Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ireland 4 and last....

Ok, so I've heard from one of the participants who read an earlier blog and recognized himself. We've exchanged several emails and all it well, but I'm going to bring this conversation about the Making a Difference workshop in Ireland to an end with this post.

And this post is about Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer is the heart of the workshop and what most people take away that lasts. The Language-ing of the workshop fades fast if you don't use it. It's simply too disruptive to remember if you don't have someone to remember it with. The Language is wondrous and vital but it is contained and lived into in Centering Prayer.

The language is about 'being' and Centering Prayer is a prayer of 'being'. So the prayer keeps the language alive in a subliminal way.

Here's the way we see Centering Prayer in the workshop. It is bare bones and blue collar.

"Put your butt on the chair and intend to be with God for 20 minutes."

That is the whole thing in less than 20 words.

"Intention" is the key. "Intend" to pay attention to the God who dwells within you in the silence of your life and you will get what you get.

There is no 'right way' or 'wrong way' to do centering prayer, which drives people crazy since they want to 'do it right' and 'be good at it'. Vain hopes.

Sit down. Intend to be with God in the silence of your soul.

Take a prayer word (can be anything, best something that doesn't give you emotional content--mine is 'abba', Jesus' name for his father...more like, 'Daddy', but it is a foreign word...Aramaic, and with no emotion in me attached to it.)

Be still and silent and intend to be with God. And whenever anything impinges on your silence and intent, simply and gently use your prayer word to return to the Center and your intention and God.

That's all there is. There ain't much more.

Try it. It's easy. And you get what you get. No one is 'grading' you on how well you center. If you 'intend' to be with God, you will be. And it might not be what you wanted or needed. 'Want' and 'Need' have nothing to do with it.

Put your butt in the chair, shut up, listen for God. That and that only.

And what you get is what you get AND what you GET is your prayer, whatever that is. You're not being graded.

God is simply waiting for you to put your butt in the chair and shut up and listen for 20 minutes or so.

That's all. No strings attached. Nothing that comes up in the silence of the 20 minutes matters....let it be and it will let you be....return to the center.

Just like that. Really.

So, I'm through with Ireland for now. Thanks for enduring my reflections about those days in the Old Sod.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.