Be still and know God is within and around you, all week long… not just on Sundays
Contemplative Space at FPCY is our opportunity to practice Centering Prayer together and become more aware of our spiritual nature throughout daily routines and activities. As reported by those who practice regularly, benefits can include peace, joy, resilience, and better stress management. Learn more about this method of prayer.
If you have ever tried to “do nothing”, you may have been surprised and even discouraged at how challenging it is. Societal and economic pressures steer us away from sitting quietly. The good news is, it only requires very short bouts of practice to rest in awareness of the Divine within and around us – and regular practice has the power to transform our daily lives with newfound curiosity, gratitude, and understanding of yourself and God’s kingdom.
Of course, Centering Prayer is not actually “doing nothing”, but it is about an experience rather than an intellectual exercise. No special skills or personality traits are necessary – we all have exactly what we need to realize God’s presence in our lives. Come sit in communal silence and find the peace that eludes us in a society that prizes busyness and distraction.
What exactly do we do during the 30 minutes?
In each session we will teach the basics of Centering Prayer, then spend 10 minutes in contemplative and companionable silence, with your sacred word as your guide (see below for more about choosing a sacred word). For the remainder of our time together, we will have a Q&A and sharing time, so that we can connect in fellowship and support each other along the way.
Your Sacred Word
A sacred word is a symbol that reminds you of your openness to God’s presence and action within you. You might want to think of it as your own personal meditation bell that calls you back to stillness and restful awareness, when you find yourself being distracted. Be sure to stick with the same one during the entirety of a prayer, but you may try out a different one next time. Some possibilities: God, Lord, Jesus, Jesu, Abba, Father, Yeshua, Amen, Love, Kyrie, Peace, Shalom, Grace, Patience, Yes…whatever short word speaks to you.
What if I get distracted during the practice?
There is no “if” about it… you will get distracted. Our brains are designed to keep our thoughts running at all times – and rather than being an obstacle to Centering Prayer, distractions are an important part of the practice! Each one is an opportunity to practice traveling that mental pathway from a sidetracking thought, back to stillness, via your sacred word. Each time you practice it, that pathway becomes a little more ingrained, and a habit gradually forms. You can therefore be grateful for distracting thoughts — when they arise, smile to acknowledge them, and then gently return to your sacred word.
The Four R’s of Centering Prayer
Resist no thought.
Retain no thought.
React to no thought.
Return ever so gently to the sacred word.