Peace through Centering Prayer
In his acceptance speech for winning a Nobel Prize, activist Adolfo Perez Esquivel gave us a memorable line that surmises what prayer ought to achieve:
“It is essential to have the inner peace and serenity of prayer in order to listen to the silence of God, which speaks to us, in our personal life and the history of our times, of the power of love.”
The search for inner peace leads us to seek quiet contemplation wherein we experience God’s presence within us and we achieve this by preparing through a method of silent prayer called Centering Prayer. This adds depth to the meaning of prayer fostering and strengthening one’s relationship with God and self and is highly personal. It began as an attempt to present the teachings of the past in a modern form and is known to usually create communities of faith and bonds members and fellow practitioners together.
There are many fallacies that surround centering prayer. Some assume it is a meditation technique and a relaxation exercise while others believe that it is a form of self-hypnosis. Centering prayer is neither of these things, but it is a silence made to deepen the relationship with God through the quieting of the mind, although it is quite common to experience a refreshing feeling after. Because we know that the spirit of God is saturated in everything around us, performing Centering prayer creates a more profound awareness of His presence. We experience a resting of thoughts, words, and emotions as we let go of the ties to the physical world and bind ourselves closer to the Lord.
As a pure gift from God, Centering Prayer opens our minds and our hearts—the wholeness of our spiritual being—to the ultimate mystery transcending consciousness. A reflection time of around twenty minutes is usually given with a ten minute extension, preferably with a gentle alarm set up earlier to mark the time when it ends. A sacred word much be chosen beforehand as the symbol of the intention to be with God’s presence and action within. As you settle deeper into spiritual contemplation, you must repeat the sacred word when earthy thoughts, physical sensations, feelings, and images threaten to invade the serenity of your inner self.
Sometimes though, a simple inward glance toward God’s presence in you will put you back on the path of contemplation, though focusing on breathing may also aid in achieving meditative prayer. It must also be noted that the sacred word is not sacred because of its meaning but because of the meaning given as the expression of our wish to be fully immersed in the Holy Spirit. The seating position must also be comfortable but not too comfortable to avoid falling asleep since the eyes will be closed through the process. At the end of the prayer, silence must be maintained for a few more minutes (usually a couple will suffice) and will enable us to bring the atmosphere of silence into the comings and goings of everyday life.
Hopefully, through this, the presence of God will bless you with peace and life may be lived in a more centered way in order to be one with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.