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We embrace the process of transformation in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of Centering Prayer.

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Living in a Religious Vacuum
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q ... I have realised that I live in a kind of religious vacuum and I would like to reconnect with "religion" more fully. It feels like my home is in Christianity, however I am still unable to accept Christianity intellectually. ...How to proceed in this situation?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Story of the Cloak: A legend Attributed to St. Bridget, Patroness of Ireland, circa 452 – 525
Fionnuala Quinn, OP
Voices of Community

As the story is told, Brigid went to the King of Leinster to tell him she needed land upon which to build a monastery.

"You do, you do," replied the king. "How much do you need?"

"We need only the land my cloak will cover – no more," she answered.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Union
Chris Plunkett
Voices of Community

I sometimes wonder
as I see the early morning frost.
Could it be that the blanket of white that covers everything Is compassion?
And the sky's soft glow after sunset is empathy?

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Contemplative Spirituality
What is Being “Welcomed” in the Practice of the Welcoming Prayer?
Cherry Haisten
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  What is being welcomed?  What if I don't feel "welcoming" … it seems like I can't even "feel and sink into" the sensation if I'm not able to welcome? 

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Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer
Falling Asleep in Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I pray daily, at least once a day, using the Centering Prayer method. Sometimes I will fall asleep and then wake myself up abruptly from the dream state I fall into. This can happen multi-times in a single prayer session. Is this normal? Is this something to be avoided?

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer: A Closer Walk with Our God
Fr. Matthew J. Flatley
Voices of Community

... And so I began the journey in earnest.  The more I prayed this way, the more I wanted to pray.  I love a reflection attributed to The Little Flower, Thérèse of Lisieux, who observes, “Jesus teaches me in my heart without the noise of words.”  This was my experience.  As Catherine of Siena instructs, “Build yourself a cell in your heart and retire there to pray.”  I did just this, as a twice daily practice, and I soon went from believing to knowing. 

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
God as Divine Therapist
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Fr. Keating, in his book Intimacy with God and elsewhere, develops the idea - the image - of God as Divine Therapist. Yet Fr. Keating also argues that we must not have or hold on to an image of God. How can this contradiction be reconciled?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Concern About Welcoming Prayer and Passivity
Cherry Haisten
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I understand the Welcoming Prayer is about acceptance.  But what about change and action? If your boss treats you bad, your doctor ignores your health, if someone threatens your loved ones? Doesn't the Welcoming Prayer make us passive in situations?

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Welcoming Prayer
Difficulty in Doing a Second Sit
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have had numerous people tell me that they have no difficulty carving space for the first sit of the day, usually in the morning. But once the day gets going it is most difficult to find time for the second sit. I myself find the second sit difficult to find time for or even to remember.

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Centering Prayer
Contemplative Collaboration
Margaret Benefiel
Voices of Community

At the initiative of Thomas Keating, the founder of Contemplative Outreach, the founders of three other major Christian contemplative organizations were invited to meet with him in early October at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado...

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Perspective
Dian Gillmar
Voices of Community

I sit on my porch,
glimpse through the open door
a painting, “Morning for Writing Letters”

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The Difference Between Quietism & Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  How is Centering Prayer distinct from Quietism which was declared a heresy in the 18th Century?

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Centering Prayer
What are you doing here? A Centering Prayer Reflection
Neil Foley
Voices of Community

... Like so many before, I started by first seeking happiness – that illusive entity which is so physical and sensory when young. Happiness seemed to equate to pleasure, but pleasure is a fickle and fleeting ally. No sooner was I satisfied when I would desire again. Like the wind, it could be felt but not grasped. God was not in such pleasure. ...

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Spiritual Journey
Spiritual Bushwhack
Celia McBride
Voices of Community Read More. Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Multimedia in My Head
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  When I tried to be open to God during Centering Prayer, I usually had a concordance of biblical accounts in multimedia or silent video format in my head, or modern life of mine or others. What do you call that, if it is not Centering Prayer or I am not doing it right?

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Centering Prayer
Using a Vision in Centering Prayer Instead of a Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  In the last couple of weeks I find that a certain vision of a person with her/his back to me and arms stretched out toward a representation of me is an effective way to stay focused or to refocus [during Centering Prayer]. ...The sacred word was not doing what it was supposed to do...   I wonder two things: what is your response to this and do you know of anyone else with the same experience?

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Centering Prayer
These Annoying Humans!
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:   What the heck is one supposed to do if one just doesn't like people and humanity? Seemingly making some progress in my practice, desire closer relationship with God, but can't get past the stupidity, smallness, greed, ignorance of most people, or the self-destructiveness of the race? How can anyone love this sorry lot?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
An Inward Gesture Instead of Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have had a hard time putting the use of the sacred word into practice. As it just feels like another thought to me. And even after many attempts with different sacred words, I haven't been able to find one that feels "right" or true to the deepest intention in my heart. So my question is, is it okay to replace the sacred word with an inward gesture of simply letting go and leaving it at that? Or is there an important aspect to the return to the sacred word that I am missing?

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Centering Prayer
Dogs and Self-Reflective Consciousness
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality
Discerning Decisions in Retirement
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Shutters
Dian Gillmar
Voices of Community

Through the shutters of my soul
sunlight rarely shines.
Her voice demanded obedience,
blocked out the light of childhood.
As I grew older ...

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
The Power of Silent Prayer
Rich Lewis
Voices of Community

"I became aware of how powerful Centering Prayer was because it was a container for my consenting to not only God's presence in my life, but also God's action in my life."
- Carl J. Arico

Silent prayer is a special time. It is our time to sit with God. It is like sitting quietly with a friend. No words need to be said.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Monkey Mind on Extended Retreat
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been on many extended 8 - 10 retreats. On them I always have trouble going to sleep. The monkey mind is relentless! On my recent 10 day retreat at Snowmass, it got worse as the retreat progressed...

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
Discerning the Dark Nights
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been a meditator and spiritual practitioner for 10 years. As of last year around February I went from having many ecstatic blissful experiences of God into a dark night of the soul....I have been experiencing excruciating pains all through my body, subtle self and causal self and it goes on pretty much continuously except in moments of complete blissful union....

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
Agnostic Adventures with Centering Prayer
Janet Murray
Voices of Community

"Who put the bop in the bopshubopshubop, who put the ram in the ramalamadingdong ... " Those were the typical contents of my brain during my sporadic attempts at meditation until metastatic cancer and two good friends convinced me to try again. One friend was dedicated to the practice of Zen meditation, the other to Centering Prayer...

How does one pray if there is no faith in God? How do I stop the constant chatter? What is supposed to happen? Can one do Centering Prayer and not be a Christian?

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Centering Prayer

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