An early meditational, devotional Christian practice has been revived to a current practice now called Centering Prayer. Three monks from St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts headed the revival. Thomas Keating, Wm. Meninger, and Basil Pennington are credited with the modern emergence of the practice.
The great thing about it is that it presents as a contemplative prayer or meditation available to anyone of any faith. There are numerous types of prayer, and this one is really a healing prayer. Its benefits far outweigh any detractors. A great spiritual development and growth takes place while practicing a relationship with God. The higher perception and reception to God within gradually helps overcome any fears of silence, or other contemplation biases that detract from practicing.
To practice centering prayer these 4 simple guidelines will do:
- Choose a sacred word.
- Sit comfortably, back straight with eyes closed.
- When your thoughts engage, return to your sacred word, gently.
- At the end of the prayer time, stay in silence with eyes shut for a few minutes.
- Resist no thoughts.
- Retain no thoughts.
- React emotionally to no thoughts.
- Return to the sacred word, gently.
St. Benedicts Monastery in Old Snowmass, CO is where I have been fortunate enough to attend a silent retreat (10 day). Fr. Thomas Keating, one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach, lives there and I have heard him lecture, and visit people on retreat to share about centering prayer. He is a wonderful teacher and has written many books about centering prayer. One of my favorites is Open Mind Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel, definitely an enjoyable, easy to contemplate book. You can find more retreat centers that offer centering prayer by reading the contemplative outreach website.
This meditation has enhanced my life and continues to amaze me because I definitely notice a difference in my day when I don't practice. I tend to be calmer in my head which heals any craziness going on in there when I do practice. This is a beginning, I look forward to the unknown adventure ahead.