4: Introduction to Centering Prayer, Pt. 2

P. Karl Stadler, Descendit de Coelis 1969

When all things were in quiet silence …
thy powerful word … leapt down
from heaven.
– Wisdom 18:14

“The root of prayer is interior silence. We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. Deep prayer is the laying aside of thoughts. It is the opening of mind and heart, body and feelings – our whole being – to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond words, thoughts and emotions. …

“Like the air we breathe, this Divine Presence is all around us and within us, distinct from us, but never separate from us. …

“Without effort, without trying, we sink into this Presence, letting everything else go by. Let love alone speak: the simple desire to be one with Presence, to forget self, and to rest in the Ultimate Mystery. …

“I know that I am known. Everything in my life is transparent in this Presence. It knows everything about me – all my weakness, brokenness, sinfulness – and still loves me infinitely. This Presence is healing, strengthening, refreshing … non-judgmental. … A door opens within me, but from the other side. …

“We wait patiently; in silence, openness, and quiet attentiveness; motionless within and without. We surrender to the attraction to be still, to be loved, just to be.”
– Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart, “A Meditation”

A Meditation

“Divine love … mothers us, encourages us, challenges us and consoles us … Divine love is personal and intimate. It gives itself to us in complete freedom. It is what makes us whole, or complete, what heals us from the scars or wounds of the human condition.

“The Divine calls us all into being out of itself. We are meant for it: that is the point of the spiritual journey. The journey puts us on the road to realizing and actualizing who we really are in our ultimate being.”
– Wayne Teasdale, The Mystic Heart

Centering Prayer is entry into a process of inner transformation, as well as a method of prayer and prayer itself. Trusting in the process of Centering Prayer is a major step forward in the spiritual journey. As Fr. Thomas notes in Open Mind, Open Heart, “This interior process … mean letting go of all personal agendas, expectations, and desires for divine consolation, psychological breakthroughs, and self-reflections of any kind.”

To Practice
  • View the video excerpt on “The Method of Centering Prayer, Pt. 2” which is about five minutes in length. In the video segment, Fr. Thomas offers us practical insights and suggestions:
    • When and when not to do the prayer
    • Noticing physical symptoms and listening to the body
    • The “psychological evacuation process”
  • You may wish to review the Centering Prayer guidelines again. Re-consent again. Offer your whole being, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes – body, soul, spirit – to God’s presence and action.
Resources for Further Study:

You may wish to read Chapter 2 in Open Mind, Open Heart (20th Anniversary Edition); chapter 4 in older editions.

Video

“The Method of Centering Prayer, Part 2,” from The Spiritual Journey Prologue, 4.4 mins.


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Transcript

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Audio for this Narrative

"The Method of Centering Prayer, Part 2," from The Spiritual Journey Prologue, 4.4 mins.
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