Some Practical Points
1. The minimum time for this prayer is twenty minutes. Two periods are recommended each day, one first thing in the morning and one in the afternoon or early evening.
2. The end of the prayer period can be indicated by a timer, provided it does not have an audible tick or loud sound when it goes off.
4. One may experience physical symptoms such as slight pains, itches or twitches in various parts of the body or a generalized restlessness. These are usually due to untying of emotional knots in the body. One may notice heaviness or lightness in the extremities. This is usually due to a deep level of spiritual attentiveness. In either case, one does not pay attention or allow the mind to rest briefly in the sensation but return ever so gently to the sacred word.
6. A support group praying and sharing together once a week helps maintain one’s commitment to the prayer.
In one of the earliest Centering Prayer workshops led by Fr. Thomas Keating, a nun completed her first twenty-minute taste of Centering Prayer. At the end of the prayer period she lamented to Fr. Keating, “Oh, Father Thomas, I’m such a failure at this prayer. In twenty minutes, I’ve had ten thousand thoughts.” “How lovely!” responded Fr. Thomas without blinking an eye. “Ten thousand opportunities to return to God!”