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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 Dark Nights, Who Does It Affect?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I wonder, can one experience the dark nights, if one is not practicing centering or contemplative prayer, but is just a devoted Christian? I somehow get the impression that the dark nights are necessary consequences of contemplative prayer only.

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Centering Prayer
God as Divine Therapist
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Fr. Keating, in his book Intimacy with God and elsewhere, develops the idea - the image - of God as Divine Therapist. Yet Fr. Keating also argues that we must not have or hold on to an image of God. How can this contradiction be reconciled?

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

Q:  My difficulty with Centering Prayer is distractions of thoughts spilling over and being unable to get to or sustain a deep place in the prayer. I usually sit down to pray and all is well. Then I read a psalm but a feeling or ache in my head starts before I center and linked thoughts just crowd my mind. It is more like a thinking mediation.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Renewing Our Understanding of the Contemplative Tradition
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

What is Contemplative Prayer?
Why is there a need for a renewal?
What about all the other forms of prayer?
What are the essential elements of Centering Prayer?

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Centering Prayer
"We acknowledge that any good accomplished by CO is the work of the Holy Spirit"
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q: This is about the wording of the Contemplative Outreach Theological Principle 16 - "We acknowledge that any good accomplished by CO is the work of the Holy Spirit". It is the word 'good' that bothers me. It is a value judgment word that means different things to different people. How do we judge what is good, and if it is not good, what is it?
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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
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
Discerning the Dark Nights
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been a meditator and spiritual practitioner for 10 years. As of last year around February I went from having many ecstatic blissful experiences of God into a dark night of the soul....I have been experiencing excruciating pains all through my body, subtle self and causal self and it goes on pretty much continuously except in moments of complete blissful union....

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

Q:  Sometimes as I am entering into Centering Prayer and settling into stillness, I hear an external sound--such as the purring of my cat or birdsong through an open window--and it sounds so sweet that I do not want to return to my sacred word.

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Centering Prayer and Existential Angst
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: In part my question relates to receptivity and trusting the process of Centering Prayer....What if I persist in Centering Prayer but don’t receive any tangible guidance, and have time continue to pass but still feel that I’m unsure of how to change or what to do about these circumstances that have been frustrating me so much?

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Q&A with Fr. Carl Arico ~ Meditation and Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: One of the new people in our Centering Prayer group asked me what the difference between meditation and Centering Prayer is. …

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Centering Prayer
Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have just turned 73 and for most of 50 years I have practiced Buddhism – Zen, later Vajrayana, and more recently Theravada (Vipassana meditation), although I was briefly a Catholic from age 14 to early 20s when my family converted.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Guiding New Practitioners
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: While debriefing the 20 minute prayer practice as part of the Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop, two participants shared experiences about which I would like some advice. One mentioned going in his "space" of a blue aura, which he recounted as the place where he infrequently experienced a special nearness of God. As he recounted it, it sounded like he was working hard to get into that space....

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Centering Prayer
The Accelerated Course for Those Over 80
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  In the book, The Human Condition, it mentions an accelerated course for people over 80.  I am looking for information on that program.

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Centering Prayer, Gift of Life, Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer and Young Children
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am based in the U.K. and about to launch Centering Prayer into the local junior school (children aged 4-11). The school head and deputy head are very keen for this to happen and we will be basing what we do with the children on the Journey to the Heart book.

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Centering Prayer
Discerning Decisions in Retirement
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Crisis of Faith During Troubles
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

The surgery was a success and I am confident that the outlook for both boys is very good. Nevertheless, this time around I have experienced a crisis of faith.

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

Q:  I would like to share with you something I experienced during my sit. I have been practiced Centering Prayer for 15 years, but the last year I have had great difficulty just doing it. I knew something was going to come up...

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

Q: I do Centering Prayer two times a day... During my evening prayer I get very restless after about 20 minutes. I usually like to pray for about 35-40 minutes. It gets very hard to sit for the last 10-20 minutes. Should I stop when the restlessness starts or ...

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Centering Prayer
Living in a Religious Vacuum
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q ... I have realised that I live in a kind of religious vacuum and I would like to reconnect with "religion" more fully. It feels like my home is in Christianity, however I am still unable to accept Christianity intellectually. ...How to proceed in this situation?

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

Q:  I am hoping to get some direction for myself and a community I work with.  I have schizo-affective mental illness, ...  Meds never controls that aspect of our lives completely.  We are hoping to find a safe and effective way to embrace silence and solitude for a part of our recovery process.    The challenge for us is that stillness and quiet leads to very disturbing hallucinations that we are all at varying degrees of knowing how to deal with.

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
I wonder why so many clergy are not aware of contemplative prayer?
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I wonder why so many clergy are not aware of contemplative prayer?  Even if they are, why don’t they share it with their congregations?

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Centering Prayer
On Use of the Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I have found that saying my sacred word continuously throughout Centering Prayer works better for me than only when thoughts come in. Is this all right also, or what is the difference?

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

Q:  On a recent Contemplative Outreach silent retreat I had my first encounter with the theme of contrition. I felt a little tickled because I knew that I was being much harder on myself than the Lord, who didn't seem as concerned as I.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Does God Judge?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality
Motivations and Service
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  In the past year I've have fully realized the Martha in me and my false-self motivations that permeated years of ministry.  By God's grace the Illuminative way is proceeding but I am challenged by Pope Francis’ call to move out and serve the marginalized.  ....  How do I discern if authentic or false-self stirrings are at work?

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Contemplative Spirituality

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