I spent a few hours with a group of ladies (and one guy) last Tuesday evening and offered some information and my personal experience on Centering Prayer. I had met with them about three years ago and we talked about spirituality in general...they wanted to hear about my journey and current practices etc. It was a good evening. It was a good evening because in anticipation of this meeting I reviewed the first few chapters of Open Mind Open Heart by Thomas Keating and it was refreshing to say the least. They are new to this prayer form and it was interesting to note my reactions to this event.
For starters...I became a little uncomfortable during the glowing introduction by the hostess...she had me a couple of notes below John of the Cross! If only they knew! So I could feel their projection of "holiness" on me...and I could immediately understand the temptation that a religious person could fall to with all this projection...then having to live up to it...I thought of all the televangelists leaders that have fallen...not being able to maintain the projection as it was never really reality to begin with, but rather a "shoring up" up of the false self...the most dangerous kind of shoring up - religious.
So I began by offering a little perspective that brought all this down to earth, about how many periods of prayer are a constant flow of thoughts for me...and some periods are rather peaceful...and that any peace is total gift...not brought on by any effort or technique on my part. Also that I miss days of prayer, usually because I am up late or hit the snooze. I think this balanced things out a bit...I still was the "expert" in the room, but dealt with the glowing projections of holiness...we all squat to shit!...of course left out that part of it...:-)
Anyway...the gathering was interesting also as a matter of perspective, because they were clearly neophytes eager for some teaching on this...eager to enter into this area of discipline...eager for knowledge of the