Training The Puppy 09-15-2016

In the beginning, the untrained mind will get distracted every few seconds. With training, our level of concentration gradually lengthens. The length of distracted periods simultaneously shortens. During periods of extended relaxed awareness free from distractions, spaces between thoughts get longer until minutes can go by without a single thought entering the mind.

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An analogy for silent prayer practice is training a puppy to sit in the center of a circle.[1] At first the puppy cannot sit still for even a moment. It habitually wonders off again and again. The point is to gently and repeatedly bring the puppy back to the circle’s center. This process is tedious. But, with much practice, eventually the puppy sits still for a few moments without wandering—a triumph. Finally, with months and years of practice, the puppy sits in the center of the circle for two, five, ten minutes…

Another analogy… The cumulative practice of centering prayer is like a cloud—a cloud of unknowing. Every day we practice is a drop of water that adds to the cloud, until eventually the cloud expands to include all the activities and relationships of our lives.

[1] This is an analogy of Buddhist author Jack Kornfield.

David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings.  Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program  created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.

How do we know that Jesus was actually raised from the dead in bodily form? This course with Prof. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, examines the extraordinary claim that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead in a bodily fashion to appear in person to people after his cruel death, crucifixion, and entombment.

Check out Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright.  It is based upon his book Simply Good News.  You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament.  It works well for group studies.   

Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus.  Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article Rich wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.

Check out Rich’s review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.