Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Thought on Community

Today, I went to an introductory workshop on Centering Prayer.

Odd, I know, for someone who has been centering for nearly two years and has been to two week-long centering prayer retreats, but I went, and I found unexpected depth of silent beauty.

It's rather a long story, but I wasn't in Lakeland long enough to be a part of this community before it became geographically scattered, so I long hoped for a centering prayer group in my area. One began in February of '07, but went on a rather extended sabbatical that is just now ending.

And this introductory workshop is its new beginning. I went to the workshop because I wanted to support my mom and sister, who were attending for the first time, and to be with the facilitator, who was facilitating on his own for the first time, I believe.

The twist came when this facilitator shared with us, in the course of the workshop, about how he had lost two of his children in the past year, one of whom had died just this past week. His humility, his love, his gentleness in opening himself to us truly affected the atmosphere of the workshop. There was a depth, a strength in our silence at the first centering prayer "practice" that I have rarely felt in a centering session, even among those most experienced in the practice.

Our workshop was an introduction to centering prayer in its deepest sense--an invitation to Fr. Keating's words, an invitation to love.

--Sarah Price


RC said...

Sarah, it's great to hear about the workshop and the presence and work of the Spirit there. Thank you for investing in sharing about it. Truly God is drawing us deeper into the Spirit and into relationship with one another. Your sharing strengthens and stabilizes me in this walk. I'm very grateful--

living stones said...

Sarah, I'm glad you were a part of the workshop as a support and as a blessed participant. It really does sound like "his [Gus's] humility, his love, his gentleness in opening himself" created a wonderful space for God's presence and action. We believe this, of course, but it is a real encouragement to have you be able to tell us about it. Maybe because I was beside you in the two retreats you mentioned, I was listening in a special way. Thank you for this sharing. Blessings--

living stones said...

Sarah, it is interesting that two posts in a row, yours and your mom's, bring death into the conversation. What Daniel commented to you mom's post about the "the pain of the world" applies to your post too. Reflecting on the stories that our community has shared, it seems to me that pain and "death" (in the many meanings of that term) are among the things that lead (drive) people to the contemplative life. The contemplative life is based on mystery and wonder, on living out questions: non-contemplative lives are often based on answers or on ignoring the questions, at any rate. The problem is that answers (too hard, too sure, or too fast) don't really answer the unanswerable realities of pain and suffering. I wrote an essay this summer called "Darkness, Questions, Poetry, and Spiritual Hope." It stems from the resources that this community (including you with this post) shares. Thanks for your sharing. --Paul

Blog Archive