Articles

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Centering Prayer in Czechia and Slovakia
Teresia Hasanova
Voices of Community

My first encounter with Centering Prayer was in 2010 in Cambridge, England, where I was taking a two-year course of study on The Art of Spiritual Direction.  One of my fellow students invited me to a Centering Prayer group meeting. From the very beginning I knew that this was just right for me. I have been practicing it ever since. When I came back to my country – Czechia -- I started a small Centering Prayer group in my village. ...

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Centering Prayer
The Sacred Breath
Corey Krupowicz
Voices of Community

Throughout most of my contemplative practice, the breath has been my natural access point into realms of Divine expansion. So much so that it has become my sacred symbol of consent during Centering Prayer. Over the years, I have also studied and practiced many eastern breathing techniques and have found they are easily incorporated into my Centering Prayer practice as a way to embody and deepen relationship with the heart of the Divine.

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The Birth of God Within
Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D.
Voices of Community

... The reflection I offer here is adapted from a small portion of my book, Contemplating Christ: The Gospels and the Interior Life (Liturgical Press, 2018). It serves as part of a larger reflection on what Christian tradition refers to as the inevitable outcome of the Incarnation: that all of us have been deified in Christ. Or to put it as did St. Athanasius in the 4th Century, “God became human that humans might be made divine.” That is the meaning of deification: to be “made divine” in Christ.

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Contemplative Spirituality, Liturgy
Finding Wonders in the Desert
The Members of the Graceville Correctional Facility Centering Prayer Group
Voices of Community

Few go willingly into the desert. It is a harsh life, more about survival than comfort. The silence can blister like the noonday sun. But harsh does not mean empty, nor does silence mean one is alone. We are people of the prison wilderness, children of the desert of the Real. We are young and old, male and female, slave and free – all connected by the unifying life we find in what is often perceived as a wasteland. What is it about the prison wilderness that lends itself so well to Centering Prayer? 

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Centering Prayer, Prison Ministry
What Goes On in the Inner Room?
Fr. Carl J. Arico and Leslee Anne Terpay
Voices of Community

A lot goes on in the inner room, most of which Is invisible to us on a sensory and psychological level.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Some Teeny Centering in the Tiny Hours
Larry Crawley-Woods
Voices of Community

I left the bedroom at 1:43 am, confident my congested, snoring wife would happily sleep away the night on her own. I made for the guest room and quiet. At 4:06 am I finally lifted my old, sore back off the soft mattress and went downstairs to the firmer sofa, my third nocturnal venue. Instead of lying down immediately to try and salvage the rest of the night I sat down instead to give my back a break.

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Centering Prayer
The Nameless Place
Hal Green
Voices of Community

I enter what enters me,
Reaching a place in me, yet not in me,
Releasing me to extend beyond
The sensed boundaries
Of my being alone in the world.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Brief Contemplative Lessons from Meister Eckhart
L. J. Milone
Voices of Community

Meister Eckhart was a Dominican friar who lived in fourteenth-century Germany. He was a contemplative engaged in preaching and teaching.  When he preached, his sermons were subtle and sublime.  ...  He has much to teach those who practice Centering Prayer and anyone seeking to live contemplatively.  Here are but three brief lessons.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Going Inside: An Elder Brother Learns the Father’s Embrace
Chandra Hanson
Voices of Community

... Navigating the complexities and the far-reaching consequences of this unexpected tragedy coincided with a chapter of my life filled with experiences of betrayal and feelings of personal failure.  I was shaken to the core and could no longer deny the capacity for evil in myself and others.  Fr. Keating’s words capture it well: “The damage that our emotional programs for happiness are doing to us and to our relationships becomes apparent.  From this perspective our good deeds look like piles of dirty dishrags” (4).  Somehow, as my illusions unraveled, a seed was sown for what would become my passion. ...

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating, Prison Ministry
Contemplative Tattooing
Words and art by Corey Krupowicz
Voices of Community

Many years of meditation have given me the time to develop a relationship with the Divine in silence and solitude. This ever-deepening relationship has conditioned me to bring contemplative practices into my work as a tattoo artist. To be a contemplative tattoo artist is to serve others who seek to adorn their bodies with art.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, The Active Prayer Practice
Silence is Not Empty: It is Filled with God
Rich Lewis
Voices of Community

When I practice Centering Prayer, I respond to God’s question, “Will you sit with me (Matthew 11:28)?” When we center like Jesus, we say, “Not what I want, but what you want” (Mark 14:35). I sit in silence to be loved and healed by God. Silence creates a space for us to heal. The space created by silence and stillness helps us find our equilibrium, our center of gravity.

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Centering Prayer
Desire and Everyday Mysticism
Fr. Daniel Renaud, OMI
Voices of Community

In our lives and in our prayer practice, we often unconsciously live out two different types of spirituality ... It is a spirituality of desire that meets our deepest aspirations, because it is based on the encounter with the other and plunges us into a new birth in God's love. It calls us beyond the self to deepen our identity as a gift from God.

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Contemplative Spirituality
Tuning-in to Nature
Camille Bunting, Ph.D
Voices of Community

If we take time to look and listen, nature provides space and oxygen to breathe, salve for our souls and encouragement for our spirits.  However, to access that bounty, there is a tuning-in process that requires entering a slower pace than that to which we are accustomed.  Tuning-in is not about looking at and appreciating nature, but actually experiencing it and in doing so, developing eyes to see and ears to hear the voice of the Divine cosmos. There are messages for us in Nature.  But how exactly does a person tune-in to receive those messages? 

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Introducing Centering Prayer and the Practice of Silence to Young Adults
Patricia Shahen and Peter Morgan
Voices of Community

... At one point, we noted that we were all over 50, and many of us were 65 plus. We talked about the need to include young people in our Centering Prayer groups and about ways to introduce them to the practice of silence, which seemed especially important in this digital age with constant, instant feedback. ...

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
A Lenten Visio Divina at Gallery W83 in NYC
Lindsay Boyer
Voices of Community

When it was time to exhibit the wood block prints that came out of her residency at the foot of Mt. Fuji in Japan, Julie Shelton Snyder wanted to create not only a gallery show, but also an event that would acknowledge the relationship between the contemplative nature of her work and her 14 years of Centering Prayer practice.  I was delighted when Julie and The Gallery at W83 approached me to help create a contemplative experience that would honor the connection between Julie’s art and her Centering Prayer practice.

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How Contemplative Outreach of South Africa came into being
Elizabeth Norton-Amor
Voices of Community

Our founder was Winnie Young, and in 1995 Fr Carl Arico (on his first of 4 visits) helped her establish an ad-hoc national committee.

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Sacred Pathways Into Centering Prayer
Jim Reale
Voices of Community

“The contemplative dimension is the heart and soul of every religion. It initiates the movement into higher states of consciousness.  The great wisdom teachings of the Vedas, Upanishads, Buddhist Sutras, Old and New testaments, and the Koran-to name a few of the best known-bear witness to this truth.” This is the initial thought Fr. Thomas Keating chose to begin his writings in Manifesting God. Knowing Fr. Thomas’ immense respect for universal wisdom, his mind and heart always open to the Ultimate Reality, could we say that the teachings and practices from other wisdom traditions have the potential to enhance, enrich, and prepare us for the practice of Centering Prayer?

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Who Will Replace Thomas Keating?
Phil Jackson
Voices of Community

Who will replace Thomas Keating? I’m starting to hear that question more. This is not a new question. It has been asked hundreds of times or more before our beloved 95-year-old spiritual father passed. Thomas answered this himself though. He was asked, with varying degrees of tact, “Who will replace you?”, and he would reportedly answer “You! and you, and you, and you…” to those in attendance at the time.

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
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
Governing Board Updates 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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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 Wilber
Ken Wilber
Voices of Community

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

 

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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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