Thursday, June 30, 2011

Still Centering

Its been a few days since I began the serious practice of Centering Prayer, and I must say, so far so good. I was away from home for some of this week, and travel always means compromises for my spiritual practice as my timetable and routines get shaken and stirred. I took my folding portable prayer stool, and managed my morning quitness without any bother, and was able, mostly, to fit in a session in the early evening.

Centering prayer uses a "prayer word" which functions in quite a different way than a mantra, and it has taken me a little time to stop using my word as a mantra. That is, I have had to learn to use it as a signpost to stillness rather than as a focus of attention and concentration. I am finding that the whole energy of Centering Prayer is different. At the heart of the practice is surrender, letting go, and as I rehearse this a hundred or a thousand times in the little islands of stillness at the beginning and end of each day, already, even in this short time I find myself being changed by it.

One small measure of the difference Centering Prayer is making, is that the time seems to go faster when I am in silence. My timer rings a bell every ten minutes, and these periods seem to whizz by. I have not yet finished a period of CP without a vague sense of disappointment that it is over, and a small wish that it might go on for just a little longer. Of course, it's early days yet.

One other thing during this week has been my re reading of The Cloud of Unknowing. I have a translation by Evelyn Underhill, of this middle English work  on my iPad, which seems slightly incongruous, but I am finding the words of this unknown spiritual master even more illuminating, even more challenging and exciting than when I first read them some months ago.

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