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
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
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 Spiri, 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.