“Contemplative Outreach is a voice crying in the wilderness of the violence and disunity that still exists among the religions of the world today. … The purpose of Contemplative Outreach is to guide people attracted to the Christian understanding of the practice of contemplative transformation. … What Contemplative Outreach is trying to transmit is something greater than any one religion. … The contemplative life is the heart of the world. In becoming contemplative, one manifests the face of God more vigorously than in the practice of one’s religion without that dimension. It is urgent and crucial that we make this basic teaching available in every language
and every culture.”
CONTEMPLATIVE OUTREACH UK
What is Contemplative Outreach?
By Elizabeth Smith
Edited by Fr Thomas Keating OCSO
Fr. Thomas Keating founded Contemplative Outreach specifically to support those who are practicing Centering Prayer as he envisaged it. To this intention, he set about creating a systematic teaching which would make accessible to modern people the rich and long tradition of the Christian Contemplative teachings. Continue reading
The Process of Forming a Centering Prayer Group
In the last newsletter, I outlined the process of setting up an introductory day. There was an emphasis throughout on the setting up of a support group post the introductory day. I will now talk about the process of setting up such a group. Continue reading
Setting up an Introductory Day on Centering Prayer
Having read of the importance of being part of a Centering Prayer group, I looked for one near me in Nottingham. There was none, I decided the way forward was to start one myself. .I contacted Elizabeth Smith, director of Centering Prayer UK (COUK) and Continue reading
In the silence which is active, the Inner Light begins to glow – a tiny spark. For the flame to be kindled and grow, subtle argument and the clamour of our emotions must be stilled. It is by attention full of love that we enable the Inner Light to blaze and illuminate our dwelling and to make our whole being a source from which this Light may shine out. Quaker Faith and Practice 2.12 – Pierre Lacout 1969.
Centering Prayer throws light on a new perspective of everything, to a new understanding of ourselves and all creation. It leads to a deep conversion of the heart.
Centering Prayer is the path to a radical new way of seeing the world. It is not, as is sometimes thought, simply an act of devotional piety, nor is it a Christianized form of other meditation methods. Bourgeault cuts through the misconceptions to show that Centering Prayer is in fact a pioneering development within the Christian contemplative tradition. She provides a complete course in the practice and then goes deeper to analyse what actually happens in Centering Prayer: the mind effectively switches to a new operating system that makes possible the perception of nonduality. With this understanding in place, she takes us on a journey through one of the sources of the practice, the Christian contemplative classic The Cloud of Unknowing, revealing it to be among the earliest Christian explorations of the phenomenology of consciousness.
“Thinking, which is the radical gift of rational consciousness, is of its nature controlling and inventing. It is limited in its capacities and bound by five senses and the thinking process. Putting this managing and controlling mind into the heart is a basic practice to awaken the divine presence within us.” – Thomas Keating, Contemplative Outreach Ltd. News, Dec.2014
What is Contemplative Outreach?
Contemplative Outreach was founded by Fr. Thomas Keating specifically to support those who are practicing Centering Prayer as he envisaged it. To this intention he set about creating a systematic teaching which would make accessible to modern people the rich and long tradition of the Christian Contemplative teachings.
There has always been a long tradition of various types of prayer groups. However, few groups, if any, have had the advantage of a systematic spiritual education. Many depended on the wisdom and learning of the leader. This has also applied to many of the different prayer movements of the past centuries. In depth, guided study especially of the Western Christian tradition was in the past fairly rare and open to only a few.