When a desert abba once said, “Watching means to sit in your cell and be always mindful of God,” he could have been talking about Centering Prayer. An ancient practice that may lead to contemplation, Centering Prayer helps practitioners, through silence, learn to rest in God – and know God. It is stunningly simple. Learn how.
Centering Parayer reminds me a story about Mother Theresa of Calcutta:
Reporter: “When you pray, what do you say to God?”
Mother Theresa: “Nothing. I just listen.”
Reporter: “What does God say to you?”
Mother Theresa: “Nothing. God just listens, too. And if you don’t understand that, I can’t explain it to you.”
What a beautiful story about Mother Theresa of Calcutta. And what an accurate explanation of Centering Prayer. In a society where noise, instant messaging, and a cell phone connected to the hip are the norm, how unusual it is to sit quietly and just listen. Yet that is what takes place in Centering Prayer. Perhaps if we turn off our cell phones and listen a bit, we just might get some answers.
Silence can certainly lead to enlightenment for God’s plan.
Another experience I recommend is turning off the lights. In conjunction with Earth Day, there is a movement to “turn off the lights” for an hour (I think it is called earth-hour) which I found to be illuminating as to how much light is actually available. We tend to “fight” against the darkness with our electricity. Of course, it may work better in the city where the neighborhood is lit by street lamps whose light comes in the windows of my home rather than a more rural setting unless the moon is up.
Of course, there are many spiritual traditions that utilize this powerful tool such as candlelight services during prayer.