Discerning God’s Presence
I’ve adopted a observe referred to as “Centering Prayer.” My
brother, a priest in Kansas Metropolis who died in 2008, was an fanatic and
instructor of Centering Prayer however I attempted it a number of instances and will by no means get
the grasp of it.
I began making an attempt it once more, very first thing within the morning, just a few
months in the past. I’ve been considering of writing about it however am nonetheless a rookie
and don’t really feel prepared to explain my expertise intimately or suggest it to
others. If you wish to know extra, my “instructor” is Thomas Keating, a deceased
Trappist monk, who has a collection of movies on YouTube. Simply go to that on-line
web site and kind in his title to achieve entry to the movies.
Usually, Centering Prayer is a means of trying to return
nearer to God by way of rest and “emptying oneself” of all the same old
ideas and distractions, permitting God to fill the void. Practitioners
suggest doing it for 20 minutes, twice a day. Up to now, I’m doing it for 20
minutes solely as soon as a day. The concept is to rid the thoughts of all thought, and that’s
What I can say about my expertise to date is that the
observe has helped scale back the prevalent feeling of God’s absence, which
Keating says – I consider rightly – is “our cultural conditioning.”
Certainly, in our completely secular society, God’s absence appears
assumed. Even many people believers reside as if God didn’t exist. Discovering
God, says Keating, requires openness, a willingness to alter and rejection of
our “unquestioning acceptance of our cultural values.”
The acceptance of God’s “absence” isn’t just a recent
drawback, by the way in which. The writer of Psalm 42 agonizes that his enemies
taunt him “whereas they are saying to me all day lengthy, ‘The place is your God?’” The psalms are thought to have been written throughout a 1,000-year span, ending
at in regards to the time of Israel’s return from Babylon in 538 B.C.
Centering prayer, in response to Keating, is a means of
“overcoming the deep-seated behavior of considering that God is absent.” However it does
not deny the worth of other forms of prayer. When Jesus’ disciples requested him to
educate them to hope, he proposed the “Our Father.” However he additionally suggested them to “go right into a room, shut the door
to the Father, who’s unseen.” And he gave them
an instance of tips on how to pray together with his observe of withdrawing to “the wilderness
to hope,” as reported in Luke’s gospel.
Centering prayer is a means of letting go of what Keating calls
the “inside noise,” the continuous silent commentary on occasions, individuals and
their attitudes and beliefs, and even of self-reflection.
As I discussed, it’s exhausting to consider nothing. The thoughts is
meant to suppose, and regardless of the way you strive, you possibly can’t keep away from excited about what
it’s a must to do, who it’s a must to see, the site visitors going by, the airplane
overhead, the sound of the furnace beginning, the spider within the nook.
To assist counter this tendency, practitioners counsel use of a
“sacred phrase,” which you utilize “gently” to return the thoughts to God. However this isn’t
a “magic” phrase or a mantra. It’s merely a logo of our intention to clear our minds and permit
God in, in response to Keating. It’s form of a reminder of what you’re about.
“Typically, sacred phrases
fall into considered one of 2 classes: “God” phrases/phrases akin to “Abba”, “Jesu,
“Mary”, “Actuality”, “Come Lord” or “state” phrases/phrases akin to “love”,
“peace”, “be nonetheless,” in response to an internet web site of the Contemplative Society.
I do know that, for some, this
all could sound like hocus-pocus. However for individuals trying to find God, it
appears to me beneficial to take heed to individuals like Keating, who’ve spent their
lives within the seek for God, maybe discovering a method that permits a more in-depth
relationship to God.
What can I
report after a number of months making an attempt Centering Prayer? First, it has helped me
concentrate on God within the different varieties of prayer I observe. Second, despite the fact that I
nonetheless have my life moments of impatience and frustration, I consider they’re
much less frequent and fewer intense. Third, I actually do really feel nearer to God since
partaking in Centering Prayer.
sufficient, although I nonetheless generally really feel impatience throughout the 20 minutes I sit
alone in a quiet room, I don’t really feel relieved when the alarm goes off on my
telephone indicating that the 20 minutes have handed. The peace
and quiet is bodily and spiritually energizing and helps put together for regardless of the day could deliver.