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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
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
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Archive Related to the Spiritual Journey
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I saw a notation by Fr. Keating about Heaven right here on earth.   Does this take away the hope of a better place to go when I die?

A:  Not at all. Heaven is being in the presence of the almighty and loving God for eternity - a living and ongoing presence...

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Contemplative Spirituality, 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
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
"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
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
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
The Welcoming Prayer and "letting go of the desire for security, affection, and control."
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I have a question about the Welcoming Prayer, related to "letting go of the desire for security, affection, and control." I say the prayer often during my daily encounters and frustrations and it brings great comfort and reminds me to "truly let go."

My question has to do with the conflict of letting go of these desires and yet setting future goals that include financial planning (security) and relationships (affection) that one would like to achieve in life. I truly believe God wants us to be happy and security and affection do include happiness. Can you please shed some like on this potential conflict?

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Welcoming Prayer, 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
When you are in pain...
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

When you are in pain, can you still practice the Welcoming Prayer if you take pain pills and/or tranquilizers?

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Welcoming 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
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
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
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
Is “God is All, in All” a way of saying that God’s immanent?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I see the title of the new DVD in your store, “God is All, in All”, and it makes me wonder about the transcendent nature of God. Is God transcendent? Or, is “God is All, in All” a way of saying that God’s immanent?

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Contemplative Spirituality
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
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
Does God Judge?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality
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
Finding a Quiet Place
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  My mother is 92, lives with us and has for the last 5 years...  It is so hard to find time to sit in quietness...  I go into my bedroom and shut the door.  And try to shut out the noise.  My question is, can you truly center even if you can't find a quiet place in your home?

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

Q. Fr. Keating recommending four spiritual exercises; one of them was the development of the breath prayer, which might help us truly be followers of our Lord who prayed constantly. I am unfamiliar with the breath prayer; I would appreciate your describing it.

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
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
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
There is No Other
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. ... Many years ago I listened to a tape by Fr. Keating, and in the end of one of the talks, Thomas says something about the journey resulting in "There is no other, because you have become the other.”

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating