Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Soul Shaping via Centering Prayer

When the UPS guy delivered this package, I was quite impressed by this little book on spiritual practices packaged like a manual for your new car. I thought that was quite clever packaging!
The contents, however, were a bit more complex {(not to say how an alternator functions is not complex) listing ancient spiritual practices (like fasting, centering prayer, Jesus prayer, Ignatian examen, labyrinth, pilgrimage etc) along with not only a “how to” but a “why for” (i.e. theology). Tony Jones admonishes that youth workers should not “schedule” time to learn centering prayer but must first try on the practices themselves.
I’ve been trying to get back into a regular practice of prayer. I wrote a Rule of Life two years ago centered on the Native American medicine wheel. I need to revisit that Rule of Life since I did abandon it somewhat.
What I have been doing the past few weeks is integrating a highly contemporary modified daily office by Thomas Merton. There is an established pattern of prayer, psalmody and scriptural reflection (scripture adapted by Merton) with robust imagery and vivid contemporary language. The only drawback it is “He, Him, His” so I change some of it to “She, Her, and Hers” just to have balance. There are four offices around Dawn, Day, Evening, and Dusk. In each office there is a pause for silence—this is where I inserted centering prayer last night and this morning. I used the word “Beloved” to center myself, which I found hard even in the darkness by candlelight. I did everything I could to create a mood of soft, tranquil solitude. My monkey mind made this exercise challenging even in spite of my efforts to really engage myself in this activity. I have actually been thinking about taking up Zen Meditation to learn how to learn how to detach better And since I am in Cambridge where one can find a myriad of alternative spiritualities, I think I need to try to see how centering prayer and Buddhist meditation intersect.
I am currently studying Tai Chi (two weeks) and want to integrate Tai Chi into my spiritual practice as well. But I’ll leave that for a separate blog posting. This is my bad habit of taking on too much in one posting.

1 comment:

  1. One cannot "talk to much" when journaling... this is your time, your space, to unpack your experience... it is what it is... and can go as long (or as short) as it goes...