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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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Governing Board Updates
Julie Saad, on behalf of the Governing Board of Contemplative Outreach
Voices of Community

As Pat Johnson prepares to retire from her role as Administrator of Contemplative Outreach Ltd. at the end of 2018, the governing board agreed by consensus to appoint her to serve as a member of the board.  The term of this volunteer position is for two years beginning January 1, 2019.  The appointment would fill the vacancy left by Lois Snowden’s departure after four years of dedicated service.

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Remembering Our Beloved
Julie Saad on behalf of The Governing Board of Contemplative Outreach
Voices of Community

Well done,
my good and faithful servant.
Come, share my joy.
- Matthew 25:21

As we mourn the passing of our beloved teacher, Fr. Thomas Keating, let us reflect on all that we have been given and discern together where we go from here.

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Father Thomas Keating
The Contemplative Dimension of Giving
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  During this time when giving has so much to do with emptying shelves and wallets, what is the contemplative dimension of giving?

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Contemplative Spirituality
The Wind Beneath Our Wings
Robbin T. Hartridge
Voices of Community

I first met that Irish monk years ago on the sidewalk.
I was alone, hesitant, looking for belonging
It was just the two of us standing there before Mass
when I found myself disappearing into the vast recesses of his robe
lost in the most loving, enrapturing hug I could possibly imagine
along with the thought that I could fly that day.

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Feeling Into the Great Love and Spaciousness That Is the Being of Father Thomas Keating
Alan Krema
Voices of Community

My relationship with Fr. Thomas Keating has not been lengthy in terms of time but has been lasting in support for my practice and ministry and is embedded in my body as an opening to an eternal love.

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Father Thomas Keating
Letter to Fr. Thomas from Ken Wilbur
Ken Wilbur
Voices of Community

A letter that Ken Wilber sent to Father Thomas shortly before he passed.

 

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Father Thomas Keating
Exploring Other Traditions
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I am a Christian contemplative, but find myself increasingly drawn to Buddhist meditation, but am afraid that I am deserting God as there is no emphasis on God in this Atisha Kadampa school. Would it be advisable to attend these classes or do you think it may harm my Christian walk?

 

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
The Active Prayer Practice
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: The active prayer is my daily "go to" practice along with Centering Prayer. Can you please clarify the differences and similarities between receptive and active contemplative practices, and how they can complement each other? Can the active prayer actually become a receptive practice?

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Centering Prayer, The Active Prayer Practice
God's Action Within
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I keep reading about "Gods action within." What does that mean? What does it look like? How can I know it?

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
The Integrity of the Teaching of the Centering Prayer Method
Fr. Thomas Keating
Voices of Community

The integrity of the teaching of the Centering Prayer method is presented in the four guidelines and its conceptual background as described in the Method of Centering Prayer brochure.

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Centering Prayer
The Song in Our Hearts
Rae England
Voices of Community

In the spring of 2002, we brought a young man from Kosovo to Dallas to be fitted with a prosthetic.  He had been living in England where he was expecting to receive immigrant status when the war broke out in his country.  “I couldn’t stand by and see my family in danger without doing something to help”, he told me and so he returned to Kosovo. 

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Praying with the Eyes of the Heart
Carol Quest
Voices of Community

Minnesota Contemplative Outreach sponsored an event called “Praying with the Eyes of the Heart.”  We gathered at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and began with Centering Prayer and then went in groups of four into the museum, each group guided by a “museum sage.” ... 

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality
Struggling with Thoughts During the Night
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I just read Fr. Keating's Open Mind, Open Heart book. What should I do during the night, while lying in bed, and I find myself with a bunch of general thoughts going on, as well as "engaged" thoughts? I tried using a sacred word when I found myself with an engaged thought, but then the action(s) made me more awake, and I was up for an hour or more trying to fall back to sleep. 

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating, The Active Prayer Practice
The Maturation of the Sacred Word
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

During my Centering Prayer practice, I notice that my sacred word can change, become vague, become softer, a bit different, or more subtle, like there is no word, but only the energy. If I TRY for the word to become CLEAR, then I lose my practice and depth, and the word becomes a mantra -- something for attention, but not intention or surrender. Is that ok?

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Centering Prayer
Why Meditation/Contemplation?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I've been practicing meditation/contemplation for more than twenty years. As of late, I am periodically troubled by the question "why am I doing this, i.e., contemplation?" The question is in the context of why God wants us to perform what appears to be an act outside of what would be a normal life, i.e., an artificial act. Why is it needed and for what purpose or ultimate value? 

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
The Art of Divine Therapy
Bob Mischke, M.D.
Voices of Community

Fr. Thomas Keating states that two things happen in the inner room:  We get in touch with our basic core of goodness, and the process of divine therapy is initiated and unfolds.  What is divine therapy and how does that happen?

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer and Embodied Contemplative Practices – My Experience
Josefina Fernandez
Voices of Community

The article in the January 2018 e-bulletin, "Contemplative Movement" by Robin Gates, affirmed so many experiences that I observed during the first few years of my Centering Prayer practice. I noticed that my body began asking for movement as never before during reading, working on the computer, attending conferences, etc.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Extending Time in Centering Prayer
Mary Dwyer
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

What insight does CO have in regards to increasing one's practice to two to three hours per day? Our only insight into this is that it is more like an intensive retreat setting ... 

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Service Teams Can Assist You with Practice, Programs and Training
Various
Other

A summary of the offerings of the various service teams and the services offered by the volunteer coordinator.

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Centering Prayer: Practicing The Peace That Passes All Understanding
Josh Gilmore
Voices of Community

On the western wall of Greystone chapel within Folsom state prison hangs a mural painting. A reconstruction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s "Last Supper," painted by a Folsom inmate nearly a century ago. The faces, those of other convicts the inmate artist was serving time with, adorn the bodies of the twelve disciples who surround the central Jesus figure as they react to the news of his imminent betrayal.

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The Welcoming Prayer and Taking Action
Welcoming Prayer Service Team
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I understand the Welcoming Prayer is about acceptance.  But what about change and action? If your boss treats you bad, your doctor ignores your health, if someone threatens your loved ones? Doesn't the Welcoming Prayer make us passive in situations?

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Table Discussion, Overall Summary from the Contemplative Outreach Conference in Denver, September 21-24, 2017
John Kelsey
Voices of Community

The following is an edited collection of comments generated during several hours of small group discussions at the Contemplative Outreach Conference in Denver September 21-24, 2017. 

Comments were gathered from 15 posters prepared during the course of the conference.  These are the prayerful thoughts and hopes of our contemplative community. 

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Centering Prayer and the Transformation of Suffering
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I've been a Centering Prayer practitioner for several years and I've just finished reading The Better Part - Stages of Contemplative Living by Fr. Keating. I think that I've been going through the Night of Sense for the past few months. My question is whether the suffering (if that's the correct word) that I've felt by not having the desires of my false self met, can be considered "suffering", and considered as "redemptive suffering"?

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
The Good News of Accompaniment
Chandra Hanson
Voices of Community

... An encounter with Divine Love captivates.  It changes us.  Sue’s “yes” brought something to life in me and in the group; it called me on and encouraged me to stretch in new ways, giving me new eyes with which to see the Spirit’s movement among us.   It prompted conversations in the circle about the miraculous paradox of God’s transcendence and immanence; more than many in the “free world,” those who are incarcerated often both better understand the Reality that transcends time and space and better appreciate the gift of in-the-flesh visitors whose simple presence communicates God’s love and care.  There is a reason God took on flesh.  I am humbled and filled with gratitude every time I travel to join the inmates for our circle, knowing that simply by showing up I participate in God’s ongoing Incarnation. ... 

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The Good News of Accompaniment
Chandra Hanson
Voices of Community

... An encounter with Divine Love captivates.  It changes us.  Sue’s “yes” brought something to life in me and in the group; it called me on and encouraged me to stretch in new ways, giving me new eyes with which to see the Spirit’s movement among us.   It prompted conversations in the circle about the miraculous paradox of God’s transcendence and immanence; more than many in the “free world,” those who are incarcerated often both better understand the Reality that transcends time and space and better appreciate the gift of in-the-flesh visitors whose simple presence communicates God’s love and care.  There is a reason God took on flesh.  I am humbled and filled with gratitude every time I travel to join the inmates for our circle, knowing that simply by showing up I participate in God’s ongoing Incarnation. ... 

Read More.

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