Sculpting Project 15: Centering Moments: Week 1

Sculpting Project 15: Centering Moments: Week 1

On a cold afternoon in February 2008 I had one of the most amazing discoveries of my life. I found a ‘mental mute button’. My mind is an out of control 2 two-year old. Racing about, pulling topics off the shelf and spilling them all over, shouting, helpless to control my unruly brain. Of course I had some control over it. I could focus enough to do well in school and be successful in the tasks of my adult life, but what I really wanted to do with my mind was hopelessly out of reach.

Then I found the ‘mute button’. My world began to shift because I had trained my old brain to do a new trick: be quiet. True, it would only be quiet when I had my finger on the button, but when it was on, my noisy brain found quiet. This was revolutionary for me.

This February discovery came at the end of a private at-home retreat I take each January. In 2008 the retreat topic I chose was centering prayer. Developed by Fr. Thomas Keating and fellow Cistercian monks about 50 yrs ago, centering prayer is a recovery and development of our Christian prayer heritage.

These next two weeks we will explore a mini-version of Centering Prayer. In the standard prayer method we spent 20-30 minutes once or twice a day. For our Sculpting Project we will reduce the time to 2-5 minutes. (Remember if that feels to long, then pray for 1 minute.)

The Basics:

1. Select a reminder word to express your intention to be in God’s presence and have Him work inside you. (examples: Jesus, Stillness, With) {You do not repeat this word over and over, it is just a reminder when you become distracted}
2. Sit
3. Open your heart towards God
4. When ever a thought comes up, say your selected word to remind yourself of your intention and let the thought go. (Repeat this step 60 times. Gently.)
5. After 2-5 minutes get up.

Thoughts that distract:

1. Superficial (a fly is buzzing by, what is for dinner?)
2. Stronger emotional thoughts/feelings (worries, joys)
3. Insights, breakthroughs (Amazing idea)
4. Self-reflection and evaluating (I’m no good at this)
5. Inner purification (God’s psycho-therapy “undigested material of a life time is gradually evacuated.”)

Thoughts on thoughts:

1. When I let go of thoughts that feel important (sick friends, plans, insights) I mentally send them to Jesus.
2. Occasionally I will briefly observe the thoughts before I let them go. This observation can bring me helpful insights when I review it after the Centering Prayer.
3.The letting go of thoughts is just a valuable as the time in quiet. This my revolutionary discovery: the ‘mute button’.
4.You are not a failure at Centering Prayer because you have continual distracting thoughts. You are normal. That is the nature of the brain.

Sculpting Project 15: Centering Moments

Each day spend 2-5 minutes in Centering Prayer.

Centering Prayer is about seeking relationship with God in a deeper way. Beyond words.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. David Segal says:

    Centering Moments is a great idea, Cheri. I’m going to use it as a weapon in spiritual warfare.

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