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This morning, after a swim and before I sat down to do some work, I worried myself into some centering prayer. I have been trying to make it a somewhat regular (almost daily) practice because it sets a much simpler and happier course for my day if I do.
If you're not familiar with it, it's pretty easy. Basically, you allot 15-30 minutes to sit in quiet with God. There is a recommended way of sitting (in a comfortable chair, but not so much so that you'll fall asleep, back straight, feet planted on floor, hands on your knees palms up – to receive – and eyes closed) and you may want to do a few stretches to prepare. Often a focus word, mantra, image or color is way in and a manner of reminding yourself to come back to the center when your thoughts stray ... and, rest assured, they will. Keep that simple. Breath is also an easy and natural way to focus. Just surrender to God. It's pretty powerful and healing stuff even if it feels as if nothing happens.
My mind gears were churning away playing ping pong with an unspoken fear. Eventually, I could name the fear and relinquish it. It's the fear of how I can do what God is currently asking of me (open a nurture studio) without the normal benchmarks such as a paycheck and boss. I understand that those aren't meant for me right now, but I want to be tethered in some way.
And I sank into the nothingness. I emerged with a start, a few minutes ahead of the timer, but I felt done. Done enough to read the daily devotion from Father Thomas Keating's "The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living." And there were my benchmarks for the subject was Fruits of the Spirit:
• Charity (love),
• Self Control
When I had first done centering prayer with the nuns while on retreat several weeks ago, they used this book and it spoke so deeply to me then. It is so clear where I need to grow based just on that list and even the order in which the fruits were listed.
And today being Valentine's Day, I understand why love is at the top.
• How do I make time to regularly connect with the Divine?
• What happens when I do?
• What do I notice when I don't?
• How playful am I in experimenting with ways to connect?
• What's currently working for or speaking to me?
all revved up and
nowhere to go
except into myself
stirring up trouble
not the best way
to begin the day
so, I take a breath,
regroup and take
20 minutes to
sit in centering prayer
a mere smidgen of my day
to just be with God
can't I manage to find that somewhere?
just when it seems like a chore
or one more thing to fit in,
I am reminded that it
benefits me most of all
If you want more help with centering prayer: