“Silence on a regular basis offers a kind of universal healing for everybody no matter what their religion
or if they are of no religion.” ~ Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer is an ancient meditation practice that has been used over the centuries, but it is different from what one may think of as prayer. It is not the type of prayer that many people are used to, like praying for something they want. It is simply moving deep within ourselves, in silence, saying nothing, asking for nothing, just being, by letting go of your thoughts and allowing your Higher Power to be with you.
Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention.
• The sacred word expresses our intention to consent to your Higher Powers presence and action within.
• Use a word of one or two syllables, such as: Love, Listen, Mercy, Let Go, Faith, Trust.
• Having chosen a sacred word, we do not change it during the prayer period because that would be engaging thoughts.
Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, .
• “Sitting comfortably”means relatively comfortably so as not to encourage sleep during the time of prayer.
• Whatever sitting position we choose, we keep the back straight.
• We close our eyes as a symbol of letting go of what is going on around and within us.
• We introduce the sacred word inwardly as gently as laying a feather on a pillow.
• If we fall sleep, we simply continue the prayer upon awakening.
When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
• “Thoughts” include body sensations, sense perceptions, feelings, images, memories, plans, reflections, concepts, commentaries, and spiritual experiences.
• Thoughts are an inevitable, integral and normal part of Centering Prayer.
• By “returning ever-so-gently to the sacred word” a minimum of effort is indicated. This is the only activity we initiate during the time of Centering Prayer.
• During the course of Centering Prayer, the sacred word may become vague or disappear.
At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
• The additional two minutes enables us to bring the atmosphere of silence into everyday life.
*People who are just beginning, and are particularly restless in mind and body, may find it easier to start off with shorter prayer periods, perhaps only 5 minutes per sit to start. Then after a few days extend the time to 10 minutes and so on until you are able to sit for 20 minutes. Give the practice at least 2 weeks before you decide if it is right for you.