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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
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
Spiritual Direction and the Contemplative Path
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am new to contemplative prayer.   I have been meditating for 15 years, but have decided to take contemplative prayer as my spiritual path as it suits me better... My question is to do with a spiritual teacher or guide. While a person like this is needed in Eastern spiritual practices, is it also needed in contemplative prayer?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
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
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
Receptivity
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am a commissioned presenter of the Centering Prayer introductory workshop and when I am elaborating on the notion of being receptive I describe the proper disposition as one of passive receptivity.  I'm trying to convey the idea that God is doing what needs to be done and we just trust and let it happen.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Centering Prayer and the Transformation of Suffering
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I've been a Centering Prayer practitioner for several years and I've just finished reading The Better Part - Stages of Contemplative Living by Fr. Keating. I think that I've been going through the Night of Sense for the past few months. My question is whether the suffering (if that's the correct word) that I've felt by not having the desires of my false self met, can be considered "suffering", and considered as "redemptive suffering"?

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

Q:  I am curious about the difference in effects between a Buddhist meditation and Centering Prayer, given that in Centering Prayer there is a large emphasis on consenting to the Divine presence as we are being "worked on." In Buddhist meditation, since there is no such intention to an outside source, does the same kind of "divine therapy" take place regardless? Or are there different effects?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
False Self and Personality
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. What is the relation between the unique personality and the false self?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
God's Action Within
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I keep reading about "Gods action within." What does that mean? What does it look like? How can I know it?

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

Q:  I have tried to practice Centering Prayer for a while. I have been wondering if my intent of receiving the inner peace and silence from practicing is a "legitimate" reason, or if I'm looking for personal gains only, and this may not be a good reason to pursue practice? What do you advise anybody interested in Centering Prayer to think or do about motivations and intentions when considering this path of spirituality?

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

Can Centering Prayer take place at the level of our being? Your comments and corrections please.

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Centering Prayer
The Sacred Word in Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have found it difficult to use just one word as I meditate. A simple 3-word phrase - that resonates strongly with me - is most comfortable for me. Is it appropriate to use a phrase and not a single word?

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

I've been doing Centering Prayer faithfully for over 20 years. Now I rarely read, haven't been to a retreat in 5-10 years, etc.  Why?

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"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
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
Just Be in the Silence
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I've been practicing Centering Prayer for about two years. It has helped me in more ways than I could ever express. My question has to do with what happens in the silence between the moments I use the sacred word. In those moments in between using the word am I simply to seek to be present/attentive to the Presence of God or would this be considered a thought too?

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Centering Prayer
Fees for Spiritual Resources
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Why are there fees for spiritual teachings and offerings?

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Contemplative Spirituality
The Maturation of the Sacred Word
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

During my Centering Prayer practice, I notice that my sacred word can change, become vague, become softer, a bit different, or more subtle, like there is no word, but only the energy. If I TRY for the word to become CLEAR, then I lose my practice and depth, and the word becomes a mantra -- something for attention, but not intention or surrender. Is that ok?

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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