Q: Sometimes as I am entering into Centering Prayer and settling into stillness, I hear an external sound--such as the purring of my cat or birdsong through an open window--and it sounds so sweet that I do not want to return to my sacred word. I just want to "float" with the sound, not thinking anything. Should I return to my sacred word? Or am I "centering"?
A: Thank you for your question. What a blessing to be aware of the sounds of life around us. I think that is one of the fruits of Centering Prayer, especially when it reminds us of God's presence all around us. To learn to just 'be'. However, if this occurs during the prayer, gently return to your sacred symbol to renew your intention of making this a time of consenting to God's presence and action in your life. I believe if we are able to do this during the prayer we will be able to listen on a much deeper level outside of the prayer time, perhaps hearing things which we do not want to hear that we may have to deal with on our spiritual journey.
Fr. Carl Arico