Christians: quieting and calming 'the mind'
Here at the Christian Healing Blog, we've discovered that one of the best ways a person can 'quiet', or, 'calm' their mind, is through the engagement of a regular 'Centering Prayer' practice. The quotes below, were taken from the original book on Centering Prayer: 'Open Mind, Open Heart', by the late Rev. Thomas Keating
- Accept the fact that this is going to happen. No one is going to fall instantly into an ocean of peace, where there is only God and there are no thoughts at all. You have to accept yourself as you are and God as God is, and trust He will lead you in a way that may not always feel comfortable, but that is best for you.
- If you make up your mind that there are going to be a lot of thoughts, you are less likely to be upset when the thoughts arrive. It's unrealistic to aim at having no thoughts.
- To be aware of thoughts is not necessarily to be ENGAGED with thoughts. In other words, to have thoughts is not the problem. The THINKING about thoughts is the problem, and this is what is meant when we refer to being ENGAGED in thoughts.
- By interior silence, we refer primarily to a state in which we do not become ATTACHED to the thoughts as they go by.
- Make up your mind that they are going to be present as part of the reality of your inner world. If you fully ACCEPT them, they will begin to fade into insignificance.
- The habitual practice of centering prayer, gradually reduces the amount of (mind) conversation.
- The best response to the ordinary wanderings of the imagination, is to ignore them, NOT however with a feeling of annoyance or anxiety, but with ONE OF ACCEPTANCE AND PEACE.
- No matter how much a thought may persecute you, all you have to do is let it go by. By 'fighting' it, you stir up other thoughts. You should honestly say, "Well, I'm being pummeled with these thoughts", and put up with them, remembering that if you just wait, they will all pass by.
- Say YES to everything that happens. In that way, there is a better chance that the obsessive image will go by. A reaction of annoyance or of pleasure intensifies a particular thought. ALL thoughts that come down the stream of consciousness are subject to time because the are moving objects, and every object HAS to go by. If you just wait and do not do anything with them, they will all pass by. But if you try and do something with them, or to get away from them, you are stuck with them and are likely to go downstream with them. Let thoughts come, let them go. Have no sense of annoyance, no expectation.
- The attitude that reinforces the false (old man identity) more than anything else, is our instinct to POSSESS something. This instinct has to be relinquished. We learn through spiritual experience that grasping for spiritual experience, gets us thrown out on the bank. If we can let go of our 'clinging' attitude towards this deep peace, we will move into a refined joy and inner freedom where spiritual experience no longer looms so large. We can have all we want of divine consolation, if we don't try to possess it. As soon as we want to possess it, it's gone. We have to accept God as He is, without trying to possess Him.
- The innate tendency to hang on, to possess, is the biggest obstacle to union with God. The reason we are possessive, is that we feel we are separated from God, an ordinary psychological experience of the human condition. This misapprehension is the cause of our efforts to look for happiness down every path that we can possible envision, when actually, it's right under our noses.If you trust God, you know that no matter what you have done or not done, He is going to go on loving you.