I’ve decided to take another step in my journey into contemplative practice. Several months ago I purchased year one of the Contemplative Life Program from Contemplative Outreach.
I’ve experienced a lot of benefits from Centering Prayer in the past, both for drawing closer to God and managing the stress. I thought I’d share a couple practical benefits I’ve experienced since starting the 40 day immersion journey (part of the Contemplative Life Program).
First, there’s a time in the evening after Cullen gets up from his nap and before dinner, bath and bedtime when the boys are pretty crazy. I’m prepared for this, and try to be intentional about my response. Sometimes I’m more successfully than others. Yesterday I noticed a new level of control, patience, humor, and grace with the boys.
Second, this week we’ve had a perfect storm of events between getting ready for visits with extended family, preparing for pre-K graduation, jobs for both parents, and my wife’s VERY busy week with the National Lutheran Choir and Chorus America. There were several times when I was surprised by my level of composure, grace, and presence with everyone in times of stress.
When I say I was “surprised by my level…” I’m not taking credit, but rather noticing how the added time in prayer helped me carry that presence into my life and be a better dad and husband.
Many people who practice meditation report the same kinds of results, and there are certainly many similarities between meditation and centering prayer. There are also some important difference, but more on that in another post.