For the last 13 years on Kaua‘i, small groups of folks, as part of a larger world wide community called Contemplative Outreach, have practiced a method of meditation called “centering prayer.” It is a form of prayer that goes beyond words and stems from the ancient monastic traditions.
Now, in the time of COVID, almost all of these groups have expanded to a worldwide Zoom presence. Gathering in this way feels so necessary right now, and performs a stabilizing function connecting us in a wider community in spite of quarantines and isolation.
All that is needed for this prayer is a willingness to show up and consent to open your heart to the divine. As Bill W. writes in the “Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous,” “… for deep down in every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God.” Any desire for divine mystery and the God of your understanding suffices. We simply sit and listen to God’s first language, silence, and let God do the healing. As the late Fr. Thomas Keating, who brought this ancient practice back to life, said: “When you sit down in silence, you allow God to introduce himself as he is and not as other people have defined him.”
Those who have been practicing this prayer for a while will tell you that it is a discipline, and that you don’t necessarily feel changes or differences while you are sitting, but gradually you will experience the gifts of this prayer in daily life and be able to be in it in a more-centered, patient and loving way. All you have to do is stick with it and say “yes” and show up and let the divine do the changing and caring that we need, especially now.
For more information on centering prayer, 12-step-friendly centering prayer groups and finding a Zoom group, go to contemplativeoutreach.org or cp12stepoutreach.org
For Kaua‘i- based groups, contact Liedeke at email@example.com
Liedeke Bulder is the Kaua‘i contact person for Contemplative Outreach of Hawai‘i.