Articles

Title Series Preview Category
Prayer Groups in the Era of Social Distancing
Lindsay Boyer
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Many of us have been struggling with questions about whether our contemplative prayer groups should continue to meet in light of the current situation and these decisions are increasingly being taken out of our hands as churches decide to close. 

As someone who teaches on spirituality and digital media at General Theological Seminary and who has led prayer groups by video, teleconference, email and Facebook for a number of years, I’d like to offer some suggestions about the many ways we can continue to stay connected in prayer during this challenging time. 

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Prayer Groups, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality
Contemplative Outreach Q&A’s Contributors
Isabelle Robinson
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

We've recently expanded our roster of long-time Centering Prayer practitioners who can answer your questions about contemplative practice and the spiritual journey.

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Prayer Groups, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality
Centering Prayer in Czechia and Slovakia
Teresia Hasanova
Voices of Community

My first encounter with Centering Prayer was in 2010 in Cambridge, England, where I was taking a two-year course of study on The Art of Spiritual Direction.  One of my fellow students invited me to a Centering Prayer group meeting. From the very beginning I knew that this was just right for me. I have been practicing it ever since. When I came back to my country – Czechia -- I started a small Centering Prayer group in my village. ...

Read More.
Centering Prayer
Lent and Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Do you have any suggestions for the season of Lent that can be an encouragement for my practice of Centering Prayer?

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Liturgy
Intercessory Prayers
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

When saying grace, in my private prayer after Eucharist, and during evening and night prayer, I ask for intercession. Yet I wonder whether this doesn't reflect a lack of trust in God, and conflict with my sincere acceptance of the presence and action of God in my life. I just don't think that I am in need of asking for God's help. God's loving help is always there. On the other hand, I also wonder whether such prayers are other reminders that we are all in God's hands.

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
The Sacred Breath
Corey Krupowicz
Voices of Community

Throughout most of my contemplative practice, the breath has been my natural access point into realms of Divine expansion. So much so that it has become my sacred symbol of consent during Centering Prayer. Over the years, I have also studied and practiced many eastern breathing techniques and have found they are easily incorporated into my Centering Prayer practice as a way to embody and deepen relationship with the heart of the Divine.

Read More.
Centering Prayer and Other Types of Prayer
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: While I am not yet capable of Centering Prayer, my daily prayer period consists of intercessory and thanksgiving prayers as well as Scripture reading and reflection. Silence and solitude are important to me. From time to time I would suddenly become aware of something I needed to do, or write, or a call to make. I don't want to lose that thought so it would get threaded into my prayers. Is it better to interrupt and make a small note and return to prayer or to try and dampen the persistent reminder? 

 

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
The Birth of God Within
Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D.
Voices of Community

... The reflection I offer here is adapted from a small portion of my book, Contemplating Christ: The Gospels and the Interior Life (Liturgical Press, 2018). It serves as part of a larger reflection on what Christian tradition refers to as the inevitable outcome of the Incarnation: that all of us have been deified in Christ. Or to put it as did St. Athanasius in the 4th Century, “God became human that humans might be made divine.” That is the meaning of deification: to be “made divine” in Christ.

Read More.
Contemplative Spirituality, Liturgy
Centering Prayer and Other Types of Prayer
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: While I am not yet capable of Centering Prayer, my daily prayer period consists of intercessory and thanksgiving prayers as well as Scripture reading and reflection. Silence and solitude are important to me. From time to time I would suddenly become aware of something I needed to do, or write, or a call to make. I don't want to lose that thought so it would get threaded into my prayers. Is it better to interrupt and make a small note and return to prayer or to try and dampen the persistent reminder? 

 

Read More.
Finding Wonders in the Desert
The Members of the Graceville Correctional Facility Centering Prayer Group
Voices of Community

Few go willingly into the desert. It is a harsh life, more about survival than comfort. The silence can blister like the noonday sun. But harsh does not mean empty, nor does silence mean one is alone. We are people of the prison wilderness, children of the desert of the Real. We are young and old, male and female, slave and free – all connected by the unifying life we find in what is often perceived as a wasteland. What is it about the prison wilderness that lends itself so well to Centering Prayer? 

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Prison Ministry
What Goes On in the Inner Room?
Fr. Carl J. Arico and Leslee Anne Terpay
Voices of Community

A lot goes on in the inner room, most of which Is invisible to us on a sensory and psychological level.

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Some Teeny Centering in the Tiny Hours
Larry Crawley-Woods
Voices of Community

I left the bedroom at 1:43 am, confident my congested, snoring wife would happily sleep away the night on her own. I made for the guest room and quiet. At 4:06 am I finally lifted my old, sore back off the soft mattress and went downstairs to the firmer sofa, my third nocturnal venue. Instead of lying down immediately to try and salvage the rest of the night I sat down instead to give my back a break.

Read More.
Centering Prayer
Night of the Sense and Night of the Spirit
Fr. Carl Arido
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I recently read Fr. Daniel Renaud's article on "Desire and Everyday Mysticism" and I see that over 25 years of Christian life I started on the positive way with lots of consolation and wonder, along with a daily experience of the transformative way. When I felt called to practice Centering Prayer, I started listening to Fr. Keating's “The Spiritual Journey” and began to practice. Much to my dismay, I fell immediately into the Dark Night (the negative way). After several years of Dark Night and slow emergence, I did not " wake up to find that the ocean of nothingness [of the Dark Night] is the ocean of God's invincible and unconditional love in you, and you have become everything, including God and all creation" (as Fr. Keating describes); for the first time in 25 years of Christian faith, I don't have confidence that God is a reliable foundation for my daily personal life. I am concerned that if I have somehow and failed to this first round of the Dark Night I may need to adjust some underlying attitude or practice in order to make space to regain or rebuild my relationship with God. Do you have any guidance or resources that might help?

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Contemplative Outreach Administrator Position
Search Team

The Administrator serves all chapters, service teams, members of the Governing Board, and a diverse community of Centering Prayer practitioners who commit their time and resources to fulfill the vision of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. 
 

Read More.
The Nameless Place
Hal Green
Voices of Community

I enter what enters me,
Reaching a place in me, yet not in me,
Releasing me to extend beyond
The sensed boundaries
Of my being alone in the world.

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Brief Contemplative Lessons from Meister Eckhart
L. J. Milone
Voices of Community

Meister Eckhart was a Dominican friar who lived in fourteenth-century Germany. He was a contemplative engaged in preaching and teaching.  When he preached, his sermons were subtle and sublime.  ...  He has much to teach those who practice Centering Prayer and anyone seeking to live contemplatively.  Here are but three brief lessons.

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Use of a Sacred Image During Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I am a trying to get a handle on Centering Prayer. Is it OK to use the imagery that comes into my head when I sit, e.g., God as Father - perhaps on the lap of God, or being held by God, etc?

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer and Trauma
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I have been practicing Centering Prayer for 12 years, and recently I have been praying for the transformation process to hurry up. To put it more politely, for removal of barriers to union. The resulting unloading seems to bring another re- experiencing of emotions related to personal and generational trauma, whose emotionality has temporarily reduced my ability to cope with some family events. When I sit with the feelings and allow myself to notice God there, I experience a sort of sigh: Thy will be done. [What] about the use of outside resources like 12-Steps, counseling [and others]?

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Twelve Step
Going Inside: An Elder Brother Learns the Father’s Embrace
Chandra Hanson
Voices of Community

... Navigating the complexities and the far-reaching consequences of this unexpected tragedy coincided with a chapter of my life filled with experiences of betrayal and feelings of personal failure.  I was shaken to the core and could no longer deny the capacity for evil in myself and others.  Fr. Keating’s words capture it well: “The damage that our emotional programs for happiness are doing to us and to our relationships becomes apparent.  From this perspective our good deeds look like piles of dirty dishrags” (4).  Somehow, as my illusions unraveled, a seed was sown for what would become my passion. ...

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating, Prison Ministry
Contemplative Tattooing
Words and art by Corey Krupowicz
Voices of Community

Many years of meditation have given me the time to develop a relationship with the Divine in silence and solitude. This ever-deepening relationship has conditioned me to bring contemplative practices into my work as a tattoo artist. To be a contemplative tattoo artist is to serve others who seek to adorn their bodies with art.

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, The Active Prayer Practice
The Goal of Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: When I was in college in the late 60's, I used psychedelic drugs a number of times. Now when I pray with Centering Prayer, I find myself seeking the same unitive, transcendent feelings I experienced at that time. Is this a legitimate goal of Centering Prayer, and, if not, how do I recognize a true experience of the living God?

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Silence is Not Empty: It is Filled with God
Rich Lewis
Voices of Community

When I practice Centering Prayer, I respond to God’s question, “Will you sit with me (Matthew 11:28)?” When we center like Jesus, we say, “Not what I want, but what you want” (Mark 14:35). I sit in silence to be loved and healed by God. Silence creates a space for us to heal. The space created by silence and stillness helps us find our equilibrium, our center of gravity.

Read More.
Centering Prayer
God’s Hints of Non-Dual Love Within Science and Nature
Joy Andrews Hayter, Ph.D.
Other

As a scientist, I'd like to briefly point to a couple of the concepts of the new cosmology that may have inspired Fr. Thomas from the scientific point of view and explain why I think they are relevant to our practice of Centering Prayer.

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Why Attend Multi-Day Retreats?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Throughout the year we have opportunities to attend days of prayer. What do extended retreats add to the spiritual journey that reading books, attending Centering Prayer groups and workshops don't? How often do you recommend going on retreat?

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Retreats
Centering Prayer and Other Types of Meditation
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I did Centering Prayer for some years but with family (care-giving) responsibilities, I stopped because my head was always spinning and I couldn't get centered. So, I will soon go on a Centering Prayer retreat to get going again, but would you consider other generic types of meditation as having the same effect/value as Centering Prayer (even non-religious meditation, i.e., just focusing on breath)?

Read More.
Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality