The Practice of Welcoming Prayer

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. The purpose of the Welcoming Prayer is to deepen our relationship with God through consenting in the ordinary activities of our day. The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored — in the body. It contributes to the process of transformation in Christ initiated in Centering Prayer.

practiceofthewelcomingprayer

 

Contemplative Outreach Ltd Welcoming Prayer.

Practicing the Welcoming Prayer

Practicing the Welcoming Prayer

The Welcoming Prayer Movement One:

“Feel and sink into” what you are experiencing this moment in your body.

Movement Two:

“Welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.

Movement Three:

“I let go of my desire for security, affection, control and embrace this moment as it is.”

“The reason that Centering Prayer is not as effective as it could be is that when you emerge from it into the ordinary routines of daily life, your emotional programs start going off again. Upsetting emotions immediately start to drain the reservoir of interior silence that you had established during the prayer.

“On the other hand, if you work at dismantling the energy centers that cause the upsetting emotions, your efforts will extend the good effects of centering into every aspect of daily life.”

— Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart

The Welcoming Prayer is a practice of letting go in the present moment, in the ordinary routines of daily life. It is prayer because of our intention and consent to God’s presence and action in our lives, helping us to remember that the Indwelling Presence is always with us in our experiences.

The daily reminder to practice the Welcoming Prayer is our body. By learning to notice what’s happening in the body in the moment, we can use this new incarnational awareness as our reminder to practice the prayer. That’s why it is so important to practice the scanning exercise given in this Monday’s lesson. We’re developing a new muscle of consciousness, a new way of becoming aware of our next opportunity to consent to God’s presence and action in the ordinary activity of our lives.

 

The Three Movements of the Welcoming Prayer

The three movements of the prayer are:

Feel and Sink Into

Welcome

Let Go

  1. “Feel and Sink Into” what you are experiencing this moment in your body.

Feel what is happening in the body. Sink into — do not resist — the body sensation. Simply experience the energy.

Using your intuitive eye, move gently through the body, scanning for any discomfort, pain, uneasiness, itching, heat, cold, tension, tingling, or any other sensations. When you become aware of any body sensation, rest (stop) and sink into (experience) it. Be alert to any uneasiness in your body — a sensation of heat or cold, itchiness or tingling, tension, or pain.

All feelings, whether perceived as positive or negative, are welcomed. Feelings may intensify, dissolve, or change as we are present to them in the moment. Simply follow their movement.

The body, from the top of the head all the way down to the tip of the toes, is the warehouse of the unconscious. All of our experiences are carried in every cell of our body and imprinted there — the “issues are in the tissues.” The first movement of the prayer helps us to access the unconscious through the body, in the moment.

  1. “Welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.

 

“Welcome” is the sacred word, the symbol of our consent to the presence and action of the Indwelling Spirit, the Divine Therapist. “Welcome” is to embrace what we find happening within. Saying the word “welcome” interiorly is the action of embracing the Indwelling Spirit, whom we know by faith is always present, in and through our experience.

 

3. Next, we say the “Letting Go” phrase.

“I let go of my desire for security, affection, control and embrace this moment as it is.”

Attachment is an important concept to explore here. Attachment can be defined as something that fastens one thing to another (clinging) or an attempt to possess and control the perceived source of happiness. Attachments imprison us, like a fly stuck to fly paper. Attachment to the instinctual drives for happiness (security, affection, control) creates compensatory needs, like when we eat or drink when we feel in need of love and affection. We let go in order to open to the will of God in our life. We “let go” and “let God.”

“Letting go” means passing through the energy and not around it, not running away or pushing it back into the unconscious through denial or distraction. One does not identify with the feeling, emotion, body sensation, thought, or commentary, and act it out, but allows it to be transformed by the simple act of sticking with it and experiencing it.

Saying the “letting go” sentence helps to dismantle the emotional programs for happiness that can’t work, uprooting the dis-ease in the unconscious. As we “let go,” it is not necessary to identify which energy center was triggered, or focus on one or the other of them.

It is important to say the “letting go” sentence, even if one has experienced a release of the energy after the first two movements of “feel and sink into” and “welcoming.” There is no need to try to determine which of the three energy centers is the source of what we are experiencing – they are all inextricably connected.

Energy is a force for expression. It desires to express itself somehow. Releasing energy by “letting go” is a healthy and useful way to handle a feeling. Each release undoes a bit of the repressed energy. As time goes by, we become freer and have greater clarity of mind. Purpose and direction become more positive and constructive, resulting in more conscious choices, decisions, and actions.

“It is the most difficult thing for us to let go.

We have a mind that tells us that we’re always right;

everybody else is wrong, but we are right.

Then we have emotions and feelings

that sort of validate those thoughts.

And what we need to do is to let go of

whatever is happening on an interior level

and surrender so that we can see reality

and what is actually happening

instead of perceiving through our thoughts and feelings.”

  • Mary Mrozowski, creator of the Welcoming Prayer

From Contemplative Outreach Ltd

 

practiceofthewelcomingprayer

A Meditation on Kenosis

I found this meditation at the end of the book title Humility Matters by Mary Margaret Funk (2005).In this meditation, I discover the words I was searching for so long in my Christian tradition.

kenosis-meditation_hm kenosis-meditation-1 kenosis-meditation-2 kenosis-meditation-3

Humility of Christ

It is found in the second chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 King James Version (KJV)

 

Humility

I just finished  reading a book title Humility Matters by Mary Margaret Funk (2005) and I am trying to make a summary of my reading so it will help me to integrate its content.(p.180-185)

 

We Christians follow the way by imitating Christ who revealed to us how to live our human lives as we return to God.

Jesus of Nazareth stated, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (Jn 14:6-7)

In our tradition,

– We renounce all  that is not contributing to the construction of the reign of God here and now.

– We take on the spiritual journey, living our life from our depths and in tune with our motivations, desires and passions. “We renounce the thoughts that, when unchecked lead us down the slope toward our afflictions: the classic afflictive thoughts of food, sex, things, anger, dejection, acedia, vainglory and pride.”

– We renounce our self-made thoughts of God, therefore we can know God as God is.

– We renounce the thoughts of our self, accepting the change from self centeredness to sacrifice  on behalf others.

Suddenly develop what we call humility by replacing attachment to ignorance, illusion and greed. We begin to give importance to creation and celebrate life with our spiritual senses, awake and get involved in the Mystery. We begin to integrate our body, mind and soul into a single being. (Purity of Heart)

“To become humble is to embrace the human condition as it is and yet also to renounce attachments to any self-made illusions about that human condition.So comprehensive is this teaching that we may say that humility is for a Christian what enlightenment is for a Buddhist, realization for a Hindu, sincerity for a Confucian, righteousness for a Jew, surrender for a Muslim, and annihilation for a Sufi. Through the four renunciations, we come to purity of heart: the face of humility.”

Trinity Prayer

God for us, we call you “Father.”
God alongside us, we call you “Jesus.”
God within us, we call you “Holy Spirit.”
Together, you are the Eternal Mystery
That enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,
Even us and even me. 

Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness.
We can only see who you are in what is.
We ask for such perfect seeing—
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

Amen.

Trinity: Week 1

The Importance of Good Theology
Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

Contemplation as an act of letting go

Contemplation as an act of letting go and allowing ourselves to be sculpted into a masterpiece:

According to ancient theory of art, the practice of sculpting has less to do with fashioning a figure of one’s choosing than with being able to see in the stone the figure waiting to be liberated. The sculptor imposes nothing but only frees what is held captive in stone. The practice of contemplation is something like this. It does not work by means of addition or acquisition, but by release, chiseling away thought-shackled illusions of separation from God. . . . Contemplative practice proceeds by way of the engaged receptivity of release, of prying loose, of letting go of the need to have our life circumstances be a certain way in order for us to live or pray or be deeply happy. . . . With enough of this stone removed, the chiseling becomes a quiet excavation of the present moment. What emerges from the chiseled and richly veined poverty of the present moment? The emerging figure is our life as Christ (Phil. 1:21; Col. 3:3-4). [1]

[1] Martin Laird, A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation (Oxford University Press: 2011), 60-61.

From Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations September 2016

http://thecenterforactionandcontemplation.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/d/BFDE9805EC8905A1/01F5CC100F253DFD0F8C96E86323F7F9

Contemplation as Letting Go

Contemplation as Letting Go

Friday, September 2, 2016

It’s really hard to “sell” contemplation because it’s precisely like selling nothing. For Americans, contemplative prayer is counter-intuitive. Even worse, it is, at least for me, a daily practice of assured failure! If you are into success, you will give up quite early on. Contemplation is largely teaching you how to let go—how to let go of your attachment to your self-image, your expectations, your very ideas. Every such “set up” is a resentment waiting to happen. So maybe we are just redefining success as foundational happiness and contentment.

As you gradually learn to let go, you learn how to rest in what some call “the eternal now,” a kind of present satisfaction with the present as it is. You don’t need to manipulate or change the moment in order to be happy. What is starts being enough to make you happy, although to get there, you must be tested many times by your anger and fear about what is not. I must be honest with you here. Contemplation trains you how to let go of what you think is success, so you can find the ultimate success of simple happiness.

I’m going to say something that maybe will sound like heresy, but I’m offering you apearl of great price.” De facto “salvation” has little to do with belief systems, belonging to the right group, or correct ritual practice. It has everything to do with living right here, right now, and knowing a beautiful and fully accepting God is this very moment giving to you. All you can do is sit down at the banquet and eat. If you can enjoy heaven now, you are totally prepared and ready for heaven later.

Perhaps another metaphor will make this clearer. In A Sunlit Absence, Martin Laird, OSA—a brilliant teacher of contemplation at Villanova University—illustrates contemplation as an act of letting go and allowing ourselves to be sculpted into a masterpiece:

According to ancient theory of art, the practice of sculpting has less to do with fashioning a figure of one’s choosing than with being able to see in the stone the figure waiting to be liberated. The sculptor imposes nothing but only frees what is held captive in stone. The practice of contemplation is something like this. It does not work by means of addition or acquisition, but by release, chiseling away thought-shackled illusions of separation from God. . . . Contemplative practice proceeds by way of the engaged receptivity of release, of prying loose, of letting go of the need to have our life circumstances be a certain way in order for us to live or pray or be deeply happy. . . . With enough of this stone removed, the chiseling becomes a quiet excavation of the present moment. What emerges from the chiseled and richly veined poverty of the present moment? The emerging figure is our life as Christ (Phil. 1:21; Col. 3:3-4). [1]

Gateway to Silence:
Let be. Let love.

 

References:

[1] Martin Laird, A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation (Oxford University Press: 2011), 60-61.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Holding the Tension, an unpublished talk given in Houston, Texas (2007).

God is this very moment giving to you

…“salvation” has little to do with belief systems, belonging to the right group, or correct ritual practice. It has everything to do with living right here, right now, and knowing a beautiful and fully accepting God is this very moment giving to you. All you can do is sit down at the banquet and eat. If you can enjoy heaven now, you are totally prepared and ready for heaven later.

Richard Rhor . Daily Meditation Sep 2, 2016

Running A Race With Your Eyes On the Goal.

Fr. William Meninger Homily_August 13, 2016 and  a guided meditation from Cardinal John Newman (Prayer used by Mother Theresa)

Homily

 The readings this morning are complicated and diverse so I would like to focus on just one important line from the epistle to the Hebrews. It is very relevant to the interest right now on the Olympic games. The imagery is that of running a race with your eyes on the goal. The author says, “Run the race that lies before you by keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus”. This, of course, is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. to be a follower of Christ. We must keep our eyes fixed on him with the purpose and intensity of an athlete striving for victory. What we sometimes don’t realize however is that we already have the victory, Christ has won it for us, we have simply to reach out and claim it as our own.

 Somebody has said that “the error of the past is the wisdom of the future”. This means that our failures, the times when we have allowed our eyes to drift from the goal, from following Jesus, should be an impetus and actually an encouragement supporting us in returning to that goal which is Jesus.

 We do realize, all of us, that the most basic and fundamental teaching of Jesus is one of love. Not just love of God, but like unto it love of neighbor. This is why Jesus would say that whatever we do unto one of the least of his brethren we do  unto him. And why St. John tells us that we cannot love God whom we do not see unless we love our brother and sister whom we do see. Richard Rohr reminds us that love is our very structural and essential identity. To live in conscious connection with the loving inner presence of God is to find our true self. Plato says, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy is when a man or woman is afraid of the light.”

 I would like to do something now that is a little bit unusual for a homily. I would like to bring us into an experienced connection, another type of communion if you will, with the love of Jesus, of God and of one another. I would like to take you through a brief, guided meditation. This meditation is a prayer written by the English theologian , Cardinal, John Newman. It is a prayer that Mother Theresa tells us she recited every day of her life.

 So I would ask you to sit as comfortably as you can, perhaps close your eyes and just for a brief moment try to be aware of God’s presence within you and about you, as Jesus said, where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them and the kingdom of God is within you. (Brief pause). And now with great sincerity, listen with your hearts and offer this prayer keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus.

 

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.

Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,

That my life may only be a radiance of Yours.

 

Shine through me, and be so in me

That every soul I come in contact with

May feel Your presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!

 

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,

So to shine as to be a light to others;

The light, O Jesus will be all from You; none of it will be mine;

It will be you, shining on others through me.

 

Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me.

Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,

By the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,

The evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

 

Amen.

 

May you be happy,

May you be free,

May you be loving,

May you be loved.

 

Father William Meninger

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