Centering Prayer

Welcome to Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer, a form of meditative prayer called the “prayer of the heart”, is rooted in the teachings of Jesus and of the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the early church. Through the practice of Centering Prayer we learn how to surrender to love, to abide in divine love, and to enjoy the numerous fruits of the practice: appreciation of silence and solitude, less susceptibility to stress, deeper reverence for the divine in and through nature, willingness and commitment to a life of reconciliation and peace, and longing for and realization of our full union with God, with humanity, and with all life forms on our planet. The practice of Centering Prayer encourages us to cultivate an open mind, heart, and will as we seek spiritual transformation in Christ.

Hearts of Centering Prayer All Saints' Church Carmel California

What's Happening?

In this accessible introduction to the writings of Thomas Merton, small-group participants are led on a path of spiritual growth from the first week of Advent through Christmas. Each of the books five sessions focuses on a distinct theme: hope, salvation, compassion, tenderness, or incarnation. The structure of each session includes prayers, a brief thematic introduction, probing dialogue questions, and a reading from Merton paired with a reading from one of five other spiritual masters, including Gerard Thomas Straub, Anne D. LeClaire, Olivier Clement, Michael Casey, and Christopher Bamford. This contemplative approach provides a welcoming haven during the midst of a hectic season for existing small groups or for those looking for deeply rewarding reflection on the meaning of Advent and Christmas.

Join us

When: Thursdays at 5:30 pm
Where: Currently meeting on Zoom until further notice
What: Meditation, contemplative reading, and discussion facilitated by Rev. Amber.

For more information, please email centeringprayer@allsaintscarmel.org.

We appreciate your support for our Contemplative Ministry.
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Centering Prayer rock sculpture at Pebble Beach, CA

What is Centering Prayer?

Centering Prayer is a form of meditation which when practiced daily can lead us on a transformative path to realizing full union with the divine. Over time, this meditation practice opens our minds and hearts to non-dual awareness, that is to perceive reality as it truly is, not as we have been conditioned to see it nor as we wish it to be. In seeing reality, we begin to see ourselves more clearly — the parts we like and the parts we don’t like. Eventually, we learn how to embrace all the parts of ourselves with love, compassion, and acceptance which leads us to unity within ourselves. When we learn how to love and accept ourselves we find that it is easier to love and accept others just as they are.

The daily practice and experience of Centering Prayer also transforms our inner operating system to be in the moment, to live in the moment–understanding that the journey is the path. We are not trying to get some place else nor are we striving to make a better version of ourselves. We are simply learning to be with what is, knowing that opening to the Spirit of God in each moment connects us to our higher self, to others and opens us to inner transformation by the spirit.

What is the method of Centering Prayer?

The method of Centering Prayer meditation is quite simple. After setting an intention to be present to God we sit in silence for twenty minutes. During the meditation period if we find ourselves engaged with a thought we let the thought go; we simply let go and return to our intention to be with God in the present moment via a Sacred Word which is a symbol of our intention. Unlike discursive prayer where we pray aloud or are speaking to God in our mind, Centering Prayer lets go of thinking and rests in the silence and stillness allowing the spirit to pray within us.

In our group we open with a spoken prayer and reading and then sit for twenty minutes. Afterwards we read a spiritual writing or watch a video and discuss and process together.

Redwood tree new growth
Group of people indoors posing for a photo at Mercy Center Centering Prayer Retreat 2018

Group support for Centering Prayer Meditation

When starting a meditation practice it helps to have spiritual companions with whom we can discuss our experience. Our Centering Prayer group meets weekly to sit together in meditation, to learn about the contemplative practice and mystical path, and to have meaningful discussion. Although we are grounded in the contemplative Christian tradition, the members of our group come from various religious backgrounds and spiritual bents and enjoy discovering the universal principles that flow through all religions from Eastern spirituality to Christian mysticism.

Deepening Our Practice

Bibliography of Resources to Support Your Practice:  includes books on Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Enneagram, Spiritual Literature, and Spiritual Biographies.

Testimonials

Workshops and Retreats

Annual Retreat

Each Fall our Centering Prayer group takes a meditation retreat at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California.  A Centering Prayer meditation retreat offers an opportunity to deepen our practice through full immersion in solitude and silence in a peaceful and nurturing environment with many other practitioners.  The retreats are led by experienced facilitators who have twenty years or more of experience with Centering Prayer and who help to guide us through our questions, experiences, and longings.  Attending a retreat can really support our Centering Prayer practice:  we discover a whole new world of contemplative seekers and companions for the journey and we also discover that Centering Prayer is a world-wide movement in service to the transformation of consciousness to become the compassionate mind of Christ.  Dates to be announced.

Workshops

Throughout the year various workshops are offered to deepen our spiritual practice.  We offer Centering Prayer Workshops to introduce the practice, method, and theology of Centering Prayer.  Enneagram Workshops explore the nine personality Enneatypes and help us to see our fixations and passions that prevent us from moving towards wholeness.  Other workshops explore the historical evolvement of consciousness in the world and help us to understand the evolution of humanity in its path toward God.  Dates to be announced.