Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 22 Challenge - Centering & Living The Contemplative Life

On a facebook discussion, a person that I really respect shared that he had been trying a centering prayer method and it has helped him a lot in terms of listening, focusing and awakening spiritual attentiveness. It's believed that awakening is about something that is inside of us, that is already there.

Therefore today I have made a decision to learn the practice of centering prayer & living the contemplative life

"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? I am not myself the Source of the words I speak to you: It is the Father who dwells in me doing his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else accept the evidence of the deeds themselves. In very truth I tell you, whoever has faith in me will do what I am doing, indeed he will do greater things still because I am going to the Father. Anything you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14: 10)

The advice is: resist no thought, retain no thought, react emotionally to no thought, and when you notice you are thinking about some thought, return ever so gently to the sacred word (eg: silence, solitude, service). 
One does not think about whether to return to the sacred word or not. One simply returns to it when thoughts are attracting one's awareness to a particular object. Beginners need it whenever they notice they are thinking about some other thought. In following this advice, we note the fact that the sacred word may become indistinct or even disappear for a limited period of time. When thoughts again engage our attention, we return to the sacred word as before. Thus, a disposition of alert receptivity is gradually formed.

Later it is suggested that we return to the sacred word or symbol only when we notice that we are attracted to some other thought. The meaning of this advice is that with time and regular daily practice one can discern intuitively whether one is disinterested in the thoughts that are coming down the stream of consciousness. Disregard of the thoughts is the sign that the consent of the will is becoming habitual. 

The Centering prayer is a new concept, so I think it'll take me a while to learn it and get used to it. But I believe this is important in helping me reach my 30day challenge of living a better and richer life.

What about you? Do you resonate with the centering prayer and contemplative life? I'd appreciate your comments and thoughts.


Anonymous said...

I am practicing centering prayer and it's been helpful. Check out Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening' by Cynthia Bourgeault. It's a great book.


Evan said...

I use journalling rather than a particular prayer, but centring I find very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Cynthia is in HK right now - and will be talking meditation this Sunday at the Lamma Island Philosophy Cafe. 7pm, Bookworm Cafe. Send a friend!