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4.8 out of 5 stars16
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 12 December 2010
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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on 5 November 2012
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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on 23 May 2014
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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on 9 May 2013
This is one of the most enlightening books on centering prayer I have read. I love the way she gives us a snap shot of many others in history and how they viewed it as well as looking at its methods and why they are important. As I have read this book I realise that it is probably the most natural thing in the world for a believer to be engaged in who wants to deeply connect with his or her creator
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on 12 October 2011
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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on 14 September 2012
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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on 26 April 2014
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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on 28 September 2013
All Cynthias writings are superb, excellent insight and wonderful to have the treasures of her wisdom. So glad to buy her work so easily.i
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on 26 October 2013
An excellent introduction to the practice of Christian meditation/centering prayer. Practical, informative and non denominational. It addresses some theological, historical and contextual issues but it does not address head-on the fact that the practice itself is not specifically mandated in the bible.
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on 19 February 2016
I have been studying this topic for 35 years, in its many forms: the Christian spiritual classics; modern writers on spirituality; even the Gurdjieff Work. This is by far the best and most accessible book on the way of contemplation/inner transformation that I have ever read. It is exactly right for the modern mind. Whatever the route you have travelled before you encounter this book, it gets you immediately onto the right track and helps you avoid pitfalls. It moves you on, into openness to God, in all that this means.
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