Centering Prayergreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
I have for a long time been unsure what to think of this. Is this here a valid assessment of centering prayer? should it really be encouraged because I have read several other sources warning against it.
-- Matt (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 14, 2004
"In the book Finding Grace at the Center, written by Keating and Basil Pennington, the following advice is given: 'We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible … Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices ..."
I see a danger here. Yoga, Zen and TM strive to get someone to abandon ALL attachments and desires. Christian contemplation is designed to heighten our desire to be with God. The goals are very different.
In the Centering Prayer you select a montra. You are told to push all thoughts out of your mind. If a thought enters your mind, you are to return to the ‘sacred word’, the montra. Again, the goal is to drive all thoughts, all desires away. Well, if you do that you are left with a ‘nothingness’. Again, eastern meditation techniques are to get you to a state of ‘nirvana’. Nirvana is ‘nothingness’ it is NOT heaven.
If you want to learn chemistry, you use techniques that will get you there, you don’t play laser tag or do something else that is not set up to achieve the goal you are after.
I am a Scoutmaster, one of the first things I teach my Scouts is to use the right tool if you want to get the job done.
Bottom line: Select a goal (either nirvana or Heaven) and then use the tried and true techniques documented by the Saints to get you there. Don’t try to mix techniques in a hope that by doing so you will get to your goal via an easier path, you are likely to get lost.
Here is a good article on the centering prayer
-- Bill Nelson (email@example.com), May 15, 2004.
I agree with Bill's caution, but would up the ante a bit and say that Yoga and eastern are downright dangerous and can leave one open to demonic influence.
Jesus has taught us how to pray by his direct teachings and his example. We are not called to "center" ourselves, we're called to submit ourselves to Christ. We aren't called to empty our minds, we're called to ask for the mind of Christ.
We're called to seek God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We're called to surrender our will and our desires and seek God's will and God's desire. And in this process, if we'll take it seriously in prayer, we'll be startled to learn that we've been equipped to hear the voice of our shephard and that our highest calling is that once we're surrendered to Christ, He'll direct our path and speak to us Spirt to spirit giving us peace, counsel, strength, joy, and power from Heaven. As children of God, that's our prayer life, to have an intimate relationship will All Mighty God. Such silliness eastern prayer is by comparison.
-- non-Catholic Christian (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 15, 2004.
Centering prayer is a part of the prayer tradition of our Church. The sisters who have helped with the Liturgy in our Parish and help teach in the RCIA, have all taught the Jesus prayer, or centering prayer. Contemplation, simply on the name of Jesus. Much benifit can be drawn from simply breating in an out the name of Jesus.
I enjoy praying the Rosary, but at times I am simply distracted or preoccupied and no matter how much I try, my mind wanders. Centering prayer can serve to keep us focused and clear our mind of other matters which interfere with prayer.
-- Leon (email@example.com), May 16, 2004.
The principles behind Centering Prayer are concerning. I have both heard Thomas Keating speak and have read a great many of his works. Thomas Keating, the former President of the Temple of Understanding, an organization created by Lucis Trust (orginally known as Lucifer Trust). He follows a similar path of many so-called "NewAgers". During one lecture he suggested we shatter our image of the Church and of God, and attain higher levels of consciousness. He picks and chooses sections of the Bible to support his "new gospel". Centering Prayer may seem harmless on the surface, but please be warned that beneath the surface there is much more than meets the eye.
-- Gabo Gaviria (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 06, 2004.