"Self-Release Prayer" Post 2

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"Self-Release Prayer" Post 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:16 pm

The “Self-Release Prayer” (Post 2)

In a first post on the “Self-Release Prayer”, the Prayer was described in this way:

1.Become aware of a thought or daydream that you can let go of.
2.Let it go, to make a space for God in interior silence.
3. Tend to the flash of Silence that replaces the thought, for it is is an intuitive communion with God. “Grace fills empty spaces but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void” (Simone Weil).

This description prompts several questions:
Q: “Is the Self-Release Prayer” the same as Centering Prayer?
A: They are the same in their contemplative direction --away from self and toward God. True prayer convert time into love of God. That’s holds true for the Centering Prayer and the Self-Release Prayer.

Q: “How does the Self-Release Prayer, then, differ from Centering Prayer”?

The main difference between the Self-Release Prayer and Centering Prayer is duration.
The Self-Release Prayer is enacted in a second or two -- even a split second- whereas Centering Prayer, as you know, is extended over twenty minutes, or longer.

Q: “What are opportunities each day are suited to praying the Self-Release Prayer?
A: As many times that thought-feelings arise that we intuitively recognize as dead-ends...and there are lots of these, aren’t there?!

Wouldn’t you characterize the following types of thought as “dead-ends”?

-mechanical negative mental reactions
-petty, endless trivia
-replayed arguments with absent antagonists
-repetitive thoughts,
-self-tormenting daydreams about the past
-self-justifications
- rationalizations
-mechanical prejudices
-self-deceptions
-useless worries.

Along these lines, Fr. Thomas Keating wrote: “We are kept from the experience of Spirit because our inner world is cluttered...”

Anytime ANY of these arise in, we are invited to practice the Self-Release Prayer. In light this, please consider again the three ‘moments’ of this Prayer:

1. Become aware of a thought or daydream that you can let go of.
2. Let it go, to make a space for God in interior silence.
3. Tend to the flash of Silence that replaces the thought, for it is is an intuitive communion with God. “Inspirations of the Holy Ghost are quiet, for God speaks in the silent depths of the spirit. His voice brings peace. It does not arouse excitement, but allays it because excitement belongs to uncertainty” (Thomas Merton).

Q: “So the Self-Release Prayer is enacted many times a day? How many?”
A: Don’t a hundred (just to pick a number) self-justifying, self-harming, mechanically negative thoughts pass through my mind each day? Aren’t these opposite of my true purpose in life, which is union with God?

Each time I see one of these thoughts arising in me--as mechanical as a spring mousetrap-- I can let it go, and turn to God’s Silence. -

Doesn’t this accord with the holy wisdom articulated Carmelite Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906), to paraphrase her counsel?--

Go out of yourself
in order to adhere to God
by a very simple, wholly loving movement
which allows God to imprint Himself
on them and
to transform them into Himself.

Within the hour --more likely then next five minutes! -- a thought-emotion will arise in me that is a dead-end. When I am not mindful of these, dead-end thoughts simply take me over, and toss me in any direction they wish: into sadness, regret, despair, confusion. The alternative?

1. Become aware of a thought or daydream that you can let go of.
2. Let it go, to make a space for God in interior silence.
3. Tend to the flash of Silence that replaces the thought, for it is is an intuitive communion with God.

But I don’t have to passively and lazily assent to them, but exercise free will, which God created for this very purpose, and let go of them-- and immediately ‘listen’ inwardly to God’s Silence, savoring the timeless Silence, even for a second.

The Self-Release Prayer, then, is enacted in a second or two. Imagine a ship’s captain who sees her vessel is straying from its course, and immediately adjusts wheel to get back on true course. That is the Self-Release Prayer.

Am I not contravening the purpose of twenty minutes or hour of Centering Prayer, if I passively allow my mind to mechanically drift contrary to God’s will a hundred times a day?

Isn’t, then, the Self-Release Prayer (whatever we call it) a NECESSARY complement to Centering Prayer?

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Post by rpw8 on Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:25 pm

I will have to go back and read the first part. Recently read The Cloud of Unknowing translation by Carmen Butcher. I started to fizzle out about half way. This whole contemplative practice isn't for me. I often go through dry spells of not going to Mass and not particularly sustaining a steady interest. Same goes w/ BR material. Went out of town recently. Find myself more interested in the Native American Indian recently. During my trip is a lovely Indian shop I visit every time I go up north to Michigan. Love the Indian flute music and the history. I can't read the books anymore because of all the brutality. Still that sense of solitude with nature is a great feeling though often short it can be with me. The Indian arts, and the way of life I always find interesting. Up until the whole displacement of American Indian. It's incredibly sad and part of me is bothered by the whole thing.

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Re: "Self-Release Prayer" Post 2

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:01 am

Hi R,
nice to hear from you! Very happy you had that wonderful experience in the woods. It sounds to me like your experience in the woods in contemplative in itself is a "contemplative" means an immediate intuition of a Great Mystery, or divine Presence.
In line with your experience, I think, is this from Ohiyesa, a reservation-born native American who studied at American universities, and helped found the Boy Scouts of America. He wrote in a book, on the order of a credo: The Soul of an Indian:

The elements and majestic forces in nature
--lightening, wind, water, fire, and frost--
are regarded with awe
as spiritual powers,
but always secondary and intermediate in character.

We believe that spirit pervades all creation...





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Re: "Self-Release Prayer" Post 2

Post by rpw8 on Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:56 pm

Well, it was in the Indian store not the woods per se. As I might have added earlier I have an affinity for all things American Indian. Funny as a kid I loved westerns especially w/ John Wayne who was my hero. Unfortunately, much later a lot for me has not aged well with Hollywood portrayal of the Indian. I had been on a couple of retreats where I loved nature, though I was never into adventure and a hike for that matter. I greatly love driving through it which might seem odd and had gone for a walk or 2. Seems like you are well versed in the Indian culture and such. The Indian store I went to had it's assortment of arts and crafts and plenty of jewelry for the women. Though I feel inspired somehow and a sense of fascination with the whole Indian thing. To add the spaces between thoughts are the same silence or being more attentive to the breath. I like much what you wrote. Thanks,

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Re: "Self-Release Prayer" Post 2

Post by rpw8 on Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:03 pm

All n' all for me it's a sense of being inspired. Inspiration for many things that always seem to uplift me and my spirit. To remember God is closer to me than I am to myself always helps. I don't like to sound so non dual at the expense of sounding spiritual. Seems to be a difference of the Eastern non dual and the kind of way BR speaks.

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Re: "Self-Release Prayer" Post 2

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:58 pm

Hi R,
I really have only commented on material from Native American's whose spirituality resonated with me-- especially on silence.  One of the reasons Bernadette's work immediately interested I think was that at the beginning of the first book I read by her, The Experience of No-Self, she describes types or degrees of silence.   I immediately related to that.

For me, the silence of the mind in meditation is both the quieting of ego-chatter, and also God's Mystery as Silence. When I find myself in the Silence in meditation, I open myself to the Silence as the Presence of God, at least as far as consciousness can apprehend God. I know God is more than, or different from, the Silence I am intuiting, but this is as far as I can go in surrender. So I love the Silence as God.  I hope this spoke to some of the issues you raised.
I will write on another topic you raise in the next post.

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