Young_Monk_Praying_on_the_New_Mount_Carmel

How Do I Get Started?

Find a quiet room that will allow you space and time undisturbed for a period of a half an hour. Sit in a chair in which you can sit comfortably with feet flat on the floor your spine straight and hands resting in your lap with palms up or down. Begin this time with a prayer to the Holy Spirit, such as “come Holy Spirit come”, or whatever prayer rises from your heart.

 Untitled Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. 

Select a short word of one-two syllables like Jesus, mercy, love, hope, peace, Abba. This word is not sacred in and of itself, but your consent to God’s presence and action makes it so. Keep this word for the entire prayer time. Place a timer near you; the minimal time recommend for your meditative sit is 20 minutes. You may increase this time to 30 minutes or more as you continued to do the Centering Prayer twice a day.

Untitled Sitting comfortably with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as your consent to God’s presence and action within. Let your breathing become gentle and easy.

If this is the first time you have sat quietly, you may find your body experiencing little twitches and aches; this is a very normal occurrence at first until the body gets use to sitting still for 20 minutes. You may find that you have many “thoughts” during your prayer period this is also normal and an integral part of the prayer.

Untitled When engaged with your thoughts, return ever so gently to the sacred word.

“Thoughts” include thoughts, body sensations, feelings, images, and reflections. At first you may feel like you’re saying the sacred word all the time. This too is  a common experience and you will feel this less and less as your practice continues.

UntitledAt the end of the prayer period remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

The additional two minutes enables us to bring the atmosphere of silence into everyday life. It is recommended that the Centering Prayer practice is done twice a day; once in the early morning and once later in the day.

For a more in depth explanation see the video of Father Thomas Keating centering prayer guidelines on YouTube.