Helping You To Live An Inspired Life
IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Announcements - Katrina
2. Article: Centering Prayer - Meditation
3. Inspiring Quote
4. Professional Services
5. Pass It Along
ANNOUNCEMENTS - Help Yourself & Help Katrina Victims
Feel doubly good about reaching out for help. You know you've been pondering lending yourself an extra hand in working towards your goals. You may have also asked, "What's the best way I can help with this bewildering disaster in Hurricane Katrina?" Well now, you can do both and feel good about helping the victims of the Hurricane Katrina natural disaster, as well as help yourself.
For the next 60 days I will donate 20% of all online service purchases to Luscious' Pantry. Luscious' whole life has been given to serving the poor. He runs The Lord's Pantry here in Indianapolis. My 6yo daughter, Sarah, says "Luscious is my grandpa!" He's a towering teddy bear of a man, always dressed in bibs and serving. His local vocation to serve the poor has always been more than he could really handle, but being the kind of man he is, he's begun a collection center now for Katrina victims. Your money will go directly for food and personal care items for those who are hungry, such as mothers who have no diapers for their infants or
If you'd rather donate a cash amount and don't feel you are currently in need of my services you can go to www.paypal.com and pay directly to my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. 100% of these donations will go to The Lord's Pantry for Katrina Victims. In the section for a "note" please write "Katrina Relief"
If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to call me at 317-865-1674.
CENTERING PRAYER - MEDITATION
Listening Prayer, often referred to as Centering or Contemplative Prayer was central to the church for the first 16 centuries. It has continued to be central in many monastic communities, but for our community at large its appeal is growing. What we commonly refer to as meditation today, is really quite close to Centering Prayer. So, if Christianity is not your thing, HOLD ON. I guarantee this technique will greatly improve your day-to-day energy, focus and overall life satisfaction.
By itself, Centering Prayer is a powerful prayer/self-care tool and is one of my personal favorites. One of the unexpected gifts that have evolved from this type of prayer is that it makes all the other prayers throughout my day much more clear, focused and effective. In short, when I begin my day with Centering Prayer, I seem to be able to access answers I need in my life much easier throughout my day. So initially I thought this type of prayer might appeal to some of you based on your personality or how you're built. However, upon further thought, I realized that no matter what your personality build is, Centering Prayer can assist you in accessing your favorite prayer style in a more powerful way. My invitation to you is that you try a 6-Pack (not beer!). That is, give Centering Prayer at least six tries before deciding that it's not for you. This prayer style, like many others, does require commitment in order to develop this discipline so that you receive the fullest benefits possible.
What is Centering Prayer? It's my understanding that Centering Prayer evolved from ancient prayer practices including The Desert Fathers, Lectio Divina, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, The Cloud of Unknowing and others. It's one tool which prepares us to receive the gift of a quiet mind, peacefulness... of God's presence. Centering Prayer teaches us how to "rest in God," by quieting all the mental, physical and external noises around us. In Centering Prayer we attempt to leave behind our thoughts, feelings, and all our five senses to cultivate a relationship with that which is beyond words or thoughts, emotions or physical sensations.
Centering Prayer is simple but it's not easy. The mind is a wonderful tool from God but all too often we become the tool that is used by our mind. You'll find that your mind will put up a decent battle when you begin utilizing Centering Prayer. It's to be expected. In fact, our natural response to attack or intrusions in life is to roll up our sleeves, put our dukes and fight. That's exactly what not to do with Centering Prayer. The best defense is no defense at all. It's true. When you encounter a racing mind or thoughts during your practice period, simply acknowledge them and gently return to Centering Prayer. You cannot mess this up. Put away your internal judge or if she/he is present, welcome him/her and move back to the practice.
What can you expect to get from Centering Prayer? The paradox is that for Centering Prayer to work best, it's best not to come with ANY expectations. So do try to flush out any expectations, either positive or negative. The gifts will present themselves, sometimes during your centering time, later in the day or you may simply feel more peace-filled throughout your day.
STEPS TO PREPARE FOR CENTERING PRAYER:
1. Become comfortable in a seated position. Put down anything you're currently holding. Uncross your legs and arms. Sit up as straight as possible and close your eyes.
2. First, notice your breath and follow it with your attention. Don't attempt to alter it, just notice it.
3. After several breaths, start at the top of your head and slowly move down your body with each breath, relaxing any part of your body that is tense. Take about a minute for this activity.
STEPS FOR CENTERING PRAYER:
1. Prepare to spend 20 minutes in Centering Prayer
2. Choose a word that is sacred to you. The sacred word expresses your desire to be still in heart or in the presence of God. Examples of sacred words may include: Lord, Jesus, Peace, Mercy, Faith, Love, Trust, Father, Shalom or any word that resonates with you. Once chosen, do not change your sacred word during the prayer, as this would activate your thinking mind again.
3. If a simple visual image is more suitable to you than a word, go ahead and choose a visual icon such as a picture of Jesus, your favorite vacation place or a special moment captured in your visual memory.
4. Sitting relaxed and with your eyes closed, silently introduce the sacred word or image.
5. As you become aware of thoughts, feelings or physical sensations simply acknowledge them and very gently return to the sacred word or visual.
6. End your prayer very gently, slowly allowing yourself to become fully present with whatever awareness is there for you.
7. Start your day! Or, if you have time, journal or draw about your experience, or take a slow and mindful walk to complete your experience.
"Pulling out the chair
Beneath your mind
And watching you fall upon God -
There is nothing else for Hafiz to do
That is any fun in this world!
~~ Hafiz, Muslim Mystic (1320-1389)
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PASS IT ALONG
You know at least one person who is hungry for this particular article. Take a moment and pass it along - "Pay it Forward"
Written by Dave Turo-Shields, CEC, LCSW, ACSW
President, CounselingPros.com, Kenosis Counseling, Inc.
(c) Copyright 2005 CounselingPros.com, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana USA 46217