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.