Two weeks back we considered Thomas Keating’s thoughts on the use of a sacred word in meditation, as a gesture of the consent of our spiritual will to God’s presence in our inmost being. Cynthia Bourgeault in her book, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, confirms that Centering Prayer works almost entirely on the power of intention. A willingness to maintain deep interior openness, releasing each thought as it comes along, then the noticing and letting go of thoughts happening spontaneously and reliably.

  • Cynthia suggests that whatever the “something” is, deep within your unconsciousness, that is engaged by your willingness to yield yourself into the silence will mysteriously remind you when you’re tangled up with a thought, and with little or no resistance you’ll allow your sacred word to release it. She uses Thomas Keating’s metaphor of thoughts as boats floating along the ever-flowing stream of our consciousness. In terms of this metaphor she asks us to imagine ourselves as a scuba diver seated on a rock at the bottom of the riverbed. You can look and see the hulls passing overhead. You don’t have to do anything to prevent their coming and going.
  • Occasionally you may find yourself in the presence of a spike of emotional or even physical discomfort. What’s going on is that the relaxed and gentled Centering Prayer is allowing some interior rearrangement to go on. While it may initially feel disconcerting, it is actually a sign that a process of inner healing is under way. Romans 12:2 “…be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”

As you prepare to relax in body and mind, to slow your breathing, and enter your meditation, centering your prayer, allow yourself to gradually surrender into this mysterious way to initiate a process of ‘Divine Healing’.

Love and every blessing

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, p 35– 39.