Centering Prayer

Sunday AM at 8:45;  Thursday PM at 4:00    All are Welcome!

“Prayer is not a request for God’s favours…Genuine prayer is based on recognising the Origin of all that exists, and opening ourselves to it.”   ~Cynthia Bourgeault

CENTERING PRAYER: THE VERY BASICS

Most faith traditions have some form of meditation or contemplation. Virtually all methods of meditation have a goal of expanding, or deepening, the consciousness of the practitioner. The details vary.  At Trinity, we follow the model of The Contemplative Society which focuses on Centering Prayer, a surrender method of meditation, or contemplative prayer, that reaches back to the early days of Christianity.

In her book Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening*, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that even though we can perhaps find ways to stop “outer noise” it is much more difficult to still the “inner noise”(p.5). She says Centering Prayer “….is a very simple method for reconnecting us with that natural aptitude for the inner life…(p.6) which, over time, of its own accord, leads to personal self-emptying and a more unitive outer life.

HOW TO “DO” CENTERING PRAYER:

• Find a quiet space where you are unlikely to be disturbed.

• Sit in a way that allows you to be relaxed in body and alert in mind. Use a chair, meditation cushion or prayer rug, according to your own physical needs and preferences.

• Gently close your eyes.

• “Allow your heart to open toward that invisible but always present Origin of all that exists ” (p. 6)

• Whenever you become aware of a thought, no matter what its nature, let it go.

• Use a “sacred word”.

This is a word or short phrase that helps you to let go of thoughts. It is a reminder of your intention to remain open to the silence. Generally sacred words fall into one of 2 categories: “God” words/phrases such as “Abba”, “Jesu, “Mary”, “Reality”, “Come Lord” or “state” words/phrases such as “love”, “peace”, “be still”. Sacred words are not used as mantras, as in constantly repeating them, but as a reminder of your intention to remain open.

• Continue this practice for 20 minutes. At the end of the time get up and go about your business, leaving the practice behind, in the same way you let go of your thoughts.

• 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.

• Two 20-30 minute sits per day are considered ideal. It is strongly recommended that no one meditates for more the 60 minutes a day unless you are attending a structured retreat with experienced leaders.

*from the Contemplative Society website https://www.contemplative.org/contemplative-practice/centering-prayer/