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Centering Prayer is the path to a wonderful and radical new way of seeing the world. Cynthia Bourgeault takes the reader on a journey through one of the practice sources, the Christian contemplative classic The Cloud of Unknowing, revealing it to be among the earliest Christian explorations of the phenomenology of consciousness.
Centering Prayer is the path to a wonderful and radical new way of seeing the world. It is not, as is sometimes thought, simply an act of devotional piety, nor is it simply a Christianized form of other meditation methods. Cynthia Bourgeault here cuts through the misconceptions to show that Centering Prayer is in fact a pioneering development within the Christian contemplative tradition. She provides a practical, complete course in the practice and then goes deeper to analyze what actually happens in Centering Prayer: the mind effectively switches to a new operating system that makes possible the perception of nonduality. With this understanding in place, she then takes us on a journey through one of the sources of the practice, the Christian contemplative classic The Cloud of Unknowing, revealing it to be among the earliest Christian explorations of the phenomenology of consciousness.
Cynthia Bourgeault’s illumination of the Centering Prayer path provides compelling evidence of how important the practice has become in the half-century since it first arose among American Trappist monks, and of its maturation and refinement over the ensuing years of sincere study and practice. It will resonate with beginners on the Centering Prayer path as well as with seasoned practitioners.
At the core of this collection are 30 poems inspired by the stories of kinship between saints and animals. They come mostly from the early Christian desert and Celtic traditions, but also feature later medieval saints like St. Francis of Assisi and St. Julian of Norwich. These stories point to a reverence for a different way of knowing and being in the world, one our world is hungry for. Each poem in this collection is meant to be a doorway to intimacy with our inner wilderness, a call to sit and be present to what we discover beyond the borders of our neatly controlled worlds.
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE is the online Abbess of Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery and global, ecumenical community integrating contemplative practice and creative expression. She is a Benedictine oblate living on the west coast of Ireland with her husband John. Together they lead pilgrimages and retreats in Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Austria. Christine is the author of twelve books on spirituality, monastic wisdom, creativity, and the arts including The Artist’s Rule and The Soul’s Slow Ripening. Her poems have been published in journals in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and the UK.