In the experience of silence, especially if it is deep, you may experience at times a certain pure awareness. Even if it is brief, you are in contact with That Which Is, and this Reality is obviously in love with you.

 Thomas Keating
God is Love: The Heart of All Creation

 

Thoughts about Thoughts
by Eben Carsey
Boulder, Colorado, USA

 … My capacity for ever-so-gently responding to thoughts is influenced by my attitude toward them and ways in which I understand them. … 

To bless them does not necessarily mean to approve them, and it does not require engaging with them, examining them, nor controlling them.  Blessing them involves a gentle attentiveness to them, recognizes God’s presence in them, and releasing attachment to them, letting them go to be in God. Read more >>

image: Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889

You can read the complete bulletin at  https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/jan-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74

December e-bulletin

Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.
– Luke 1:45

“The dialogue between our contemplative vision and how we incarnate it is the subject of the beatitude, ‘Blest are the single-hearted for they shall see God.’ The single-hearted see God in themselves, in others and in the ordinary events of life. … Contemplative prayer is the place of encounter between the creative vision of transformation and the actual incarnation of that vision day by day. Practice is the translation of the creative vision into the concrete circumstances of each day. … It must be emphasized over and over that daily life is the fundamental practice.”

 Thomas Keating
The Mystery of Christ

Blessed are you who believe in a vision of what is not yet … a creative vision of the future.  And blessed are you who commit to the radical path of the contemplative life, where Thomas Keating says God can and will do anything.  And blessed are you who believe it, and say YES day after day to the radical kenosis of silence and stillness, and the radical revelation of wholeness and unity here and now. And blessed are we to receive the transforming transmission that radiates from you.

A blessed Christmas-Epiphany season to each of you sacred Incarnations.
Amen
.

 

 

 

This two-day summit features ten Centering Prayer leader-teachers on a variety of topics related to contemplative life and prayer.  Four Centering Prayer practice sessions in community will be shared over the two days.

 

The keynote address by Cynthia Bourgeault & Ted Jones is on The Evolving Consciousness of Thomas Keating. 

For more information and to register, please go here.

For the complete bulletin  go here        https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/dec-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74
 

 

Katsushika Hokusai, The waterfall of Amida behind the Kiso Road, 1827

“Effortless total receptivity is the best way to be open to God’s guidance. It is like being a container for God. So, for a container to be filled, what is the best response? Emptiness. Openness. It is very simple, but very hard to do. All you have to do is nothing. Try it! But it does not mean you actually do nothing. It means that you are empty of all will proposals but open to God’s actions, so that you do what God wants to do. Emptiness is not total nothingness, but emptiness with an openness to becoming more – by God’s will. “

Thomas Keating
“Christian Non-Duality and Unity Consciousness,”
That We May One: Christian Non-Duality

 

 

 

Q: I’m a practitioner of Centering Prayer for about 15 years. I started after reading Cynthia Bourgeault’s and Thomas Keatings introductions to Centering Prayer. Their later works have me a bit confused because they describe what sounds like a loss of identification between us and God once we let go of our false self. The descriptions sound very similar to non-dualistic monism or modalism, and I’d like confirmation that this is what they are teaching or a clarification that they are not. I do not judge either way, but I just want to avoid any misinterpretations about their teachings. 

 

A: Read Cynthia’s response.

 

 

 

You can view the complete e-bulletin here   https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/nov-e-bulletin-1593363?e=9aa0837e74

October e-bulletin

“God has made all kinds of creatures. A flower turns its face to the sun, and if it could speak, would say, ‘Here I am.’ Just being a flower is the glory that it gives God. But a human being is made differently … What distinguishes us from the rest of material creation is freedom. It is when, with our capacity for acting freely, we turn to God and say, ‘Here I am,’ that we begin to glorify our Creator.

“At the same time, it is not enough to have transcendent experiences. We have to translate those experiences into daily life and into our humdrum routine. We have to bring all our faculties into harmony with higher states of consciousness and express that knowledge in human terms, in the dusts of this world.”

– Thomas Keating,
The Heart of the World: An Introduction to Christian Contemplation

 

 

I will set a table
For my soul
Among the trees
 
Quiet, I will wait
Beneath a canopy of leaves
 
Let stillness be the table
Let silence be the cloth
Let sunlight be the service, gleaming
My seat a bed of moss
 
I will set a table
For my soul
Out in the wild
 
Calling her to come
And play, as if she were a child
 
Let soft winds be the music
Let flowers be the dance
Let butterflies be our hearts, weaving
Patterns out of chance
 
I will set a table
For my soul
In forest glade
 
Inviting her to rest
And feast, on Bread no hands have made
 
Let wonder be the blessing
Let laughter be the prayer
Let forgiveness be our cup, healing
And let Love be the fare
 
I will set a table
For my soul
Where woods are deep

And wide enough for two
Or more, so you can sit by me

 

 

 

 

– Nichole Q. Perreault, Connecticut, USA
a poem birthed out of her daily Centering Prayer group
 

image: Irene Hoff, Inner Knowing

 

You can view the complete e-bulletin at    https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/oct-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74

 

Centering Prayer Introductory Programme

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Do you seek the still, quiet voice of God?

This Introductory Programme will help us to understand the Indwelling Presence of God within each of us and our intimate relationship with that Presence. The Method of Centering Prayer will be presented. We will explore the benefits of Centering Prayer in ordinary life and experience practicing Centering Prayer.

The programme will be presented on

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Time: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The programme presenter is Fionnuala Quinn O.P. who is an experienced practitioner of Centering Prayer for thirty years, and who is commissioned to present the Introduction by Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. The Zoom platform will be used. Please register in advance for the Introduction with Sr. Fionnuala at fmquinn48@gmail.com.

Once you register the Zoom link will be forwarded to you.

Thank you.

August E-bulletin

image courtesy of Edward Babcock

 

 

“If we experience emotional suffering, there is probably something we haven’t quite surrendered yet. If we truly surrender everything we possess, we will know the right thing to do spontaneously, and action inspired by the Spirit is where Centering Prayer is preparing us to go.”

 —Thomas Keating,  June 2021 newsletter

 

 

Contemplative Outreach is thriving in 2021! 
And here are two “new releases” to help to tell this story:   

  • First, Mary Jane Yates, our Administrator, is pleased to present her Highlights & Intentions Report for 2020-21: You can download the report here.
  • Second, Brian Aldsworth and a small group of volunteers are pleased to share with you a report on the Community Conversations project that took place between May and July of this year. You can download the report here

Both these documents reflect the amazing ways in which our organism is evolving and living into the mission and vision left to us by our dear Fr. Thomas.  As we look forward to further celebrating our emerging story during our Global Conference on September 16-18, I invite you to spend time with these stories and come prepared to share your own reflections and inspirations on how CO can continue to build a new world with the beautiful one that already exists.

You can read the complete bulletin at     https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/aug_ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74

July e-bulletin

Our ultimate goal is to integrate the active and contemplative dimensions of reality within us and around us, which some mystics call ever-present awareness, enlightenment, or waking up.  To handle the details of living a human life without being distracted from this primary vision is not attained through thinking, but through what might be called the practice of just being. To take time just to be, which is to do nothing but be in God’s presence for a regular period of time every day seems to be the shortest access to the mystery that is beyond any conceptual consideration.”

 Thomas Keating,

Q&A

    Monkey Mind on Steroids

 

 Q: I have been doing Centering Prayer for about 7 years, and I have changed in positive ways … so I know it’s “working” in some     way. However I have never gotten to the place where I’m really “centered.” My monkey mind is virtually always on steroids. I have  never been diagnosed, but I’m pretty sure I would qualify as having ADHD. Are there any tricks or methods beyond using the sacred word, over and over, that are found to be helpful for one with ADHD?

 A: Read Joy’s response here.

 

 

 

  Tears During Centering Prayer

 Q: I have been practicing Centering Prayer off and on for several years, last year almost everyday.  I have recently been experiencing tears/crying for no apparent reason.  Please advise.

 A: Read Lindsay’s response here

 

You can read the complete bulletin at    https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/july_ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74

June e-bulletin

“Over the next two weeks, Thomas spent most of the time either asleep or apparently engaged in another world, from which he would occasionally emerge with edifying pronouncements. For instance, I was present to hear him say, ‘I am what I am, and I’m finding out what that is.’ Another time the words were unspoken; as I was leaving his room one evening, I heard his voice and turned to see him still sleeping. But in my head I clearly heard him say, ‘Without death, there can be no life.’ ”

 —Ted Jones, writing about his experience in keeping vigil during Thomas Keating’s dying process, June 2021 newsletter

 

 

Q&A 
 


 

Background Noise

 

Q: When doing my Centering Prayer and after settling in to “find my sweet spot” I find that despite the quiet of prayer, there always seems to be noise in the background , like someone has a radio or TV on. It sounds like static background noise. Can you help explain what this is?

A: Read Fr. Carl’s response here

+++

Have questions? Submit your questions about your Centering Prayer practice or other contemplative practices, the spiritual journey and the contemplative life to any of our contributors by emailing pamela@coutreach.org.

 

 

The 2021 June newsletter is now available here, including articles from Ted Jones (Fr. Thomas’ nephew), an unpublished conversation with Thomas

Keating, heart-full witnesses from servant leaders and voices of the community from around the world.You may find an archive of previous newsletters here.

NB     Please note that this is the Newsletter :

 

 

You can read the complete e-bulletin at  https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/june2021_ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74

 

 

                                                                                   

Lectio Divina Online Workshop with Lesley O’Connor and Nancy Stimac

Lectio Divina Online Workshop

Saturday, August 14, 2021
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM EDT

Follow up sessions (Optional)
Following the Aug 14 workshop we will meet online once a month to deepen our Lectio Divina practice:
September 11@10:00 AM to 11:15 AM EDT
October 9@10:00 AM to 11:15 AM EDT
November 13@10:00 AM to 11:15 AM EDT
Use this to determine your correct local start time.timezone converter

Presented by: The Contemplative Outreach Lectio Divina Service Team
 
This online workshop offered on the Zoom platform provides an opportunity to “listen with the ear of your heart” to explore and deepen your practice of monastic Lectio Divina as a way of praying the scriptures. The traditional four moments of the prayer (reading, reflecting, responding and rest) are explored as expressions of the four senses of scripture: the literal, allegorical, behavioral/moral, and unitive senses. The fruits and gifts of Becoming a Word of God will be discussed and celebrated. Small group faith sharing will be included.

The Workshop Presenters
 
Lesley O’Connor lives in Ireland. A commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina she leads workshops and retreats. Prior to joining the Lectio Divina Service Team she served as a member of the advisory circle of Contemplative Outreach Dublin and as lead on the Contemplative Outreach global team for English speaking practitioners of Centering Prayer outside the U.S.
 
Nancy Stimac, a longtime contemplative prayer practitioner, is a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina for Contemplative Outreach. She is a graduate of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s 4-year Catholic Bible School and 2-year Lay Ministry program. She uses her gifts to serve the Catholic community of Windsor Locks, CT as a prayer group facilitator, Bible study leader, RCIA teacher, and lector.
 We hope you will be able to join us on August 14th.
The program is free, however, registration is needed for planning purposes. 
SIGN-UP

Please consider making a donation to Contemplative Outreach
DONATE

 
 

May e-bulletin

“In oneness, there is not more or less; there is only oneness. … One-ing … is always happening. God is not an object or noun as we understand those terms. God just is, is, is. One-ing is to be, to live, and to act. … That God’s will may ‘be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10) is Jesus’ personal prayer for the full development of human consciousness. Hence, he has taught us to ask and prepare for the actualization of this grace and for the awakening of contemplation, which is the normal means to experience it.”
 —Thomas Keating, 
Reflections on the Unknowable

The Unitive Way: Seeing Creation from God’s Perspective

by George R. Gerardi

… I have learned that true knowledge seems to come to me through a combination of learning in the classical sense, personal experience, in addition to a practice of prayer that opens me up to hear the knowledge that is imparted at ever deepening levels. Recently, while continuing a daily practice of Centering Prayer, I have been simultaneously drawn to the very concrete problem of climate change. In late fall of 2021, Hurricane Sandy, which killed 233 people across eight counties, hit us hard with devastating results in Long Beach, New York. …  Read more>

 

Read the complete bulletin at    https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/may2021_ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74