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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
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
Sharing about the Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have joined a Centering Prayer group in which the leader asks people to share their prayer experience with the person next to them. This does not seem to fit with Father Keating’s message. What do you think?

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Restlessness During Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I was a regular practitioner of Centering Prayer in the 1990's. For the last few years, however, I make time for it in the mornings after reading some scripture, but can't seem to settle down. I cannot seem to empty my thoughts and focus on the sacred word. I get restless to sit for more than 5-10 minutes. Do I need to just grit my teeth and make myself do this?

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Centering Prayer
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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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
Intention, Mindfulness, and Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Our Centering Prayer group got into a discussion about 'mindfulness,' which I understand to have to do with attentive presence, awareness, being in the present, etc. The question arose, "What is the relationship between 'mindfulness' and 'intention,' as we use the latter in our Centering Prayer practice?

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

Q:  I tried Centering Prayer for some time but reached a point where during my prayer time I was constantly assailed by profane words, words I assiduously avoid in my life.

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Centering Prayer and Brainwave Entrainment Products
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. For the past 6 months I have been using a brainwave entrainment product ...  What are your thoughts and cautions about using this technology to deepen and accelerate my meditation practice?

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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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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
A State of Contemplation?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. recently the conversation with God seems to have changed. I THINK that He sometimes speaks to me out of my own mouth, but I'm not sure if it's just wishful thinking on my part or not...is what I'm describing even possible? Does God ever work this way, or am I just being naive?

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
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
An Awakening Mystic
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  My major spiritual awakening happened in August 2012, I've seen many signs and messages from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit moved me to become Catholic that year too and I was confirmed March of 2013. I realize that I am a mystic.

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

Q:  I have been doing Centering Prayer for many years.  Have found it useful at 3:00AM when St. Teresa of Avila says Imagination is the fool of the House.  This morning I sat in my chair and started with my sacred word Abba. Immediately I heard...

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Feeling Nothing
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: After many years of Centering Prayer and feeling that I was just where I should be, things have changed for me. When I go to prayer there is nothing but thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. And I am thinking, "Who am I fooling? Myself? ...

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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
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
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
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
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

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