Every Tuesday, All Saints Church, Pasadena, offers an on-line Centering Prayer meeting from 7:00 to 8:00pm.
What is Centering Prayer?
Centering prayer is a form of contemplative prayer that is rooted in the Christian tradition and the wisdom saying of Jesus, “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to God in secret. And God, who sees in secret, will repay you” (Mtt 6:6). It is a discipline of intentional silence, where the individual in trusting faith, empties their self to become entirely receptive to God’s divine love. This is a prayer of surrendering life as lived on our terms to receive the indwelling love of God given to us. Each person chooses a word to help them keep focus and as a reminder of their intention to remain open to God’s love. A commitment to the practice of sitting in silence for a period of 20 minutes, twice a day, is best. You might start with 10 minutes and slowly build to 20 minutes. Just following the arc of your inhale and exhale while in a seated posture, with eyes closed or gazing downward, can be transformative. This practice can be done alone or in a group.
For more information about the on-line Zoom Centering Prayer meeting, contact:
Union with God is not something any of us needs to acquire. It only needs to be realized. By way of intentional silence and self-surrender into the practice of contemplation the illusion of separation from God is dispelled.
Martin Laird, OSD
Centering Prayer Online Meeting Meditation
We awaken in Christ’s body
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ. He enters
my foot, and is infinitely me.
I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(For God is indivisibly
whole, seamless in His Godhead).
I move my foot, and at once
he appears in a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? - Then
open you heart to Him.
And let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love him,
we wake up inside Christ’s body
where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him,
and He makes us utterly real,
And everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed
And recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light.
We awaken as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.
St. Symeon the New Theologian (949 - 1022)
One day the mountains will abandon ambition
and settle with simple stones in the pockets of children.
Even the Everests and Kilimanjaros of this world
will weary of explorers who defy
but do not love their slopes.
They will see how rock tumbling
downstream is worn smooth
to be cradled in small hands.
One day, every mountain
shall be brought low.
One day the valleys will abandon
shame and shoulder off the shadows
clinging to their banks.
Even the chasms
where no light shines
will catch hold of sun shafts overhead
like climbing ropes, and hand over hand
lift themselves out of the deep.
One day, every valley
shall be exalted.
One day the crooked roads
that swerve at every hindrance
will catch sight of the horizon
and abandon fear.
They will heave out boulders
and tunnel through the hills
to make a highway,
even and unbroken.
One day, the crooked ways
shall be made straight.
And one day may I be ready
for my heart to be laid low,
to leave off naming
which mountain should be cast down,
which valleys lifted up.
May rough roads in me be leveled
and covered in soft branches,
prepared for the Glory
whenever and however
humbly and quietly
—Mary Anne Berry, 2022
May 10, 2022
Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another,
with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or
do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to
live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences.
To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body
and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that ofter already exist,
with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with
an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. Whether we stay or whether we go - to be
courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.
April 5, 2022
Synian monk, Isaac of Niniveh
Many are avidlly seeking but they alone find who
remain in continual silence...Every man who
delights in a multitude of words
even through he says admirable things, is empty
within. If you love truth, be a lover of silence.
Silence like the sunlight will illuminate you in God
and deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance. Silence
will unite you to God himself...
More than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit
that tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent.
But then there is a born something that draws us to silence. May God give you an experience of this
"something" that is born of silence. If only you practice this, untold light will dawn on you in consequence
...after a while a certain sweetness is born in the heart of this exercise and the body
is drawn almost by force to remain in silence.
March 29, 2022
Over the vastness of space
We have observed
The power of gravitational forces
That also impact
The oceans on Earth
And some biological functions.
Over the minuscule distances
We have discovered
The existence of nuclear forces:
The weak force and the strong force.
There is a fourth force,
The electromagnetic force,
That holds all atoms together
And is also basic to most of
Our technological breakthroughs.
These four fundamental forces of Nature
Are active everywhere in the universe,
Not only in the present time, but also
Throughout the eons of the distant past.
There is however a fifth force
That can be of momentous importance
For humans, animals, and plants,
ALso powerful over distance and time.
It is frequently described
And commonly referred to as ---L-O-V-E.
by Juliana Christy, Astrophysicist
California Institute of Technology
March 21, 2022
I see You in the morning dew and in the noontime sun.
I see You in the evening glow and in the starry night.
It is You I have been awed by in rainbows and rainstorms.
It is You I peer into when dawn and sundown show me colors that defy my naming powers.
I glimpse You growing in flowers, trees, and all green things.
I meet You moving through seasons.
It is You who are making every being in the world translucent.
If in the snow I were to look for you, I would peek at Your countenance in the crystals, each one
new, the You of so many faces.
If in a mountain I were to look for You, I would already be gazing at the outline of Your
May I keep meeting You without meeting, only uniting.
May I find You without finding, only feeling myself being folded into Your Heart.
May I embrace You without grasping, only losing myself in Your arms that never stop holding me.
by David Richo in "Everything Ablaze"
March 1, 2022
"In Centering Prayer you merely practice and practice the
core kenotic motion; "let go, make space, unclench" -
thought by thought by thought"
In this moment, I can come home.
I come home to my body, my heart, my inner wisdom,
I come home to Life breathing me, beyond all
comprehension and understanding.
I come home to the infinite Love that connects, sustains,
I come home to Presence without seeking or judgement,
without hidden agendas or to do lists.
I come home to enoughness, slowness, gentleness.
I come home to what is
To what is in this moment.
To all of this
I come home.
by Joslyn Walker
January 18, 2022
New Year Prayer: Forgiveness
I name the New Year, Forgiveness,
For all the travesty heaped upon us during the Pandemic
may we choose love and not hate.
For the greed, cruelty and disregard
for the sacredness of the earth
may we choose love and not hate.
For all the neglect in caring for elders
orphans, refuges and prisoners
may we choose love and not hate.
For all our mistakes, putting self above other,
for lying, meanness or ill intent
may we choose love and not hate.
For acting habitually, forgetting to be
kind, tender, thankful, generous
inclusive of those different from ourselves
may we choose love and not hate.
In this New Year let us walk boldly
determined to live with integrity
purpose, harmony, goodness in our
speech, our families, friendships, jobs.
In this New Year a new world is born.
May we do our part to sustain, nurture,
protect, cherish and speak truth with love
for all that is not right in our old world.
May we go forth now in radiant joy,
healing in our wings,
hope in our singing
the fountain of our new lives.
by Joan Englander
August 31, 2021
There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open
to the place inside which is unbreakable
while learning to sing.
By Rashani Read
"So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than
any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that
something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you;
it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude
from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don't
know what work they are accomplishing within you?"
Rainer Maria Rilke
June 15, 2021
I Have Learned So Much
So much from God
That I can no longer
A Christian, a Hindu , a Muslim,
A Buddist, A Jew.
The Truth has shared so much of Itself
That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even pure
Befriend Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
Of every concept and image
My mind has ever known.
Poem by Hafiz
April 20, 2021
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
Then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
Go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
And make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself loose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
April 13, 2021
River Flow, by David Whyte
It doesn't interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequences of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have been told, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.
February 9, 2021
Thomas Merton, “New Seeds of Contemplation”
What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously. At any rate, the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of the game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our heart; or when like the Japanese poet Basho we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash - at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all value, the “newness,” the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity, and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds, and join in the general dance.
January 19, 2021
All I’m saying is simply this: that all mankind is tied together; all life is interrelated,
and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of identity. Whatever affects one directly,
affects all indirectly.
For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.
And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be
- this is the interrelated structure of reality.
-Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Even if I don't see it again - nor ever feel it
I know it is - and that if once it hailed me
it ever does-
And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting
as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where it isn't-
I was blinded like that - and swam
in what shone at me
only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I'd die
from being loved like that.
by Marie Howe
December 15, 2020
The Body is Like Mary
The body is like Mary, and each of us has a Jesus inside.
Who is not in labor, holy labor? Every creature is.
See the value of true art, when the earth or a soul is in
the mood to create beauty;
for the witness might then for a moment know, beyond
any doubt, God is really there within,
so innocently drawing life from us with Her umbilical
universe – infinite existence …
though also needing to be born. Yes, God also needs
to be born!
Birth from a hand’s loving touch. Birth from a song,
from a dance, breathing life into this world.
The body is like Mary, and each of us, each of us has
a Christ within.
– Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
A Prayer for the Evening
In the quiet of this place,
in the dark of the night,
we wait and watch.
In the stillness of the soul
and from its fathomless depths
the senses of our hearts are awake to you.
For fresh soundings of life
for new showings of light,
we search in the silence of your Spirit O God.
from: The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer
December 1, 2020
by Sam Perkins
Dear Deepening Ocean and
Secret Silence, our Original Womb
Who bears all sound into being;
Patient Parent, Whose Presence
and appetite for infancy
keep You ever-younger than we --
We who fear and fret and forget
the ever-present Flow of Love,
One that lifts and languishes and liberates,
of difference and distance
which deserve our deference --
We thank You for this gift of life,
of pain and pleasure,
of feelings, flaws, and failures
that furrow the fallow
holy ground of our being,
making sacred spaces
for seeds to rest
and take root.
Give us grace
soil for our
Help us notice and nurture
the nutrients we need
to let go or transform
whatever we don't.
Free us from filters that limit
Self-knowledge and Evolution.
Enrich us with
Bless us with breakdowns
that make us true
to the Self
in the race
may our wounds
make us open
as we break
September 22, 2020
We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals
that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to,
worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves
we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight
or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crown of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
August 25, 2020
by Lynn Ungar
What if you thought of it
as the Jew considers the Sabbath-
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love-
for better or worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
The Lord’s Prayer - Aramaic Version
Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes,
who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
May Your light be experienced in my inmost being.
The fullness of your realm approaches:
Let Your will come true ~ on the earth below
just as in the universe above.
Give us the wisdom we need each day.
Detach the fetters of faults that bind us,
and help us let go of the guilt of others.
Let us not be lost in superficial things,
but let us be freed from that
which keeps us from our true purpose.
From You comes the all-working will,
the enlivening strength to act,
the song that beautifies all and
renews itself from age to age.
In trust, faith, and truth
I give you my entire being.