NEW ONLINE CENTERING PRAYER GROUP
by Susan B.
Starting June 2018, Contemplative Outreach members began offering Centering Prayer meetings online via Zoom software. I attended my first meeting, and it was phenomenal!
I’m particularly excited about this because I’m disabled and it’s hard for me to drive. I’ve yearned for spiritual community, but have been unable to be part of a local group. The website that hosts the meetings is called MeditationChapel.org, “an interfaith online meditation community.” Currently, they have four groups (including Centering Prayer) offering meditation. There is an online calendar with a schedule. Right now, there are groups meeting every day.
So, let me tell you more about my experience this evening with the Centering Prayer group. There were eight people attending from all over the world! It’s sometimes difficult to go into a new situation not knowing anyone, but everyone was quite welcoming. Your name appears on the screen after you join the meeting, and people make the effort to say hello to you.
One of the best parts of the virtual community is the ability to mute your microphone when not speaking and during the mediation. I love this, so that I don’t have to worry when I need to cough or clear my throat. Or when the dog starts barking to come into the room (that happened).
Also, note that when you register on the site (the first time you log in), you pick an avatar (an image that displays when your camera is off). So if you want, you can shut off your camera and just have the image display while you’re meditating. And, of course, you can choose any name or just your first name. It was a breeze to join and get set up. A small file from Zoom will be downloaded if you are using a computer. If you are using any other device, you can download the Zoom app before registering.
Tonight, the leader chose to read a Bible passage about inclusion, which displayed on the screen, and she read it slowly three times. Then, we had open discussion. And then she played a one minute video of Fr. Keating talking about unconditional love. The one sad note was that the leader informed us that Fr. Keating has gone into Hospice. But hearing his voice and sharing about his message enabled us to send love to him from afar.
While Centering Prayer comes out of the Christian contemplative tradition, anyone can benefit from this practice, regardless of their beliefs, and all are welcome to become part of the online community. I, myself, am not a Christian, but am a recovering member of multiple 12 Step programs. I hope to start an online 12 Step Centering Prayer meeting
down the road, where those of us in recovery can integrate the practice with our program, keeping the focus on our non-sectarian, spiritual tradition.
I can’t say enough about how lovely it was to participate in the online meeting and how easy, in this venue, to share video and text with participants, as well as for participants to share their thoughts. Right now, the online Centering Prayer meetings are:
Monday 9 pm; Thursday 6 pm; Thursday 7:30 pm (Spanish)
To join the online Centering Prayer group
To join: https://meditationchapel.org/peace-chapel/
You will need a camera and microphone. The first time you enter the chapel, you will be guided to register and download the Zoom app for computer. For other devices, download the Zoom app before registering. Then, you just go to your browser, type https://meditationchapel.org/peace-chapel, click the link to enter the chapel, and Zoom will automatically start.
Format: 20 minutes of silent meditation followed by the leader’s choice, which may include reading of brief Bible passage (shown on screen), brief audio/video selection (e.g., Fr. Keating speaking), or other spiritual content followed by discussion. Meeting begins and ends with a prayer.
About 12 Step Centering Prayer
The 12 Step Outreach Is One of the Service Teams of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.
Our Vision: The vision of 12 Step Outreach is to pass on the gift of Centering Prayer and related spiritual practices to improve our conscious contact with a God of our understanding, wherever there is a desire for deeper healing from anyone in 12-Step recovery.
Our Mission: We are 12 Step people who practice Centering Prayer as our 11th Step and pass it on to others in 12-Step recovery.
Our Purpose: The purpose of 12 Step Outreach is to support one another in the process of spiritual transformation through the practice of Centering Prayer
A list of Resources for Centering Prayer in Palm Beach County, FL is available HERE