Have you ever heard about centering prayer? It’s the kind of prayer that emphasizes inner peace and opening ourselves to God by letting go of any thoughts that come to mind and carry us away. I have a love-hate relationship with this prayer form, and I thought that for all the prayer geeks out there my experience could help you decide whether to practice it or not.
In short, I’d say it’s a very powerful form of prayer worth your time. If you can handle the psychological transformations that a centering prayer may induce, go for it. To know whether you’d be able to cope with the changes it brings, I would say begin to practice it very cautiously and gradually.
But let’s start from the beginning, and I will tell you why I recommend centering prayer with caution. I learned about centering prayer somewhere around 2014 from the book Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (2004) by Cynthia Bourgeault. The book is quite good; it will introduce you to the basic history, theology, and psychology of centering prayer. For all those theology geeks out there, I somewhat disagree with the way the author grounds centering prayer in negative theology (a method of theology that focuses on what God is not rather than what God is), tracing it back to The Cloud of Unknowing (a mediaeval mystical book that emphasizes contemplative prayer based on negative theology). Not only that, Bourgeault attempts to pin centering prayer on kenosis (God’s self-emptying, a theology developed from Phil. 2:7), but that comes out a bit forced. Unlike centering prayer, kenosis requires an active involvement and is other-centered, outward-oriented, and self-sacrificial.