Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Welcoming Prayer

It has been my first day without pain killers for my recently poorly back. I entered into centering prayer tonight and knowing that it is important not to allow physical sensations to distract, when the backpains started I almost gave up. Shifting from one position to the next was just not working! However the idea of "Welcoming Prayer" came to me. Basically it involves first entering into a feeling or emotion you wish to release from and then welcoming it. After moving from one to stage to the other the last stage is to let go of the desire for security, approval and control and finally the desire to change the situation as it is. (Cynthia Bourgeault excellently devotes a whole chapter to this in her book 'Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening' she sums up the process thus: 1:Focus & Sink In 2:welcome 3: Let go)
I decided to apply this to my backache. I focussed on the pain and welcomed it ocscillating between these two stages. At times feeling the pain without qualifying it as good or bad took the sting out of it. In the letting go I focussed specifically on the letting go of the desire to change the situation. In short a total acceptance of the discomfort which I felt prompted to use as my 'Sacred Word' (please note this is not a mantra but a word which simply is used to return to Centering Prayer when the mind has strayed - nothing more than that)*. Using this as my sacred word to return to His Presence was quite enlightening.
This welcoming prayer gesture being at the same moment the essence of my participation with presence seemd to mirror if not participate in the same spirit with which Jesus approached the Cross. The Central core of this specific time was an acceptance of pain which when let go of became the entry point of a deep participation of Jesus acceptance of the Cross at Gethsemene - 'Not my will but thine be done'.
Did the back ache ease or go? At times. In fact the 20 mins seemed to rush by but that was not the issue - one cannot at one and the same time welcome something and want it to go away. However it does raise the issue taht much of our suffering is caused by not accepting things as they are - being at odds with that which 'is'.

*The sacred  word  expresses our intention to be in God’s presence and to yield to the divine action (T K)

No comments:

Post a Comment