| ANNE WILLIAMSON |
Returning from vacation is never easy. It's been especially hard for me this week. I've been emotionally chaotic and physically stagnant; the worst of combinations in my book. Sure, it's also brought about some blessed conversations and insights, but I can't help thinking, if only I'd taken the time to center and listen, I could have kept the "a-ha's" and skipped the drama.
Hence, my offering to you today is what I offered myself this morning: Centering Prayer. LEARN, LISTEN, LOVE...
Paraphrased from "The Method of Centering Prayer" by Thomas Keating
We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. Contemplative Prayer - of which Centering Prayer is a method - is opening the mind and heart - our whole being - to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words, and emotions. Through grace we open our awareness to God whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing - closer than consciousness itself.
Centering Prayer Guidelines:
1. During a brief period of silent listening to the Spirit, choose a sacred word or short phrase as the symbol of your intention to consent to God's presence and action within. (Instead of a sacred word, you may notice your breath, or a candle or other centering image.)
2. Sitting comfortably and with your eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word.
3. When engaged with your thoughts**, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word. Sometimes it helps to watch your thoughts float by as if leaves on a stream or clouds in the sky.
4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes. Intend to bring this atmosphere of silence - of centeredness and listening - into everyday life.
**"Thoughts" is an umbrella term for every perception, including body sensations, sense perceptions, feelings, images, memories, plans, reflections, concepts, commentaries and spiritual experiences.
What's stirring in you? What questions remain? Ask them. And, learn more here. Keep learning and listening...
What do you hear? What is stirring in you? Keep listening...
Of course, this week, I suggest loving yourself, God and others through giving Centering Prayer a try. Or, recommitting to a meditation method that works for you. Either way, carve out 20 minutes in the next 24 hours and see what comes. Namaste.**
**I love this definition of namaste: "I honor the place within you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place within you, which is of Love, of Truth, of Light and of Peace. When you are in that place within you and I am in that place within me, WE ARE ONE."