There is not a whole lot of theology attached to Centering Prayer, but there is a lot of phenomenology―meaning inner experience. Centering Prayer is an invitation to center down and not only clear the mind and be present, but to be present to God, basically. When we surrender like this, then there is no such thing as an unsuccessful meditation period.
I am comfortable calling the loving presence, the mysterious consciousness, the goodness, the deep, deep mystery that everything seems to emerge from, from moment to moment, including the Big Bang, and everything that was before and after, the open spaciousness, and the pure awareness that is our own essential ground of being, God, but you don’t need to call it God; call it whatever works for you.
The basic practice of centering meditation or Centering Prayer is this:
- You get into a comfortable position and hunker down or center down.
- You want your spine to be straight.
- When you go in, you focus on your center, your heart chakra.
- Your intention is a deep surrender to God, to spirit, to higher power, however you want to name it.
- You make yourself available to whatever the great mysterious presence that is our deepest essential self has for you that day. Sometimes it will be a spiritual, psychic earthquake―the earth will open and all kinds of things will come out to be experienced, to be blessed, to be transmuted; the trauma and pain from the past, from the present, from the future, who knows, but these dark shadow issues are an essential part of the spiritual journey.
In this place of surrender, lots of really interesting things can happen. Some of the fruits of this profound interior practice are that you will have new insights into the nature of reality and into the nature of your life. Deep spiritual connections are made, sometimes biddings from your deeper self, in other words, you may receive direction as in a vision quest; you may be given your marching orders. This could involve what your individual life is supposed to be about or maybe what you’re supposed to do today. If you’re grappling with a big problem, like trying to figure out the mysteries of genetics and DNA, creative insights could appear in your mind’s eye, like the scientist who saw the genetic spiral, which opened up the whole ball game. Since doing this practice, my life has become much more creative and open, not only while I’m doing the practice, but the place of surrender, the openness, actually insinuates itself into the rest of my life, to include my dream states and every other state of consciousness.
When I come through this process, it seems like the ego structure comes back together in a way that is profoundly cleansed. There is a great sense of having been through the fires of purification. There is a lot of humility, a lot of gratitude, a lot of love, and a lot of really feeling connected and essentially one with God.
The more we engage in Centering Prayer, the more it becomes stabilized in our hearts and our beings, not as a mere acceptance of the dogma, “Jesus loves me. Yes, I know because the Bible tells me so.” No. This is a real and felt sense that the deepest essence of our own nature is this great mystery. It is us, in an essential, deep way, and it is very, very loving; it’s perfect and gorgeous. Somehow this realization blesses and illuminates the whole imperfect universe that we seem to be in. There’s a profound story being told and there’s a profound journey that we are a part of and always have been. This is what emerges from Centering Prayer.
To find out more about Centering Prayer, please check out the following links.