The Art of Centering Prayer... get my Guide
Centering Prayer is a method of meditation used by Christians placing a strong emphasis on interior silence.
Research has shown that there are numerous psycho-physiological benefits to this type of prayer, including the fact that it may physically change the brain and body in a good way. The practice of stillness is a great way to engage the mind, energize the body and balance the emotions.


THE BASICS
Prayer is not a request for God's favors... Genuine prayer is based on recognizing the Origin of all that exists, and opening ourselves to it
Cynthia Bourgeault - (Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening)
CENTERING PRAYER DEFINED
It is a surrender method of meditation,
or contemplative prayer,
that reaches back to the early days of Christianity.

How to begin...
While engaging in prayer, the mind may benefit in the following ways: thinking more deeply, better introspection while offering a better blood flow to the brain, which may lead to an increase in grey matter. With all that going on a person may enjoy better focus, a longer attention span and improved memory.

There are also some amazing effects meditation has on the physical body: Meditation when practiced on a regular basis may offer both relaxation and energizing benefits at the same time, as well as improved immune function, pain relief and reduction of inflammation.

On the emotional side of things: there have been reports of an increase in positive emotions and the lowering of depression, anxiety and stress. An increase in emotional and social intelligence may also be a result of a time of stillness. When incorporating a daily time of prayer into a busy schedule, some have reported a higher level of compassion, emotional balance, a decrease in loneliness and a sense of calmness.


M. Basil Pennington (an American Roman Catholic Trappist monk and priest) suggests these steps for practicing Centring Prayer:

  1. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, relax, and quiet yourself. Be in love and faith to God. 
  2. Choose a sacred word that best supports your sincere intention to be in the Lord's presence and open to His divine action within you.
  3. Let that word be gently present as your symbol of your sincere intention to be in the Lord's presence and open to His divine action within you.
  4. Whenever you become aware of anything (thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, associations, etc.), simply return to your sacred word, your anchor.
In addition, Fr. Thomas Keating writes:
“The method consists in letting go of every kind of thought during prayer, even the most devout thoughts.”

In centering prayer, the participant seeks the presence of God directly.
The participant's aim is to be present to the Lord, to "consent to God's presence and action during the time of prayer".
Centering Prayer advocates link the practice of centering prayer to traditional forms of Christian meditation,
such as using a "sacred word" and  Lectio Divina.  

In practice, the "sacred word" is useful in the rhythmic breathing in and breathing out, but it is not the focus.
Centering Prayer is simply a time to quiet the mind and consent to the presence of God... it is a time to simply enjoy God's presence.

Lectio Divina a contemplative way of reading the Bible.
It dates back to the early centuries of the Christian Church and was established as a monastic practice by Benedict in the 6th century. 

Lectio Divina & Centering Prayer & Aromatic Oils

Enjoy even more benefits by including the sense of smell
 
Of the five senses, our sense of smell is the most primitive. This sense is the one that is most closely associated with our emotions and how our bodies respond to them. And amazingly, certain smells are known to activate the limbic region of the brain and to release emotions that are stored there. Together with a balanced diet, nutrition, adequate exercise and water, adding aromatherapy to a time of centering prayer can help a person achieve a healthier, more balanced lifestyle as it helps to gently access the deeper, unconscious levels of physical and mental processing, including the release of habitual tensions, as well as emotional blocks.
 
Aromatherapy + prayer is the natural way to quickly bring your body back into balance as it helps to stimulate the emotional center of the brain (which God designed for us, by the way). The more the gifts of centering prayer and aromatic oils are used in conjunction with each other, the quicker a person is able to remain calm and relaxed even in stressful situations. I suggest a time set aside every morning, where you may experience, what I like to call, a love letter from God. In this short video you will experience a few minutes of Lectio Divina followed by a time of centering prayer with your chosen mantra.




Simple Ways to use Essential Oils

A simple way to use essential oils during prayer and meditation is to apply a couple drops to the palms of your hands, rub them together, place your hands over your nose and mouth and breathe in deeply.

Frankincense (one of my favorites) is grounding and can be inhaled to calm the mind and bring a sense of focus and well-being. The composition of Frankincense oil is especially high in “monoterpenes” which are components that help to rewrite harmful information in the DNA of the cells like, signals inducing stress, fight or flight, cellular issues or cellular memories related to trauma, injury, etc.
 
This gives us insight into why Frankincense has been revered for centuries as a good choice during times of prayer and spiritual practice. That makes sense to me. Think about it. Prayer and communion with God can bring healing, helping a person to better cope with the lies and stressors of life.

 
So much of our health stems from emotional and spiritual roots. When we take the time to address the stress and chaos of the mind and spirit, there are always physical benefits to come. This is undoubtedly why Frankincense is infamous for its overall benefits to the immune system, as well as, to that of regulating cellular activity. If you have not yet tried incorporating Frankincense with prayer or a practice of stillness, this is an excellent way to dive into the emotional and spiritual uses of essential oils first-hand! 

People have known this secret for thousands of years. Historically, frankincense was used for: spiritual connection, immune support, cell regeneration, and was gifted to the baby Jesus. All the more reason to incorporate the aromatic oil of Frankincense into a daily practice of centering prayer.
 
Want to learn more?