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We embrace the process of transformation in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of Centering Prayer.

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What are you doing here? A Centering Prayer Reflection
Neil Foley
Voices of Community

... Like so many before, I started by first seeking happiness – that illusive entity which is so physical and sensory when young. Happiness seemed to equate to pleasure, but pleasure is a fickle and fleeting ally. No sooner was I satisfied when I would desire again. Like the wind, it could be felt but not grasped. God was not in such pleasure. ...

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Spiritual Journey
These Annoying Humans!
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:   What the heck is one supposed to do if one just doesn't like people and humanity? Seemingly making some progress in my practice, desire closer relationship with God, but can't get past the stupidity, smallness, greed, ignorance of most people, or the self-destructiveness of the race? How can anyone love this sorry lot?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Using a Vision in Centering Prayer Instead of a Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  In the last couple of weeks I find that a certain vision of a person with her/his back to me and arms stretched out toward a representation of me is an effective way to stay focused or to refocus [during Centering Prayer]. ...The sacred word was not doing what it was supposed to do...   I wonder two things: what is your response to this and do you know of anyone else with the same experience?

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Centering Prayer
Multimedia in My Head
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  When I tried to be open to God during Centering Prayer, I usually had a concordance of biblical accounts in multimedia or silent video format in my head, or modern life of mine or others. What do you call that, if it is not Centering Prayer or I am not doing it right?

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Centering Prayer
Spiritual Bushwhack
Celia McBride
Voices of Community Read More. Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Discerning Decisions in Retirement
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Dogs and Self-Reflective Consciousness
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico Read More. Contemplative Spirituality
An Inward Gesture Instead of Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have had a hard time putting the use of the sacred word into practice. As it just feels like another thought to me. And even after many attempts with different sacred words, I haven't been able to find one that feels "right" or true to the deepest intention in my heart. So my question is, is it okay to replace the sacred word with an inward gesture of simply letting go and leaving it at that? Or is there an important aspect to the return to the sacred word that I am missing?

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Centering Prayer
Discerning the Dark Nights
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been a meditator and spiritual practitioner for 10 years. As of last year around February I went from having many ecstatic blissful experiences of God into a dark night of the soul....I have been experiencing excruciating pains all through my body, subtle self and causal self and it goes on pretty much continuously except in moments of complete blissful union....

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
Monkey Mind on Extended Retreat
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been on many extended 8 - 10 retreats. On them I always have trouble going to sleep. The monkey mind is relentless! On my recent 10 day retreat at Snowmass, it got worse as the retreat progressed...

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
The Power of Silent Prayer
Rich Lewis
Voices of Community

"I became aware of how powerful Centering Prayer was because it was a container for my consenting to not only God's presence in my life, but also God's action in my life."
- Carl J. Arico

Silent prayer is a special time. It is our time to sit with God. It is like sitting quietly with a friend. No words need to be said.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Shutters
Dian Gillmar
Voices of Community

Through the shutters of my soul
sunlight rarely shines.
Her voice demanded obedience,
blocked out the light of childhood.
As I grew older ...

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
The Format of a Centering Prayer Support Group
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I attended a Centering Prayer group at my parish for about a month.  I stopped going because, after the final oral prayer and reading, the leader's wife asked for feedback in our lives during the recent week.  ....  I don't mind the feedback, but there are several venues in our parish for addressing problems in our lives, not during or after Centering Prayer.

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Discerning the Journey
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  ... None of my friends or family are religious, so I often feel alone in my spiritual life. It is hard to sustain a solid base for the spiritual life in these circumstances. ... Since I felt that my spiritual upbringing was drawn from the Catholic tradition I started having serious thoughts about converting, but now I am suddenly having very strong doubts. ... But I don’t find firm ground in the Norwegian protestant church either. So I feel homeless and adrift. Are my thoughts about converting most of all a sign of immature spiritual needs, of which I should ignore? ...

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Agnostic Adventures with Centering Prayer
Janet Murray
Voices of Community

"Who put the bop in the bopshubopshubop, who put the ram in the ramalamadingdong ... " Those were the typical contents of my brain during my sporadic attempts at meditation until metastatic cancer and two good friends convinced me to try again. One friend was dedicated to the practice of Zen meditation, the other to Centering Prayer...

How does one pray if there is no faith in God? How do I stop the constant chatter? What is supposed to happen? Can one do Centering Prayer and not be a Christian?

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Centering Prayer
Hokey Pokey Spirituality
Ceci LaDuca
Voices of Community

“You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out. You put your right hand in and ..."

“What if the hokey pokey really IS what it’s all about?” 

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
The Accelerated Course for Those Over 80
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  In the book, The Human Condition, it mentions an accelerated course for people over 80.  I am looking for information on that program.

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Centering Prayer, Gift of Life, Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer, Boredom and Nothingness
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I attended a one-day Centering Prayer event for people who were experienced in Centering Prayer.  We had three periods of prayer, with some teaching.  At the end of the third session I felt completely empty.  There was nothing, and after the session, as I thought about it, it felt boring and I wondered why I would want to do that again...

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Centering Prayer and Mindfulness
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I practice Centering Prayer and recently a friend asked me to explain the difference between it and mindfulness meditation. I replied that the difference was in intent - Centering Prayer is consenting to God's presence and action in my life and mindfulness is seeking personal improvement, such as stress reduction. But she said she was asking about the differences in the practices themselves. I found this hard to articulate and wonder if you can refer me to a good source or answer yourself.

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Centering Prayer
Praying for those in Purgatory
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Given Fr. Keating’s views on Purgatory, that one continues to grow and become enlightened, how does a person with a Centering Prayer practice pray for her loved ones in Purgatory? 

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Centering Prayer and Salivating
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  A very annoying thing happens to me during many (about 75%) of my Centering Prayer times. I salivate excessively which is distracting to me. I cannot find a commonality that would point to a cause for this. Is this something you have heard of before and/or do you have a suggestion for dealing with this?

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Centering Prayer
Centering Prayer and Mental Illness
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am hoping to get some direction for myself and a community I work with.  I have schizo-affective mental illness, ...  Meds never controls that aspect of our lives completely.  We are hoping to find a safe and effective way to embrace silence and solitude for a part of our recovery process.    The challenge for us is that stillness and quiet leads to very disturbing hallucinations that we are all at varying degrees of knowing how to deal with.

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
Let Your True Self Shine
Rich Lewis
Voices of Community

He was transfigured before their eyes.  His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light.... I immediately began thinking about my centering prayer practice. Isn't this what really happens each time I sit with God ...

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Centering Prayer & the Process of Transformation
Mindy Durias
Voices of Community

I often think about these words from Jesus,

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

What was so special to Jesus about children, that he would gift them the kingdom of God?

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Centering Prayer
Having a Vital Relationship with Christ
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been practicing Centering Prayer for ten years.  The grace of really knowing that I am loved by God has been given to me.  I am certain that at the moment of my death I will throw myself on God's mercy, and all will be well.  I will be with God for eternity.  However, recently a priest told me that I am guilty of the sin of presumption.  I don't understand...

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality

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