falling Asleep in Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I pray daily, at least once a day, using the Centering Prayer method. Sometimes I will fall asleep and then wake myself up abruptly from the dream state I fall into. This can happen multi-times in a single prayer session. Is this normal? Is this something to be avoided?

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Opening Prayer?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Hi! I'm looking for the opening prayer you use in Contemplative Outreach Ltd. The one I'm used to, but cannot find a reference to anywhere, being so long ago, is: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Creator,Redeemer and Sanctifier, alive at the centre of our being, we wish to consent, in love, to you.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Consequences of “Sin”
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Father Thomas teaches with authority that God has forgiven our sins. But he also sometimes seems to say that we are stuck with "the consequences of our sins."  How does Father Thomas define "the consequences of sin"? ... Perhaps I am asking whether God intervenes, are there miracles that can free us from the "consequences of sin" or is this just my small self trying to control things?

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Contemplative Spirituality
The Blessed Sacrament as a Vestibule
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  When I'm sitting in a small chapel doing my Centering and the Blessed Sacrament is exposed directly in front of me, must I close my eyes? Behind the Monstrance is a beautiful crucifix... Am I still Centering with my eyes open in this situation?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Placing Your Attention IN
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I have been doing Centering Prayer for 6+months now, and have hit a bit of a road block. In reading Cynthia Bourgeault's book, The Heart of  Centering Prayer, and after a few days of intense Centering Prayer, I am now unsure about a particular aspect of Centering Prayer...I am having a difficult time in my Centering Prayer practice with this lack of clarity in the focus and aim of the practice.

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Centering Prayer
What is "My Shadow Self"
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. I am quite new to practicing Centering Prayer and entering into the contemplative life, and I am craving it more and more. I am an avid reader and have been enjoying Father Keating's books and meditations. I come from a non-denominational background, so everything is new to me. Could you please explain what "my shadow self" is? I have heard this term several times. Or is there a different place I could get the information?

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
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
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
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 Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I know my sacred word is not a mantra. It is for me to use to express my intention of attending during my prayer time and I am to return to it when I find myself caught by some distraction.

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer and Breathing
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I'm rather new to Centering Prayer. Perhaps the most common thought I have while practicing, which takes me away from my sacred word, is an awareness of my breathing. I've noticed that although I'm not mouthing my sacred word ...  Perhaps I'm so much of an audio learning that I can't help but link my thoughts to my breathing? Anyways, is this a concern?...

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Centering Prayer
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

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