The Four Contemplative Values

One of the benefits of becoming a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer is going back through the material from time to time to develop presentations and training — what a rich resource for realignment.

The Four Contemplative Values

During the session on  the benefits of Centering Prayer, the training focuses on the four contemplative values of:

  • Silence
  • Solitude
  • Solidarity
  • Service

with notes on how each of these relates to the fundamental movements of Centering Prayer.

In silence, we develop a deeper appreciation for the healing that takes place as we relinquish the need to solve and work out problems, but let go and let God. We develop a deeper capacity to be present and listen without ego assertion.

In solitude, we experience an enriched prayer life, opening ourselves to the divine presence, whether our prayer is verbal, reflective, or contemplative. A key aspect of solitude is also that we grow in self-knowledge, which can be painful and humbling at time, but which is so key to our growth.

In solidarity, we increase our awareness of oneness with God, the human family, and all of creation.

An then in service, we begin to develop a non-judgmental attitude towards ourselves and others. This is true freedom from the need to impose a rigid, misunderstood authoritarian order onto our lives and those of others. Instead we find ways of practical caring for others and for creation. We begin to experience a growing awareness of the social application of the gospel or good news to creation. As the the NT puts it “whatever you do unto the least of these, you do also unto me.”

This is recognizing the Christ-in-other and Christ-as-other. It takes ongoing practice to reduce the afflictive emotions of guilt and fear that prevent us from living from this state of awareness.

Going Further

Thomas Keating on affirming our basic goodness.

FAQ from Contemplative Outreach

Contemplative Light’s course on Contemplative Practices

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