Let’s continue exploring ways to access our inner selves and find communion with God. Many different styles of meditation exist and Centering Prayer is a form of Christian meditation. It is the act of centering yourself by sitting silently in the presence of God. It was created as a way to draw nearer to Christ by preparing yourself for a contemplative prayer experience. Many now practice it by itself or in combination with any other kind of prayer.
It can be practiced alone or in group. As an extrovert and a person who does better with accountability, I find this most beneficial in a group. Many who are just learning how to practice it, also find it beneficial to start in a group. You could do it with a few close friends or find a local church or spiritual center that offers it one night a week.
How To Steps:
1. Set a timer for 20 minutes, or if you are just beginning you may want to start with 5 or 10 minutes and build up to 20 minutes of practice. Or use the Centering Prayer App.
2. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably and take a couple of deep breaths. Gently close your eyes if that is comfortable for you.
3. Ask yourself for a sacred word or phrase, such as “Be still”, that you would like to use as your anchor. When your mind becomes distracted, you can repeat this word to return again to the silence.
4. As you sit in silence, let go of judgements or any pressure of what this time needs to be. As physical discomforts or thoughts come up, practice the art of letting it go by returning to your sacred word or using imagery like a cloud or a boat floating by to observe it objectively pass.
5. When the timer goes off, you may want to end with a bow or another ritual gesture. Then you can go about your daily routine.
*I recommend doing this prayer daily in order to reap the benefits. When I first began, I did not see any benefit during the actual prayer period. It was uncomfortable for me. But after practicing it for a couple weeks, I began to feel less anxious and a general calm throughout the day. If I skipped it one day, I noticed a difference in my irritability or distractedness. I say all of this because I know it is difficult when you begin and I don’t want you to give up before you see if it actually can work for you. Try it 2 weeks before you throw in the towel.*