“You have my soul for your peace and your silence, but it is lacerated by the noise of my activity and my desires. My mind is crucified all day by its own hunger for experience, for ideas, for satisfaction. And I do not possess my house in silence. I am content that these pages show me to be what I am – noisy, full of the racket of my imperfections and passions, and the wide open wounds left by my sins. Full of my own emptiness. Yet, Ruined as my house is, you live there!” -Thomas Merton
If we’re honest, our inner world can be chaotic and noisy. Our minds are on the go constantly and we need to find ways to truly, “Be still and know…,” (Ps 46:10) to quiet our inner world enough to hear a “still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)
Centering Prayer is a Christian method of meditation that places a strong emphasis on interior silence. The modern Centering Prayer movement in Christianity can be traced to several books published by three Trappist monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts in the 1970s: Fr. William Meninger, Fr. M. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating. The name of the practice was taken from Thomas Merton’s description of contemplative prayer as prayer that is “centered entirely on the presence of God”. In his book Contemplative Prayer, Merton writes “Monastic prayer begins not so much with ‘considerations’ as with a ‘return to the heart,’ finding one’s deepest center, awakening the profound depths of our being.