Maybe, if you're like me, you’ve tried all the different types of meditation (or at least a few of them). And maybe you’ve felt like you’re just not quite cut out for this meditation thing - maybe even that you’re not ‘spiritual’ enough (whatever that means, but I totally get the sentiment).
If you can relate, this class may be worth a shot. Centering Prayer is a form of contemplative prayer that has been systematically boiled down by an ambitious group of monastic Trappist monks into a simple 20-minute practice that any layperson can do. It has nothing to do with beliefs, doctrines, or dogmas. Instead, it’s a way to let go of the ‘small self’ (aka the ego or ‘old creature’) and reawaken the true self (aka the divinely aligned ‘new creature’).
It's been my go-to spiritual discipline for two years now (though I admit, I haven't been as disciplined as I could've been, but that’s the great thing about it - it’s not about perfection). As far as the results I’ve achieved: I haven’t experienced utter enlightenment, but a lot of things I used to cling to and stress about have vanished and I’ve recognized a profoundly deeper, kinder, more creative and intimate way of being in the world. In short, I’ve experienced a more profound partnership with God - or whatever you want to call her.
Centering Prayer is rooted in the self-emptying kenosis that Jesus demonstrated in scripture here (among other places)...“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Most Westerners pray through the inner (and outer) lips. We rant, rave, beg, and plead to the divine to give us our way. Though this is human - and I fully support and indulge in that form of petitionary prayer - God really only works one way...
Towards us. The mystics have long been telling us that we were designed to be receivers of the divine, not manipulators of it. Therefore, we need to put our inner lips to rest and activate our inner ears and inbound channels of our hearts.
In this class, I’ll break down that process and expand on it to give you some tools and anecdotal support to aid in your contemplative journey.
This is seriously a ‘blue collar’ meditation practice. It’s steeped in ancient Christian mysticism but it’s specifically designed for modern Western stress cases like you and me (yes, I’m talking to you). There are merely four simple guidelines. The rest just takes you showing up, sitting down, and... Listening.
This class includes...
- An hour(ish)-long class that comes in 3 video modules (15-20 minutes each).
- A 30-minute guided centering prayer meditation hosted by yours truly.
- PDF's of the slides and my script/outline so you don’t need to violently take notes during the class.
All-in-all, it’s almost 90 minutes of contemplative immersion and will provide a primer for centering prayer that will hopefully deepen and enrich your lifelong relationship with the divine.
Full credit goes to the late Fr. Thomas Merton and his organization, Contemplative Outreach for doing ALL of the groundwork for this practice.