CENTERING PRAYER

http://marcthomasshaw.com/index.php/2017/09/20/secret-weapon-prayer/

Part of the instructions for the practice of Centering Prayeris to find a sacred word that signals a consent for the action and presence of God within. Some practitioners use “love” or “grace” or “light.”

A "Secret Weapon" Of Centering PrayerThe anonymous author of the 13th century classic The Cloud of Unknowing simply uses the word God.

Teachers of the practice instruct students to choose a word that is generally free of emotional charge or baggage because the aim to facilitate the movement into silence.

So you start with these strategies early on in the practice: “ok, I’m gonna enter into silence, and then when my thoughts take over, bump them out with the sacred word, and return to the silence. Lather, rinse, repeat. OK, I got this. Just bump ’em out of the way. I’m gonna be super enlightened in no time.”

While the instructions for the practice are pretty simple, what can be a little more difficult to learn is the how of Centering Prayer that can help make the practice a little more fruitful.

I am careful not to use the word “effective,” because the notion of doing something to achieve a goal or a particular outcome is precisely the kind of logical-linear strategic thinking that the practice itself helps us transcend.

Over the years as I continue my practice the one component that can get easily lost is that of disposition. As with all things, our intention matters. This is one aspect of our lives we bring to every act and interaction.

Intention. Disposition.

We bring it to making breakfast and packing lunches. We bring it to the drive to work. We bring it to the conference call. We bring it in entering a room.

In the contemplative life, each of these acts, however simple, becomes an opportunity for devotion, for receiving or passing on the beauty of the Beloved. This is the awareness or headspace that grows with the practice.

Early on in the practice, I’d introduce or reintroduce the sacred word impatiently, mildly annoyed when I got so far off track with some inner resentment or lingering argument or embarrassing moment from the past.

After several years it became clear that my intention, my disposition, mattered deeply. There is a piece of the Centering Prayer instructions which is easy to gloss over. Step three instructs us to introduce the sacred word ever-so-gently.

This becomes almost like a skill that is sharpened, the ability to introduce gentleness. We speak the word ever so gently. We notice our own missteps throughout the day: anger, annoyance, yelling, guilt, anxiety, whatever, and watch ourselves and then return to the present moment ever so gently.

In our time of strategy and productivity and efficiency, what a profound dimension of our lives to expand, what a quality to bring into the world, what a disposition to grow: gentleness. There is a strength to gentleness that refuses to be pulled this way and that by circumstances. It’s a disposition that requires security and trust to maintain.

In a way, this is the “secret weapon” of Centering Prayer. Bringing this disposition of gentleness, humility, and receptivity both deepens the experience of the practice and expands these capacities throughout the day. It’s like planting a seed.

It becomes a way to respond to stress, to enact forgiveness, to respond to arguments and hostility. In a sense, the mystical path is one that requires us to die to our attachments on a granular level in preparation for the great death to come, that when the time comes to move into the next phase of the great journey home, we can release this one, we can turn the page and let it go ever so gently.

By Marc Thomas Shaw

Going Further

Rich Lewis on the third step of Centering Prayer

Anglican Rector Chris Page on gentleness as strength

Poem: Hagia Sophia by Thomas Merton

Anunțuri

Author: Pema Chödrön

You may have noticed, however, that there is frequently an irritating, if not depressing, discrepancy between our ideas and good intentions and how we act when we are confronted with the nitty-gritty details of real life situations. One afternoon I was riding a bus in San Francisco, reading a very touching article on human suffering and helping others. The idea of being generous and extending myself to those in need became so poignant that I started to cry. People were looking at me as the tears ran down my cheeks. I felt a great tenderness toward everyone, and a commitment to benefit others arose in me. As soon as I got home, feeling pretty exhausted after working all day, the phone rang, and it was someone asking if I could please help her out by taking her position as a meditation leader that night. I said, “No, sorry, I need to rest,” and hung up.

It’s not a matter of the right choice or the wrong choice, but simply that we are often presented with a dilemma about bringing together the inspiration of the teachings with what they mean to us on the spot. There is a perplexing tension between our aspirations and the reality of feeling tired, hungry, stressed-out, afraid, bored, angry, or whatever we experience in any given moment of our life.

Naropa, an eleventh-century Indian yogi, one day unexpectedly met an old hag on the street. She apparently knew he was one of the greatest Buddhist scholars in India and asked him if he understood the words of the large book he was holding. He said he did, and she laughed and danced with glee. Then she asked him if he understood the meaning of the teachings in that book. Thinking to please her even more, he again said yes. At that point she became enraged, yelling at him that he was a hypocrite and a liar. That encounter changed Naropa’s life. He knew she had his number; truthfully, he only understood the words and not the profound inner meaning of all the teachings he could expound so brilliantly.

This is where we also, to one degree or another, find ourselves. We can kid ourselves for a while that we understand meditation and the teachings, but at some point we have to face it. None of what we’ve learned seems very relevant when our lover leaves us, when our child has a tantrum in the supermarket, when we’re insulted by our colleague. How do we work with our resentment when our boss walks into the room and yells at us? How do we reconcile that frustration and humiliation with our longing to be open and compassionate and not to harm ourselves or others? How do we mix our intention to be alert and gentle in meditation with the reality that we sit down and immediately fall asleep? What about when we sit down and spend the entire time thinking about how we crave someone or something we saw on the way to the meditation hall? Or we sit down and squirm the whole morning because our knees hurt and our back hurts and we’re bored and fed up? Instead of calm, wakeful, and egoless, we find ourselves getting more edgy, irritable, and solid.

To be continuedRésultat de recherche d'images

The Jesus story is the universe story

By Richard Rohr

The Mystery of the Cross
Sunday, April 23, 2017

It is a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. —1 Corinthians 2:8

Jesus’ life, death, and raising up is the whole pattern revealed, named, summed up, and assured for our own lives. It gives us the full trajectory that we might not recognize otherwise. He is the map. The Jesus story is the universe story. The Universal Christ is no threat to anything but separateness, illusion, domination, and the imperial ego. In that sense, Jesus, the Christ, is the ultimate threat, but first of all to Christians. Only when we follow Jesus through his life, death and resurrection will we have any universal and salvific message for the rest of the earth.

The lead up to and the follow up from the cross is the great interpretative key that makes the core pattern clear. It’s no accident that we have made the cross the Christian logo, because in the revelation of the cross, many great truths become obvious and even overwhelming, even though we do not want to see them.

Those who “gaze upon” (John 19:37) the Crucified long enough—with contemplative eyes—are always healed at deep levels of pain, unforgiveness, aggression, and victimhood. Contemplative gazing demands no theological education, just an “inner exchange” by receiving the image within and offering one’s soul back in safe return. C. G. Jung is supposed to have said that a naked man nailed to a cross is perhaps the deepest archetypal symbol in the Western psyche. [1]

The crucified Jesus offers, at a largely unconscious level, a very compassionate meaning system for history. Without such cosmic meaning and soul significance, the agonies and tragedies of Earth feel like Shakespeare’s “sound and fury signifying nothing” or “a tale told by an idiot.” The body can live without food more easily than the soul can live without such transformative meaning.

If all our crucifixions are leading to some possible resurrection, and are not dead-end tragedies, this changes everything. If God is somehow participating in the suffering of humans and creation, instead of just passively tolerating it and observing it, that also changes everything—at least for those who are willing to “gaze” contemplatively.

We Christians are given the privilege to name the mystery rightly and to know it directly and consciously, but in many ways we have not lived it much better than other religions and cultures. All humble, suffering souls can learn this from the flow of life itself, but the Christian Scriptures named it and revealed it to us publicly and dramatically in Jesus. It all depends on whether you have “gazed” long and deep enough at the paradoxical mystery of life and death.

 

Gateway to Silence:
I am crucified with Christ.

References:

[1] See Jerry Wright, “Christ, a Symbol of the Self,” C.G. Jung Society of Atlanta Quarterly News (Fall 2001), 6-8. Jung wrote extensively about Christ as archetype; Wright’s essay offers a brief overview of key ideas and resources. Available at http://www.jungatlanta.com/articles/fall01-crist-symbol-of-self.pdf

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 185-187

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "geronda"

Easter Sunday

Resurrection

Jesus said to her, „Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?… Jesus said to her, „Mary!”
John 20: 15, 16
Painting by Mathias Gruenewald, Retable d’Issenheim

Reflexion by Henri NOUWEN
WHEN YOU FORGET YOUR TRUE IDENTITY as a beloved child of God, you lose your way in life. Insecure and frightened, you act not freely, but out of fear.
You become preoccupied trying to please others and you lose the confidence to be yourself. You work hard to avoid rejection, or abandonment, and you may cling to people more from fear than freedom. In making compromises you may please people but lose touch with your original blessing, the connection to the deep and everlasting love of God.
Jesus announces to us, „Do not be afraid. I dwell in you till the end of time.”
 
Alleluia! Christ is risen, and we are no longer afraid.

Nu putem evita greselile

Oameni fiind, greselile sunt inevitabile. Poate ca am facut pe cineva sa sufere, poate ca am ranit suflete dragi, si ne pare tare rau. Dar putem totdeauna sa o luam de la capat, greselile pot fi puncte de plecare pentru o transformare. Sunt cea mai buna scoala pentru a învata sa fii mai bun, mai sensibil la durerea altcuiva, mai iubitor, mai tolerant. De aceea greselile isi au rolul lor de jucat în evolutia noastra. Sa nu ne lasam prinsi în capcana vinovatiei daca am facut în viata niste greseli. 

Because we are human beings, we cannot avoid making mistakes. We might have caused someone else to suffer, we might have offended our beloved ones, and we feel regret. But it is always possible for us to begin anew, and to transform all these kinds of mistakes. Without making mistakes there is no way to learn, in order to be a better person, to learn how to be tolerant, to be compassionate, to be loving, to be accepting. That is why mistakes play a role in our training, in our learning, and we should not get caught in the prison of culpability just because we have made some mistakes in our life.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

December 27, 2016, Feast of John the Beloved

The Greatest Commandments

by Richard Rohr

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent God’s only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent God’s Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and God’s love is brought to perfection in us. —1 John 4:7-12 [1]

“Whoever loves is born of God and knows God.” Unfortunately, many Christians think, “If I read the Bible, I’m born of God; or if I go to church, I know God; or if I obey the commandments, I know God.” Yet John says it’s simply about loving. Note that the converse is true also. “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. . . . This I command you: love one another. —John 15:9-14, 17 [2]

We might expect Jesus to say, “There is no greater love than to love God.” But he says, “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.”

Both of these scriptures emphasize the centrality and the importance of love. The beginning and end of everything is love. Only inside of the mystery of love—mutual self-emptying and infilling—can we know God. If we stay outside of that mystery, we cannot know God.

When most of us hear the word “commandment,” we likely think of the Ten Commandments. But Jesus speaks of a “new” commandment surpassing and summing up the “ten” of the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21): “This is my commandment: Love one another.” He also says: “The entire law and the prophets is summed up in the two great commandments: to love God and to love one another” (see Matthew 22:36-40).

Perhaps we don’t want to hear this commandment because we can never live up to it through our own efforts. We’d like to whittle it down to a little commandment, like “Come to church on Sunday.” But who of us can say we have really loved yet? We’re all beginners. We’re all starting anew every day, and we’re failing anew every day. Loving as imperfect, egoic human beings keeps us in utter reliance upon the mercy, compassion, and grace of God. We can never fully succeed by ourselves.

It seems God gave us a commandment that we could not obey. Perhaps this is so we would have to depend upon the Holy Spirit. This is the greatness, the goodness, the wonder, the impossibility of the Gospel, that it asks of all of us something we—alone, apart, separate—cannot do! Only by living in love, in communion—God in us and we in God (see John 17:20-26)—do we find, every once in a while, a love flowing through us and toward us and from us that is bigger than our own. And we surely know it’s not “we” who are doing it!

 

Gateway to Silence:
Be the change you wish to see in the world. —Gandhi

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Love Is the Only Message,” homily, May 13, 2012, https://cac.org/love-is-the-only-message/.

O glorie diferita de ce ne închipuim

„Un lucru e sigur şi se impune cu o evidenţă strigă­toare: istoria omenirii, începând cu vârstele ei cele mai îndepărtate, are un caracter tragic. Nu a rămas nică­ieri vreo urmă a unei vârste de aur, decât, desigur, în imaginarul colectiv al popoarelor.

Istoria omenească, în fond, este Babel. Turnul Babel reprezintă simbolul biblic al unei voinţe prometeice a unei puteri omeneşti unite, care degenerează în confu­zie şi împrăştiere. Uciderea lui Abel şi Turnul Babel sunt două mari imagini profetice ale istoriei omeneşti, a cărei desfăşurare apare ca o suită de lupte fratricide pentru putere între sisteme închise. Totul se petrece ca şi cum capacitatea divină de a iubi, depusă în om de la începuturi, s-ar fi prefăcut într-o forţă monstruoasă, lucrând numai pentru a domina şi a exclude.

Câteodată, e adevărat, intervine câte o surpriză feri­cită: un suflu mesianic se ridică, aducând pace şi fră­ţie, părând a croi o cale de destindere şi de înţelegere. O firavă speranţă se naşte. Se înalţă pe catarge drapele de pace. Apoi vântul îşi schimbă brusc direcţia şi izbuc­neşte o altă furtună. Pacea pe care o crezuserăm veşnică nu fusese decât un somn al conflictelor. Antagonismele reapar, ca şi excluderile. Reîncep ura, sfâşierea, cu ala­iul lor de cruzimi.

Când se porneşte o nouă avalanşă de orori, Dumne­zeu îşi regretă actul creator, ne spune Biblia: „s-a căit pentru că l-a creat pe om pe pământ şi s-a mâhnit în inima lui” (Gen 6,6). Dumnezeu ar fi putut opri trage­dia, renunţând la proiectul său grandios, prefăcând totul în pulbere. Însă Dumnezeu nu este ca omul. Gândurile sale nu sunt ca ale noastre, iar el nu iubeşte distrugerea: „… căci Eu sunt Dumnezeu… iar nu om… nu voi veni să te prăpădesc” (Os 11,9). Iubirea care a plămădit lumea, iubirea care a dorit creaţia pentru a se împărtăşi unor fiinţe distincte de sine, iubirea aceasta nu va renunţa la proiectul la temelia căruia stă venirea „Primului-născut din toată creaţia”. Dum­nezeu a văzut nenorocirea oamenilor, iar priveliştea aceasta a născut în inima lui o iubire nouă, plină de milostivire şi de duioşie. Cine ar putea măsura puterea unei asemenea iubiri? Dumnezeu a luat hotărârea de a salva ceea ce fusese pierdut.

Nu, Ziditorul nu-şi va uita măreţul proiect. Se va revela pe deplin celui pe care l-a voit şi iubit din vecie: omul, dorit ca să-i aducă lui Dumnezeu bucurie, fericire, slavă. Misiunea de a-şi mântui fraţii întru umanitate îi va reveni Fiului cel iubit; el îi va smulge din haos, din ură şi din moarte, cufundându-i în unda iubirii ce zideşte şi îndumnezeieşte: pentru ca şi ei să se poată bucura de viaţa divină, având, de asemenea, parte de plinătatea ei. Dăruindu-se neprecupeţit omului decăzut, Dumne­zeu va revărsa asupra inimii omeneşti dragostea sa milostivă; va dărui propria privire îndurătoare asupra celui rătăcit. Pe scurt, îl va trimite pe Fiul său cel iubit pentru a fi chipul omenesc al Iubirii răscumpărătoare.

De aceea a coborât Fiul unic al lui Dumnezeu în lumea noastră dezbinată şi sfâşiată. Sosirea lui fusese anunţată, însă el a apărut printre oameni fără nimic din strălucirea aşteptată: „într-o asemenea obscuritate (ceea ce lumea numeşte „a fi obscur”), scrie Pascal, încât istoricii, cei ce nu notează decât evenimentele importante ale statelor, abia dacă l-au observat”. „Glo­ria pe care venise s-o arate” era de alt ordin.”

Eloi Leclerc, Chemin de contemplation, în româneste „Cale de îndumnezeire”, ed. Sapientia