a missing puzzle piece

For about 25 years now, I’ve been questioning my notion of what “prayer” is. (Well, it is not really just my notion, because it was given to me, or I kind of inherited it from the spiritual community/communities that I have been apart of…so it is our collective notion about what praying is suppose to be like.)  I’ve been in a long relationship with this spiritual practice. And like most relationships, there have been great moments and disappointments. Times when I couldn’t live without it and times when I didn’t think it even existed.

I think, for most of us, the first stage in this relationship is to simply copy others….when that seems to run dry, you take the advise of most pastors and try to do it more earnestly, more consistently, more faithfully….then there could be the authoritative, demanding stage….then there is the inevitable charismatic stage…of course, there’s got to be a doubting stage or two in there where you really don’t think it works at all…then there’s the organized stage where you keep elaborate lists….then, after that….that’s when I began this stage that I’ve been in for a quite a while. To be honest, there have been several parts to this stage….but basically, it has been a long period of rethinking, reimagining, redreaming, and recreating what this thing is we call “prayer”. I’ve actually have learned a thing or two in the process.

About 10 days ago, I found something like a missing puzzle piece to what has become somewhat of an epic search for me and my concept of communion with the divine. I heard Cynthia Bourgeault speak on what she calls “centering prayer”…a form of contemplative or silent prayer. I have read and heard about contemplative prayer and have even done it from time to time, but it has just never made sense, never quite felt right for me…..until hearing about Cynthia’s version of it. I don’t actually want to get into it quite yet. But I do plan to write a few more posts about it.

All I actually want to say right now is…..well, a couple of things….
….I’ve been practicing “centering prayer” somewhat consistently for a few days and not only do I really like it, but it has brought a missing puzzle piece into this puzzling enterprise we humanoids call praying….and it has energized me in a new way, so that…
….I think I would like to start sharing with you some of puzzle pieces that I’ve picked up along the way and encourage you on your own spiritual epic quest. (UPDATE: for example – the Art of Lament, So…What?, Take a Vacation from Yourself, A Personal Spiritual Story)

So stay tuned. I’ll collect my thoughts more on this subject. I would like to hear from you as well….after all most all of my ideas came from someone else and the relationship is not over yet.