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Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening [Paperback]

Cynthia Bourgeault
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Jun 2004
Practitioners of Centering Prayer are known for the great enthusiasm they bring to the practice of this ancient discipline. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening is a complete guidebook for all who wish to know the practice of Centering Prayer. Cynthia Bourgeault goes further than offering an introduction, however. She examines how the practice is related to the classic tradition of Christian contemplation, looks at the distinct nuances of its method, and explores its revolutionary potential to transform Christian life. The book encourages dialogue between Centering Prayer enthusiasts and those classic institutions of Christian nurture-churches, seminaries, and schools of theology-that have yet to accept real ownership of the practice and its potential.

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Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening + The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind - a New Perspective on Christ and His Message + The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity
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Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Cowley Publications,U.S. (25 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561012629
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561012626
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 159,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


It is amazing how confirming, clarifying, and encouraging Cynthia Bourgeault's teaching is. Probably the best on practical prayer I have ever read. -- Richard Rohr O.F.M., author of Everything Belongs This book will be inspiring, clear, and helpful to those who look well into it. -- Philip C. Fischer Review For Religious Every page of this book contains profound but accessible spiritual teaching and wisdom for living. The Anglican Journal Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening is a superb book, a wonderfully accessible introduction to Centering Prayer and the role it can play in your own 'salvation unto eternity.' Highly recommended for all who are on a spiritual path of any sort. -- Ken Wilber, author of The Eye of Spirit Bourgeault's prophetic voice points the way to restore harmony, dignity, and depth to our lived Christian community. The Anglican Journal Cynthia Bourgeault's book is a must-read... Her simple and clear explanations of the contemplative process so apparently based in her own experience re-ignited my own yearning to live a deeply God-centered life and renewed my commitment to the practice. -- Anne Simpkinson, co-author of Soul Work: A Field Guide for Spiritual Seekers

About the Author

Cynthia Bourgeault has studied and taught in a number of Benedictine monasteries in the United States and Canada. An Episcopal priest, she is well known as a retreat and conference leader, teacher of prayer, and writer on the spiritual life. She is the author of a number of books, including Mystical Hope.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Centering Prayer - reviving the contemplative practice of the Christian Desert fathers and mothers. It is very very simple yet so difficult for the modern mind to practice. Cynthia Bourgault provides a very interesting and well researched summary of what Centering prayer is all about. She draws on quotations by Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating and discusses the underlying ideas behind the Christian meditation movement and Contemplative Outreach.

Everyone who has any interest in Christ should read this book and think again about how they approach prayer. Is prayer about asking for things from God? Or is prayer about listening deeply to what God wants to say to us? The intention and emphasis is what is explored in this insightful book about the renewal of interest in Christian contemplation and in its practice. And it is the practice that bears the fruit. Going within and emptying oneself of self there is more space for God to speak to the deepest aspect of our being.

Revealing, revelationary but very simple actually. Brings awareness to the functioning of the self in everyday life and how touching the inner peace or emptiness brings, paradoxically, a fullness to the inner being and a new way of interacting with the world.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational 5 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I find this book most inspirational. Riveting, easy to read & practical. Living a life of regular inner work in a secular way the book is enlightening although it helps to have a spiritual life too and then it becomes dynamite. I have found all of Cynthia Bourgeault's books straightforward & easy to understand with as much psychology as spirituality, both of which she covers with an effortless lightness of touch. She is a scholar and so the odd Greek or Latin word creeps in which taxes my memory but that is the only critical comment I can find. She covers the Welcoming Prayer as well which seems to me as powerful in it's own way as the Centering Prayer and although she calls it prayer I believe the practise can be used in a secular psychological way too. For anyone undertaking inner work in any walk of life this book is a must read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This book 12 Oct 2011
By P.B.
This book has changed the way I pray. It is theologically sound from an Anglican point of view, clearly argued, well presented and life changing. If you have time for only one chapter then it must be the last on Welcoming Prayer, but the whole book leads up to it and is necessary preparation. READ IT NOW!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Centring Prayer and Inner Awakening 14 Sep 2012
By mgr
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was bought from Amazon.This is a beautifully written book. It is aimed at those who are serious about living a fuller inner life and getting in touch with our deepest self. It is a book to be "practiced" not just read. If you are not serious about follow-up you will not get the benefit it sets out o give
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4.0 out of 5 stars Contemplation beyond Mindfulness 23 May 2014
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I once did a short course in 'contemplative prayer', but adjusted it in a couple of very small ways that made it even simpler and that, for want of a better expression, I felt 'worked' better - it turns out that what I was doing was/ is "centering prayer" - which I hadn't realised until I read this book! So I think it introduces and promotes a good way of contemplation/ contemplative prayer - one that deserves to be promoted and introduced more widely.

Other reasons for liking this book are (1) the section dealing with the second part of the title, i.e. on 'Inner Awakening' and "Wakefulness", which I think are the "real thing" and go beyond the currently-trendy but actually-intrinsically-more-limited "Mindfulness": Also (2) the psychological content, which is interesting, if you're "into" that sort of thing - which I am.

So why haven't I given it 5 stars? Well, I found the 'psychology' content less easy reading, especially if it is aimed at people relatively new to its subject. My other main gripe is that I felt at times that the tone is rather pleased with itself on how 'centering prayer' was "rediscovered" recently. Although she does mention a number of important writers and talk about how far back this form of prayer and contemplation goes, I take the view that there has been/ is a continuous tradition running in an uninterupted line and never lost. (I think I am not alone in this - see for example Evelyn Underhill's "Mysticism"). That said, overall I was pleased to have read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 26 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read many such books on spirituality, and this is right up there as one of the best. So much helpful information. A book to be read again and again, as more of it becomes a part of me. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
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