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Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
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Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  281 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening is a complete guidebook for all who wish to know the practice of Centering Prayer.
ebook, 193 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Cowley Publications
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Rod White
I love how succinct and personal Cynthia Bourgeault writes as she opens up what can often be an arcane and overly-mysterious topic. I appreciate how she stays firmly in Christ. I appreciate the good summary of the historical background and basic elements of a crucial practice for everyone desiring to know the love of God that is beyond understanding.
I feel like reading this book opened a door and I am standing on the threshold of an amazing opportunity for transformation. Bourgeault's explanations of cataphatic prayer and apophatic prayer allowed me to see and understand what was not working in my meditative experiences. I have started making Centering Prayer part of my daily life practice, and can already see subtle shifts occuring. Bourgeault's clearly written descriptions for the methods of Centering Prayer and Welcoming Prayer provide w...more
This book was very helpful to read after finishing Thomas Keating's "Open Mind, Open Heart". It expands on the basic method of centering prayer, which is covered in Keating's book, and also delves into the theology and psychology of this type of meditation. I would highly recommend this to anyone starting a centering prayer practice, especially if you are beginning to experience the psychological effects it engenders. The information on that is very helpful in navigating those waters and definit...more
This is the second time I've read Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, and I got much more out of it this reading, perhaps because my own C.P. practice is far more consistent. For those who worry that Centering Prayer is some dangerous fringe practice gleaned from completely non-Christian sources, consider this:

"When I talk about ttransformation' and 'awakening,' incidentally, I should make clear that I am not using New Age terminology. I am speaking of 'You must be born from above' (John 3:7...more
Sheryl Valentine
I have been practicing 'centering prayer' daily since about june of last year. I have mainly read the books by Father Thomas Keating, but I really enjoyed this one as well. I learned some new things about this type of prayer and meditation in the christian tradition. And written from a feminine perspective was enlightening as well

I didn't really do justice to this book as I had not totally finished it when I reviewed it. Again, it is an excellent book on centering prayer in meditation. HIGHLY re...more
I loved this book! Rarely do I find a book which has such a profound impact on me and my approach on daily life. I have added Centering Prayer to my daily routine, and it has improved my stress management beyond my expectations. I find myself more balanced and with more energy after approximately 90 days of practice. A wonderful practice to add to your morning routine. Cynthia's approach is very straightforward and her encouragement is apparent on every page. I like the way she divided the book...more
Why did it take me so long to find this book? Bourgeault's primer of Centering Prayer is thorough, readable and quite practical. I find it has changed my prayer, and I have been practicing Centering Prayer for many years--her insights and clear expositions cleared up questions I had been pondering for a long time, and revealed new aspects of my practice to me.
Another thing to add about 'teaching' or 'using' this book: Bourgeault distinguishes between the cataphatic self (the ego, the personality, the uniqueness in us) and the apophatic self (the Something Deeper in us), and stresses the importance of bringing these selves into harmony; it occurred to me that this could be helpful in the artist's life. What is individual and unique about our art -- its aesthetic -- seems often to come out of the cataphatic self, and maybe it is the artist's true task...more
I read this book to acquaint myself further with the concept of centering prayer. Thanks to this book I think I finally understand the depth of that undertaking. I decided to wait on trying it until I am at a different place in my life. There are a few "new agey" and "psychological" terms used in this book which may turn off more orthodox readers. However I think this is an avenue of prayer which is useful to Christian seekers who aren't hampered by orthodoxy and who are ready to divulge into a...more
This came highly recommended and I am glad I read it. The epilogue with its summary of the main ideas is a brilliant concept that pulls the book back together. If there is one key idea I take away, it's "letting go rather than trying to bring clarity and focus to the mind, illustrating the needed balance between right and left brain activity and dependence. That said, I found parts of the book too vague or indecipherable to make sense of, primarily the "inner observer." The book assumes facility...more
Mary Helene
Jan 08, 2013 Mary Helene rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary Helene by: Debby Churchman, Paul Fiorini
I've been practicing, of sorts, for years and I have attended several workshops, one by Thomas Keating himself. Nonetheless, some how it all fell together in these pages. The back cover of my copy has critical pages noted: pg 122,156, 170-171. I note that President Obama's speech at the Newton school massacre interfaith service was parallel to p.123, where Cynthia Bourgeault talks of how the magnetic center will bring us home, true. President Obama said it is the love of our children which will...more
Elizabeth Amber
I will be pulling extensively from this book with regards to centering prayer. She has a fresh and vitally needed feminine perspective not just on prayer but on why its important and how we move through it. She has a really wonderful no nonsense style that is both gentle and patient. I find myself relaxing under her methodical approach to spirituality, the practice of surrender and finding God at the center of my life. If you are interested in the practice of centering prayer and meditation then...more
The first time I read this book, I couldn't stand it. It felt way to intellectual and opaque. I had no idea what Bourgeault was even talking about. Luckily this was on my class syllabus this fall and I had no choice but to tackle it again. This time it found fertile ground. The practice of Centering Prayer is just what I needed and the fruits have been unfolding for some weeks now. Proof that sometimes your experience of a book is its appearance in the geography of your life.
For those interested in the contemplative experience, and in my opinion in strengthening the spirit rather than the intellect, this book explains what contemplative prayer is and how to enhance our experience and oneness with God. It is best to read Open Mind Open Heart by Thomas Keaton first since she is explains and clarifies in her book, in more common language, what Keaton writes regarding the contemplative experience, benefit and purpose of this kind of prayer.
Heather Harding
Centering prayer has become one of my most important spiritual disciplines. In this book, she draws from Thomas Keating for concepts like "purifying the unconscious" and describes the practice more as one of nurturing the heart than the mind. She says, "The promise contemplative prayer makes is that if you show up, something will happen." I recommend this to anyone who wants a deeper life of prayer and a way to be more engaged with the Spirit.
Wonderfully written, slim book on centering prayer, which is a unique kind of meditation grounded in Christian beliefs about the self and the ego. It aims to wean you off your reactive, egoic self by stilling it and opening yourself to the divine-- well, she describes it a lot better. A very succinctly but effectively written book- love her writing style- and one that I'll be rereading often.
Sharman Wilson
This is the first book I've read on this subject. I found it fascinating. I don't think it is meant to be a real "how to" book, but it is a good introduction to a spiritual practice that I would love to learn. I would probably need to spend time at one of the retreats she mentioned, to get some mentoring. It sounds absolutely lovely and totally worthwhile.
Highly recommend this book to those who want to find more presence beyond thier own ego when meditating. Centering prayer as written by Cynthia Bourgeault in such a simple way helps you to expand your felt sense of yourself to include the presense or God if you are so inclined. It is a marvel and has changed my practice dramatically.
Fascinating look into one Christian methodology of meditation. The first time I tried this method my mind felt all weird.

This method is supposed to help one gain more control of themselves, make a person happier in general, bring one closer to God, etc. It can even make you crazy if you don't practice it correctly.
Bourgeault opens by saying that meditation is the simplest thing in the world, little children just sit quietly, open to the wonder of the universe. She also observes that humanity might to well to observe "heartfulness" as a parallel to the Buddhist's "mindfulness." This one insight has been invaluable.
Kate Layzer
Part I, The Method of Centering Prayer, was quite helpful. The reminder of the book goes into the tradition, psychology, and theory (for want of a better term) associated with centering prayer, and was less interesting to me. A helpful resource for beginners, but not necessarily my first choice.
Fr. Tom Francis recommended this book when I was on a retreat at The Monastery Of The Holy Spirit.

He was absolutely right on - a wonderful book that clearly and gently leads the reader into a very effective meditation and prayer technique.

Highly recommended.
Nancy (NE)
Excellent book on the contemplative path. Clear explanations and a meaningful language, especially for a beginner. She goes into the Christian theological basis as well as comparing different philosophies of the practice.
Oct 21, 2008 Melanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in meditation/looking for peace, quiet, inner growth, and communion with God
Excellently written, encouraging guide and companion for centering prayer practitioners; great explanation of the prayer for those unfamiliar with it.
A sickeningly New Age matronising take on the path of holiness. A notably worthwhile contribution from a notably unpleasant and dangerous author.
Circle of Hope Pastors
A lucidly written book about how to practice centering prayer from a well-known teacher on the sunbject.
Faye Snyder
central instruction for centering prayer, which has become a vital practice in my life. Well-written.
Glad to be reading this book again with dear friends who are new to this. Splendid introduction.
Peggy Lo
This is a good in-depth look at the practice and how to take it beyond the basics.
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“Beginning in infancy (or even before) each of us, in response to perceived threats to our well-being, develops a false self: a set of protective behaviors driven at root by a sense of need and lack. The essence of the false self is driven, addictive energy, consisting of tremendous emotional investment in compensatory "emotional programs for happiness," as Keating calls them.” 6 likes
“RESIST no thought; RETAIN no thought; REACT to no thought; RETURN to the sacred word.” 5 likes
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