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El Método de la Oración Centrante.

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The Spiritual Journey - Formation in the Christian Contemplative Life. The Method of Centering Prayer Part 1 - Centering Prayer as a method is two things at the same time. It's a relationship with God, destiny in God the movement beyond thoughts and concepts to simply be in the presence of God and engulfed in that divine sense whether felt or unfelt. Unless you firmly emphasize the relationship as prayer, then the discipline doesn't make too much sense. Because it's not a mental discipline, it's not designed to fix your mind or your blood pressure or you're happy to grow hair or other thing. [audience laughing] It... it's a relationship first and foremost and the method is totally in the service of that relationship. And... and so lets' look at the guidelines then from that perspective, in this talk, we're emphasizing the method and so you could easily get stuck on well, how I've got to do the method just right, but it's always a relationship and that means unlike certain other disciplines if you don't do it correctly, it doesn't matter. It's a help if you do it correctly, but it doesn't matter because it's your intention that count and the relationship is with God He's not gonna hold your mistakes against you, He's looking at your love and through another person, or a book, or eventually... or through the inspirations of the Holy Spirit you'll correct whatever mistakes you're doing. The main thing to do is to do it. The principal method of centering prayer really is to sit down. But there's ways of doing it that could facilitate this seating there. And so, let's look at the guidelines. Now, the first guideline is... Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God's presence and action within you. Notice please 'God's presence and action' so we're working with a dynamic relationship, a back and forth, an exchange, a conversation which has moved towards communion or is moving in that direction. The second little guideline is... that sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, we settle briefly... like I'm settling in this nice chair, breathing easily and so on and then after a few moments of not doing anything, just sort of settling... pausing, maybe 10 or 15 seconds of quiet, you introduce very gently, very casually, almost informally the sacred word that you had chosen in the first guideline that it symbolizes the consent of your will to God's presence and... and action within -- they always go together. God is not a statue, he's not a static force within us, it's a loving relationship in faith and hence God's Spirit can do all kinds of things and suggest all kinds of things and he does. The third guideline is... when engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word. Well, this is just to say or acknowledge the fact that there are going to be various thoughts, feelings, () perceptions, noise in the room, people coughing, memories, imaginations, visualizations, that sort of dreaming all of these psychological materials you might say is going to be flowing down the stream of consciousness as you... as you sit there. And it's... we say that it's inevitable, integral and normal. So this is a terribly important point to get through our heads if we have been trained in the doctrine of distractions that distractions somehow are harmful or interfere with your prayer. Now, if you're doing discussive meditation when you're supposed to be thinking about something particular then... then other thoughts are distractions, do interrupt your reflection and your prayer. But the centering prayer moves beyond that level of awareness. And it's got... and it's designed to disregard the ordinary thoughts or activities of our psychological day to day awareness. So you're not on the level that you're usually on in discussive meditation. And hence we just disregard this thought or these thoughts which are more like noise in the street or background music at the supermarket that you put up with but pay no attention to. But it's important not to resist these thoughts. In other words, it's important to have a joyful attitude towards the thoughts. A friendly attitude towards the most dreadful thoughts. Not that you linger over them or act them out, but it's important that we expect them and they're normal and they're integral. Now, the term 'thoughts' is a technical term in our... centering prayer practice. And it's an umbrella term... we could have used another term, but this one kind of got stuck in which any... any perception whatsoever is referred to, that is, inner and outer sense, sensations memories, feelings, emotions, plans, commentaries... any perception at all is a thought in the context of the centering prayer practice. That means that every time you are engaged with any perception whatsoever according to this third guideline, you ever-so-gently return to the sacred word. Not because the sacred word has some inherent miraculous power of stopping the thoughts, it doesn't, and it's a mistake to use it as a bulldozer or a baseball bat to knock the various thoughts out of the ballpark. This prayer is totally non-violent. There's no... and in fact, it's as effortless as possible that, so that the very term 'ever-so-gently' means you return to the sacred word with a minimum of activity. Not only that but this return is the only activity you initiate in the centering prayer. In other words, you do nothing except to return to the sacred word when it's challenged by some attractive or repulsive thought that begins to take you out of the disregard of thoughts and out of the developing peace or interior silence that is gradually being insinuated through the Holy Spirit into the spiritual level of your being. Now the final guideline is very simple if at the end of the prayer period you remain in silence for a couple of minutes. So there are the four guidelines. Now, let's take just a minute to look at them a little more in particular. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God's presence and action within. The sacred word expresses our intention to be in God's presence and to surrender to this dynamic divine action. We yield to it so that it's a... it's an opening first of all to the action of God. Well, now we're going to take a minute or two, perhaps two minutes of silence, I invite you to close your eyes and I invite you to look inwardly and to ask the Holy Spirit to suggest a sacred word of one or two syllables that you feel comfortable with and that would express as a symbol or a gesture your intention to be with God during this time and totally open to the divine action. In choosing a word it is the meaning that we invest in the word that is more important rather than the inherent meaning of the word itself. So if you choose a word like peace or it's Hebrew form 'shalom' as the expression of your intent to be with God that is what makes it a sacred word. The word then is not sacred because of its inherent meaning or its hallowed place in Christian tradition, but it's the meaning that you give it that makes it sacred. And that is to say, your will has made it sacred or your intention has sacralized this particular sound as an appropriate expression of your intention. And... so that when it's challenged by thoughts going by you can easily and gently return to it. And it reestablishes your original intention just to be with God. That's all the sacred word does, it has no surprise meanings, no trick effects on your psyche, no profound stirring of the subconscious or the unconscious, it simply means what you want it to mean. You must stay with that word during the whole time of this prayer because otherwise, you'll start thinking again. Shall I turn to Amen instead of (). So the whole thrust of the prayer is to stop thinking. Now, this doesn't mean you're not gonna have thoughts, but notice this delicate distinction, we're not going to think about the thoughts. So you can have all the thoughts in the world go by they won't interfere with the prayer, it's only when you start thinking about the thoughts, feeling... that you interrupt your original intention of just being totally open to God and that calls for some response to reaffirm your original intention and to get back to where you started. And so you can see that... so that this practice is constantly cultivating your spiritual awareness, the spiritual level of your being, the spiritual level of the intellect which is intuitive, and the spiritual level of the will which is the will to God, the will to open to infinite truth, infinite love, infinite happiness. So perhaps that's a good word, to sum up this first sort of stage of learning the centering prayer is opening, opening, opening. Now, after a while, this opening is going to be transformed into a letting go of oneself into God. Just a few words about the second guideline, which is sitting comfortably and with eyes closed... We sit comfortably so that we won't have to think about how uncomfortable the body is. Secondly, we close our eyes to let go of our external environment and also of our interior world that may be thinking about this or that when we sit down. So closing the eyes is also closing the inner eyes to whatever is going on in our interior world. Our prayer is an implicit prayer for everything God wills. Implicit prayer for everybody in need without mentioning any names. There's another time when we may be called to pray specifically for certain events, but since we only ask for a half an hour or so twice a day, you'll have the whole 23 hours of the rest of the day to pray as much as you like for other people or do whatever you like, or do other forms of prayer, the centering prayer does not bring other forms of prayer to an end but it does put them into a... into a new perspective, a deeper meaning and one sees there they'd... then from a kind of unified perspective in which they're all moving each in their own way towards this deeper awareness of the divine presence both in ourselves and in everyone else and throughout the cosmos. So as having chosen the sacred word we don't change it. Now, it's true the first few days you might try one or other word, but it's important to settle on one and to stick to it because it eventually it gets sown into the psyche ever deeper, and deeper and deeper. And... now let's look at the third one, which is perhaps the most crucial one for most of us. When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word. We said the thoughts are inevitable, we said they were integral in other words, they're a part of the prayer and as far as we can tell from our present level of experience, they're integral because your thoughts may be coming from the unconscious and may be part of the process of healing that I'll come to later in my next lecture. As... the Spirit works as a kind of divine therapist. And one of the ways that he heals the unconscious is by allowing its feelings and its thoughts to surface especially during prayer and then later sometimes outside the time of prayer so that you can see right away that the centering prayer involves the whole of life and the activity by which we bring its fruits into daily life is almost as important, a factor in the project as the actual time that we faithfully spend each day in the prayer itself. Thoughts are a normal part of centering prayer. It's when you are lifted out of your basic intention and start watching thoughts that you're attached to or have an aversion to that you need to do something to return to the sacred word. But if the thoughts are just going by like noise in the supermarket then you're... you're not paying any attention to it you're just dimly aware that it's happening. Then there isn't a necessity to go back to the sacred word, because you're already at the place that the sacred word is meant to facilitate your reaching, which is the abiding, turning and resting in the presence of God within you at the deepest level. So let me just sum up very briefly in this modest diagram here what I'm trying to say... is suppose that this is our ordinary awareness, the stream of consciousness that we're experiencing during the time of prayer and here are a few boats that are going by... Boats representing thoughts, feelings, images and so on and it's usually of a fleet of them. Sometimes the whole United States Navy seems to be going down with all the guns banging and so... so whatever your experience, you're having thoughts going by at this level. At a deeper level, let's call this the ordinary level of our awareness and let's call this the spiritual level of our awareness... which you're really not aware of most of the time except at a peak experience or when life, or tragedy, or something brings you to that place, so we're mostly unaware of what might be called the river itself on which all our thoughts and faculties are resting. So we're kind of absorbed or dominated in our ordinary psychological life by the objects of events and people and our emotional reactions to them. The purpose then of the centering prayer is to move from this level to this level. And indeed, not to stop there because the human being has greater depths than that, but to move even deeper to the level of the true self which is our participation in the divine life. And the divine presence itself as the source of our being at every level. And it accessing or awakening our awareness to this presence that is the ultimate goal of contemplative prayer or centering prayer, but to reach it we have to pass through the spiritual level and to awaken the true self and whatever of God's ultimate divine presence he may want to share with us, which is a whole new life which is a transformed life and which, it seems to me, is what the gospel invites us to especially in St John where Jesus speaks of inviting us into the same union and unity that he experiences with the Father in the Holy Spirit. Hence, this is so important again, from the perspective of prayer as relationship. Contemplative Outreach - Silence, Solitude, Solidarity, Service.

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 47 seconds
Year: 2019
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Producer: Contemplative Outreach
Director: Contemplative Outreach-Extensión Contemplativa Internacional
Views: 6
Posted by: castella on Jun 16, 2019

Con el Padre Thomas Keating, OCSO. Versión abreviada del vídeo original del mismo título.

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