More thoughts to reflect on this week come from Thomas Keating in his book, Intimacy with God. Many methods of meditation make use of “sacred words”, used in different ways, and aimed at different levels of our awareness. The sacred word in Centering Prayer is a gesture of the consent of our spiritual will to God’s presence in our inmost being. It expresses our intention.
- Keating tells us that the word does not have to be carefully articulated, reflected upon or analysed. As a gesture or symbol it assists us to move from our external senses, (we can use a sacred gaze or breath as well) to the spiritual level and to the spiritual senses. The sacred word comes from the heart and reverberates in the imagination only momentarily. Its primary function is not to push thoughts away but to express our intention to love God.
- We all begin life as a single cell. Keating invites us to consider that cell as our inmost center, or divine ground of our being which has enough energy to sustain the whole rest of our lives. From that center unfolds the true self and the right manifestation of that energy. This is beautifully expressed in Psalm 139:13…”for you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Prepare to relax in body and mind, to slow your breathing, enter your meditation, centering your prayer with the gesture of a sacred word and intention to be in God’s Presence. Consider a word that comes from your heart to express your intention, to become still, to rest, and to love God.
Love and every blessing
Intimacy with God – The Sacred Symbol as a Gesture of Consent, p 66 – 70.