When I start talking about meditation, contemplation and Centering Prayer; I feel like the preschoolers in this poem.

I want these other words.

Words which capture the curve of a vase, or a sunflower petal or my belly.

Words which hit the target.

The startling pink dot in the blue frill of the forget-me-not. Baked, drenched and blown by the weather that lives in the alpine meadow.

Blue, which drapes itself over the sharp, stark, falling down and thrusted grey of the Rockies. 

Pip Squeaks in red and purple jackets. Smiles, bright eyes, hair brushed, but blown now.

Travelling, hand in hand, far from home, to the lake which turns last year’s snow into clouds, mountains and trees.

I’m four, I’m five.

I’m four, I’m five,

They shout!

Telling the old mountain and the older sun.

Calling out, to this ancient always and fragile passing fullness, to which they belong – children of the mountain, cousins to the forget-me-not.

The lineages of silence are long and I am but a preschooler, shouting in the mountains!

Cynthia Bourgeault describes the process of Centering Prayer,

as learning to withdraw attention from our thoughts – those incessant creations of our busy minds – in order to rest in a gentle open attentiveness to divine reality itself.  This gentle releasing of thoughts is known in Centering Prayer as “consenting to the presence and action of God.”

Easy to say, harder to do.  Valuing thinking, is mothers’ milk to those of us born into Western culture. Most everyone knows Descartes quote, “I think there for I am”. Humm, that about sums it up, ” I = my thoughts.

Centering Prayer invites us, for 20 minutes, twice a day (haven’t got there yet, just saying?!), to experiment with what happens when we let our thoughts go; when we dare to explore who we might be if we are not our thoughts.

So, if  the letting go of thoughts is the out-breath of Centering Prayer.   We could also say, that the complimentary action of Centering Prayer, the in-breath, so to speak, is about intention.

As Thomas Keating says, “Centering Prayer is not done with attention but with intention.”  The intention of Centering Prayer

is to be totally open to God, totally available all the way down to the innermost point of your being, deeper than your feelings, deeper than your thinking deeper than your memories and desires deeper than you unusual psychological sense of yourself.

The movements in this model of meditation are the continual letting go of thoughts; which is what you are doing 99.9% of the time when you practice Centering Prayer and, I think, all forms of meditation.  And returning to the intention to be open, without agenda, to all that is more than you and at the same time is the very matter of which you are made. 

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