Sunday, April 3, 2011

Introduction to Centering Prayer

Our small centering prayer group has been meeting for most of four years now. Our circle sometimes expands, sometimes contracts -- we may have three or four who pray on a Monday night to or perhaps eight or ten. This Lent, our priest, who has tried very hard for all of four years to avoid centering, has been led to join our group as a discipline for this season.

As might be expected, this has generated quite an interest in the group throughout the church, and we have had various visitors over the last several weeks. Some have merely appeared for one week, and some have returned to sit again. We are glad for the new life, but an unintended consequence has been that our leader, Gus, has given the "Intro to Centering Prayer" speech every single week since the first Monday of Lent!

Of course, it is a bit awkward to those of us who have heard said speech many times before, particularly to sit through it multiple weeks in a row. But, in the spirit of the centering prayer group, I have been trying to be more present, more aware, and find what the Spirit would have for me in this time.

I realized, as I listened, how deeply centering has become woven into my life. I remember those first hesitant days as I tried to center my first five minutes after reading Fr. Arico's (I think that is the correct name) description of the prayer. Something tugged at me.

And I remember thinking that perhaps the somewhat fundamentalist-leaning people at my (former) church would find out what I was doing and condemn me to whatever happens to people who become involved with deeper spirituality. And perhaps, I thought, I would just stop (and avoid that danger). But somehow, I could not.

I think about my on-and-off experience with centering for (can it be?) 6 years and how much of an unpracticed seeker I still consider myself; how I was drawn to the silence for the first time during RC's seminar on Lectio Divina.

I never thought this thread would be woven over and under so many pieces of my life. I did not see the windings on which this path would lead me. I do not know how I came from there to here. I only know I cannot but reach deeper into the silence of His presence.

I think, after all, it is good to review.



living stones said...

Sarah, thank you for sharing this part of your personal spiritual journal. It is both meaningful and personally encouraging to hear how you have been drawn deeper into the silence and the practice of centering.

When you say you are still "an unpracticed seeker," I think of the words our friend Ed, who has been in our centering prayer group for years. He often reminds us, "When we think we've ‘got it,’ then we've already lost it." Commitment to the journey over the long term matters, and in the end, I think we all want what you want--" be more present, more aware, and find what the Spirit would have for [us] in this time." Thanks again for this lovely post.

Blessings, Anna

RC said...

Sarah, I love this post. Thank you for sharing your reflection that "after all, it is good to review." I agree. I'm glad we share the sense of centering being woven into our lives and grateful to be on this journey with you, seeking to "reach deeper into the silence of His presence," as you said.
--Blessings and grace, Rickey

Mark Wills said...

Sarah, I love the sense of spiritual entanglement I get when I read someone's experiences and feel my own subjective resonance. Thanks for sharing your testimony with us. I have paused to review myself and my practice this morning after reading your post. It is a mystery how this practice changes us all! Glad to be in process with you and the group here!

Paul Corrigan said...

This is a good thing to realize: "I realized, as I listened, how deeply centering has become woven into my life." Amen. May an ever more abiding awareness of God's presence be woven into all of our lives. I echo the appreciation for this post voiced above.

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