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Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  543 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening is a complete guidebook for all who wish to know the practice of Centering Prayer.
ebook, 178 pages
Published June 25th 2004 by Cowley Publications
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Feb 12, 2012 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rod White
Sep 16, 2010 Rod White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prayer
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.
May 20, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 26, 2013 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 06, 2014 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
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
Jan 08, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of the best guides to surrender through meditation that I have ever come across. Within a few chapters I found myself addicted to centering prayer. However, the constant need to prove that this meditation is Christian, not Buddhist or Hindu was tiring. Yes, some Christians are terrified of experimenting outside of their faith, but a faith built on fear of loss is no faith of all.
Feb 18, 2013 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
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.
Feb 09, 2016 Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really good book. Ms. Bourgeault's intelligence is obvious. She expresses herself well. She follows up logically. Obviously, she has given a lot of thought, study, and practice to Centering Prayer.

I am convinced that Centering Prayer requires practice and not book-learning. At one point, Ms. B. refers to something like "doing it instead of talking about it". Nonetheless, her book is very valuable --- as is the Cloud of Unknowing and the book on Centering Prayer by M. Basil Pennington.
Glen Grunau
Feb 14, 2015 Glen Grunau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first read this book almost 4 years ago, I was just beginning to explore centering prayer as a contemplative practice. I still remember those early fears of descending into silence, facing the prospect of “wasting time” with no other agenda than to be silent. This was so far removed from my Christian upbringing that focused exclusively on cataphatic prayer (engaging our intellect, reason and emotions) – which covered virtually all aspects of my traditional worship experience that engaged ...more
Cynthia Bourgeault writes wonderfully of spiritual matters. This book, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, is no exception. I wanted to drop everything and follow the form of meditation described in this book.

The book outlines how Centering Prayer was developed, its location within the Catholic tradition, as well as how to follow the practice. It is honest about the potential drawbacks: not the more immediate benefits of other kinds of meditation; in fact, sometimes, apparently, things get muc
Apr 25, 2010 Jessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirit
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
May 10, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great introduction to Centering Prayer. Bourgeault explains the practice, placing it in its context of Christian prayer. In the Forward, Bourgeault says, "I hope [this book] will get you up and running in the practice [of Centering Prayer]," and it does just that. In the first chapter, she tells us, "It's very, very simple. You sit . . . and allow your heart to open toward that invisible but always present Origin of all that exists. Whenever a thought comes into your mind, you simply l ...more
Feb 25, 2012 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amos Smith
Sep 24, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a breakthrough classic on the high art of Centering Prayer... a book I return to again and again.

I am re-reading Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening now. And I love the distinction Bourgeault makes in the book between apophatic and kataphatic prayer. It is the main distinction I return to again and again when describing the essence of Centering Prayer.

I also love the articulation she makes about prayer time starting out as a place you go to or visit. Then in time it becomes a place
Jill Renison
Feb 03, 2015 Jill Renison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
This is a densely written book, quite challenging, and one which pays rereading several times. I'm finding it really helpful in helping me to move beyond where I have been in prayer. The author has a knack of explaining difficult concepts in simple terms but the density of the writing means that progress is slow; no matter, because slow reading of this subject matter is appropriate.

I found Chapter 10 From Healing to Holiness most helpful in appreciating that this deep inner work results in a new
Mary Helene
Jan 08, 2013 Mary Helene rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Feb 08, 2012 Elizabeth Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 10, 2013 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nhien Dougherty
Dec 19, 2014 Nhien Dougherty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very important book on the role and practice of self emptying as instrumental in transforming consciousness. Too rarely, it seems, is this kind of work found (or, at least, dealt with so clearly, powerfully, and in such a modern-relevant way) in the Christian tradition. I am inspired and empowered to deepen my practice of Centering Prayer as a means to find true spiritual freedom. I can also see myself facilitating book studies based on this book. A very worthwhile read!
Tim Torres
Apr 20, 2015 Tim Torres rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written by an Episcopal who learned from Catholics, this is an eminently practical and contemporary how to guide on centering or contemplative prayer. The material on what is described as welcoming prayer was new to me, at least in the way it is presented, and a great enhancement for people who've been engaged in a practice for some time and looking for that next plateau-breaking step.
Nov 16, 2015 Jtoops54 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear and concise teaching on the practice of Centering Prayer

I found this book to be most helpful in explaining the spiritual as well as the psychological transformation available for the practitioner of Centering Prayer. The chapter on Welcoming Prayer was an added bonus!
Contemplative Outreach Hawaii
In the Introduction Cynthia Bourgeault says "Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening is intended as a complete guidebook for all who wish to know the practice better. . . . I hope it will get you up and running in the practice itself; or, if you are already practicing, that it will widen your understanding of the prayer's theological and spiritual context and provide additional food for your own journey."

She has a way of presenting the information and sharing from her experience that is very acce
Jeff McVay
Jul 31, 2015 Jeff McVay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very succinct and yet wonderful personal. I appreciate that she connects centering prayer to Christian tradition and distinguishes it from transcendental meditation without diminishing either practice. Great read for anyone interested in beginning to practice centering prayer.
Elizabeth Andrew
Jul 07, 2015 Elizabeth Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
I just reread this excellent introduction to centering prayer. Give me another decade of practicing this contemplative practice and maybe I'll fully appreciate Cynthia Bourgeault's insights.
Paul Rack
Feb 25, 2016 Paul Rack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book; best I have read on meditation in a very long time. Connects different meditation philosophies, and psychologies. Very practical.
Joseph Gascho
Jan 30, 2016 Joseph Gascho rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read and reread; great author, wonderful job with the topic
Feb 08, 2015 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jul 13, 2015 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part was pretty good. After that she went into how Fr. Thomas Keating thinks it can be used in psychotherapy and she lost me for the rest of the book. I'm going ahead and giving it 3 stars due to the first part.
Jun 07, 2016 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first half of the book was okay, however later half got too much filler material and not as much concepts. It could have been better formatted for ease and instruction.
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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.” 10 likes
“RESIST no thought; RETAIN no thought; REACT to no thought; RETURN to the sacred word.” 9 likes
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