The Father of “Centering Prayer”

Discover How the Practice of Contemplation Connects You with Your Deepest Truth

Father John Keating, a Catholic Trappist Monk recently died and I was fortunate to read his obituary in The Economist (December 22, 2018, p.122.) I’d never heard of John Keating, but recently I’ve been watching him speak on YouTube (Links can be found below.), finding his gentle voice as a speaker and an author brings a solid and clear message to everyone, whether we’re Christian or not. His message lets us know we’re not alone in life, and we can have our own experience of connectedness in contemplation. Our personal practice of contemplation shows us how to engage in an active and receptive conversation with God he called “Centering Prayer.”

He taught, and continues to let us know through his books and videos that each of us can commune with God at will. All of us are born with this ability but can’t become aware of it until we focus inside ourselves and listens in quiet stillness practice.

What’s Available to Us

For most of my life, the speaking and listening to God was certainly not something I imagined I could do. To think of doing so sounded terrifying. I mean, what if God didn’t like what I said, or worse, didn’t like me? I know. that’s my mind’s stuff that makes me human, but think about it, haven’t you been in awe of and at the same time fearful of the power that moves the universe?

What would you say if that power granted you an audience? Not just once, but daily, at any time you were available to listen?

Keating says that God, the source of life is available every moment to absolutely all of us, intimidated or not.  I know this to be true because I’ve been fearless and fearful over the last five years, yet when I’ve allowed my mind to slip from driver to server in stillness practice, meditation, I’ve moved into contemplation, accepting of all that is in that moment, speaking and listening to the voice inside me; the one true voice. Keating says you can close your eyes and turn your attention inside in Centering Prayer and find yourself, your whole self in contemplation. He explains some of what you can experience in two videos through the links below.

Links to Father Keating’s Videos

“The Psychological Experience of Centering Prayer-Part I, by Thomas Keating” (9/15/2017). Click the following link and then the title. You’ll also find part II with this link.

In this next video, “The Method of Centering Prayer-Part I” Father Keating describes the steps to take in “Centering Prayer” also known as contemplation.

The Link to Part II follows:

Link to Father Keating’s Obituary

This next link is to The Economist and Father Keating’s obituary. (Wanting you to subscribe to the magazine, the website has several pop ups and limits the text to a third of the screen. Keep scrolling and you will get the whole article.)

Link to Video of Richard Rohr and Contemplation

This last link is to a video of a young Richard Rohr, Franciscan Monk and prolific writer of articles and books, mystic, and advocate for the practice of non-dualistic love and personal transformation as modeled by Jesus. Here he describes contemplation from a Christian Mystic’s view.

Jean C. Robbins

Recent Posts