Tuesday, July 17, 2012

centering

Centering prayer is not comfortable for me these days. I am not sure why. Today I went to Holy Family and centered with three other people. My mind was so full of thoughts. I know that Thomas Keating said something to the effect that that's a wonderful opportunity to return over and over and over again to God. And it is. I do. I feel weirdly close to God in a way that is new. Not upbeat or exciting or anything that I can pin down with an adjective concerning emotion. Perhaps it is that I am beginning to trust God more fully. I hope so. Still, the prayer is difficult for me. I begin to make lists of household tasks that need to get done---take old clothes to the thrift store, get the vacuum cleaner fixed, etc. And then I'll arrange my classroom and begin thinking about lesson plans. All things that are quantifiable, controllable. Not like centering. Someone said recently that some people are threatened by centering prayer and think it's "from the devil." This is evidently because it's not controllable; it has a life of its own. It certainly does. I like Cynthia Bourgeault's way of welcoming thoughts---welcome fear, welcome worry. I have had the same response when not in prayer but have just been struggling with fear or worry or anxiety. Befriending emotional adversity is a good way of defusing its power a bit, I guess.
So, one thing that someone brought up after centering today was what we're supposed to be getting out of it. Patricia said that she does want to see the results of it in her daily life. I do too, for sure, but I'm wary about that because I just have no idea where all this is taking me. (For now it's not taking me anywhere but here, actually, and that is always the best place for me to be. Not in the past or the future.) I hope centering will give me greater patience, forbearance, and equanimity at work as I try to be a good teacher and help my students and be present for my co-workers and myself. Mostly, though, I come back to the idea that it will help me to love better. More honestly, more readily, more fully, more more more love. Yes. 

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