Articles

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Difficulty in Doing a Second Sit
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have had numerous people tell me that they have no difficulty carving space for the first sit of the day, usually in the morning. But once the day gets going it is most difficult to find time for the second sit. I myself find the second sit difficult to find time for or even to remember.

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Centering Prayer
Concern About Welcoming Prayer and Passivity
Cherry Haisten
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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Welcoming Prayer
The Difference Between Quietism & Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  How is Centering Prayer distinct from Quietism which was declared a heresy in the 18th Century?

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Centering Prayer
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
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
Multimedia in My Head
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  When I tried to be open to God during Centering Prayer, I usually had a concordance of biblical accounts in multimedia or silent video format in my head, or modern life of mine or others. What do you call that, if it is not Centering Prayer or I am not doing it right?

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Centering Prayer
An Inward Gesture Instead of Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have had a hard time putting the use of the sacred word into practice. As it just feels like another thought to me. And even after many attempts with different sacred words, I haven't been able to find one that feels "right" or true to the deepest intention in my heart. So my question is, is it okay to replace the sacred word with an inward gesture of simply letting go and leaving it at that? Or is there an important aspect to the return to the sacred word that I am missing?

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Centering Prayer
Dogs and Self-Reflective Consciousness
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality
Discerning Decisions in Retirement
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality, 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
Monkey Mind on Extended Retreat
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been on many extended 8 - 10 retreats. On them I always have trouble going to sleep. The monkey mind is relentless! On my recent 10 day retreat at Snowmass, it got worse as the retreat progressed...

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
Discerning the Journey
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  ... None of my friends or family are religious, so I often feel alone in my spiritual life. It is hard to sustain a solid base for the spiritual life in these circumstances. ... Since I felt that my spiritual upbringing was drawn from the Catholic tradition I started having serious thoughts about converting, but now I am suddenly having very strong doubts. ... But I don’t find firm ground in the Norwegian protestant church either. So I feel homeless and adrift. Are my thoughts about converting most of all a sign of immature spiritual needs, of which I should ignore? ...

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

Q:  A very annoying thing happens to me during many (about 75%) of my Centering Prayer times. I salivate excessively which is distracting to me. I cannot find a commonality that would point to a cause for this. Is this something you have heard of before and/or do you have a suggestion for dealing with this?

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Centering Prayer
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
Praying for those in Purgatory
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Given Fr. Keating’s views on Purgatory, that one continues to grow and become enlightened, how does a person with a Centering Prayer practice pray for her loved ones in Purgatory? 

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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
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
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
Having a Vital Relationship with Christ
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been practicing Centering Prayer for ten years.  The grace of really knowing that I am loved by God has been given to me.  I am certain that at the moment of my death I will throw myself on God's mercy, and all will be well.  I will be with God for eternity.  However, recently a priest told me that I am guilty of the sin of presumption.  I don't understand...

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

Q:  A friend is a marathon runner.  He says he prays as he runs and he comes to a place of peace where miles seem to go by and he is unaware of them.  He wanted to know if  one always has to sit for it to be Centering Prayer.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Including People of Different Faiths in Centering Prayer Groups
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  What is your position on bringing in people of many different faiths to our Centering Prayer groups? When there is an interest in learning Centering Prayer, are we to concern ourselves with the interested parties’ religious background, e.g. whether or not they are Christian?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality