Come To God
***Please note, you do not have to identify as a Christian or have adopted any particular faith or belief system to attend Centering Prayer, or any other practice at GreatFull. There will be no attempts at conversion to any particular path. We believe that everyone has their own way of coming to the God of their own understanding, and we respect everyone's unique journey and beliefs.***
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
In Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, the word for prayer is shela. Shela can be interpreted to mean, "to open oneself and listen to the Divine Presence." Prayer, in this sense, is not necessarily words being spoken; rather, it is closer to contemplation. To pray is to accept God's invitation to turn your mind and heart inward and open to the realization that you are not separate from God. God is always with you, whether you know it or not. In a moment of grace, the awareness of God becomes closer than the breath, closer than thought, closer than consciousness itself. God initiates the desire, and the Divine Spark within you responds. Deep calls to deep. This understanding of prayer as a relationship with God is a primary foundation of the practice of Centering Prayer.
The method of Centering Prayer is based on four simple guidelines. These guidelines are not rigid rules, but rather a way to nurture the deepening of your relationship with Christ. 1) Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God's presence and action within. 2) Sitting comfortably with eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce the sacred word. 3) When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word as a place of returning to the intention. 4) At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes. Typical Centering Prayer is a quiet listening time of 20 minutes.
Perhaps one of the gifts you will receive from your Centering Prayer practice is the realization that at your core is a basic goodness - you were created in the image of God and therefore nothing can ever change this goodness within you. It is a source of dignity for every human being. Your ongoing commitment to the daily practice of Centering Prayer is a means by which to open, surrender, and live from this basic core of goodness.
Faithfulness to a Centering Prayer practice builds community. When you practice Centering Prayer within a group, you become tangibly aware of a oneness rooted in God, that transcends form, time, and cultural identification. Out of the collective silence comes the awareness that you are part of a greater whole. As this oneness becomes more and more apparent, we, as a human family, will find that it is possible to live an ordinary life with extraordinary love -God's love lived through us.
A bit about our teachers:
Melody Neufeld lives in Saskatoon, in the King George neighbourhood, where she shares her home, living in community with others. Melody has a Social Work degree and a Graduate Certificate in Christian Ministry.
Centering Prayer has become a practice that has drawn Melody into increased patience and opening of heart. Twelve years ago, she attended a week long intensive at Richard Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico, where she experienced the importance of both action in this world and taking the time for renewal through contemplation. The experience of people being together to practice Centering Prayer was profound. Since that time Centering Prayer had become one of her main prayer practices.
She looks forward to the group that will gather for Centering Prayer at GreatFull Goods and Practice Center, as we seek to allow the Divine therapy to work within us, opening our minds and hearts to love of self, others, and all creation.
John Gascho resides in Osler, SK with his wife Rhonda. He is currently a part of a Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, sanctioned Spirituality Resource Team. John has gained most of his contemplative insight from his experience over the last 35 years. It wasn't until recently being introduced to the writings and teachings of Richard Rohr and James Finley, among others, that he began to explore a deep desire to find and speak of the eternal spring that sustains and protects all of creation. He is fond of the Perennial tradition and is passionate about the mystery of life, the desiring of all things that reflect intimacy with the Divine. The struggle to embrace wholeness and healing in the face of our contradictions is what defines John the most. He is keenly aware of the role of vulnerability as it pertains to the process of learning to surrender. He is both eager to share and to listen as the journey unfolds.