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Eight Contemplative Attitudes and Centering Prayer
Q: I am reading all I can about the process...as well as doing it twice daily.. I have examined closely the "contemplative attitudes" such as opening/gentleness/simplicity etc.... is it ok ,i.e. is it part of the prayer, to refresh the memory of the 8 contemplative attitudes at the front end of the process? I have been reading some books about Centering Prayer and in particular one by David Frenette. He alludes to eight contemplative attitudes in contemplation per se.
By front end I mean before I actually start my meditation, and go back to them in the meditation itself...is this still silence I guess is the question?
Or is it better/expected to just sit in silence...I am not actively 'asking' God for anything...just sitting in the attitudes, and initially going through them.
A: I also appreciate the insights in David Frenette’s book, The Paths of Centering Prayer. The eight contemplative attitudes that David underlines -- opening to God, consent, simplicity, gentleness, letting go, resting, embracing, integrating prayer and life -- all make for a wonderful examination of the intention and attention that we bring to our life. They help renewing our relationship with our God.
In the context of Centering Prayer they can act as bookends to your practice; they are also the fruits of the prayer. If you find yourself introducing them during your Centering Prayer practice, remember that during the prayer, we ever so gently let thoughts come and go, even good thoughts. I suggest that you keep your Centering Prayer period in the embrace of the silence of simply consenting to God’s presence and action. A rule of the thumb is simply to avoid mixing and matching within the prayer. Trust the process.
Blessings, Fr Carl