Friday, 11 March 2011

Centring prayer

Many people do not believe in a personal God or in miraculous interventions, so we find it difficult to pray. But prayer is not just about asking for things. It can be contemplative. It can be about communing silently with the universe, or self-examination, or holding loved ones in your thoughts, or increasing mindfulness.

Centring prayer is a spiritual practice that was developed by Christians in response to interfaith dialogue with Buddhists.

The practice involves choosing a word that expresses a positive quality of the Divine (whatever you conceive that to be), such as love, peace, joy, silence, creativity.

Take a moment to decide what this quality means for you; now hold the word, or an image that represents it for you, in your mind and in your heart. Just focus on that concept; don’t worry if your mind drifts off – don’t follow the train of thought, just bring your mind gently back to the concept.

As you breathe in and out, you can say the word silently to yourself, trying to experience the quality it describes.

Ideally, the prayer will reach the point where you are not engaged in their thoughts as they arrive on your stream of consciousness.

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