Centring prayer seeks to create space for quiet contemplation as an means of evoking the ‘relaxation response’ instead of the ‘stress response’ that is so common in everyday life. Centring prayer often focuses on our breath and/or our body sensations as a pathway to stillness. Practised regularly, contemplation can help cultivate a stillness and peace within us that enables us to deal more constructively with the pressures of everyday life, and promotes our general health and wellbeing.
A possible framework:
- Settle yourself in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Allow yourself to relax in body, mind and spirit to become open to God. Focus on the breath entering and leaving your body and imagine it flowing to the tips of your toes and right through your body bringing relaxation and peace.
- When ready, turn your attention to your soul and the spark of God’s Spirit planted deep within you. Is there one aspect of the nature of God that you wish to feel particularly at this time (love? grace? joy? etc.)? Dwell gently on that quality.
- Whenever you find your mind wandering or your awareness distracted or your quietness disturbed by over-thinking, gently refocus on your breath, recall your special thought, and return to your quiet contemplation. Some days you will need to do this often, because there seems to be a lot of noise around or within you. Other days it may not be an issue at all. No matter. Simply keep returning to the stillness and the awareness of God’s nearness.
- At the end of the contemplation, return gently to the calls of the day. It may be helpful to finish with a brief expression of gratitude for the opportunity that has been afforded you.