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The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God

The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God

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by David Frenette, Father Thomas Keating (Foreword by)

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In the teachings of Jesus, there are prayers, and then there is prayer—the silent, loving communion with the divine, beyond words or ritual. With Father Thomas Keating’s book Open Mind, Open Heart, hundreds of thousands discovered the transformative power of Centering Prayer as a form of Christian meditation. Now, with The Path of Centering


In the teachings of Jesus, there are prayers, and then there is prayer—the silent, loving communion with the divine, beyond words or ritual. With Father Thomas Keating’s book Open Mind, Open Heart, hundreds of thousands discovered the transformative power of Centering Prayer as a form of Christian meditation. Now, with The Path of Centering Prayer, Keating’s senior student, friend, and advisor David Frenette reveals the profound depths of this practice, making it easier for meditators to deepen their connection with God.
Beginning and experienced practitioners alike will benefit from this fresh voice, at once eloquent and clear, as they explore:

  • The key insights and principles of Centering Prayer
  • Guided instruction in the sacred word, sacred breath, and sacred glance practices
  • Gentleness and openness: the way of letting go and letting be
  • Experiencing a deeper sense of God in meditation and in everyday life
  • Many other contemplative practices and teachings founded upon the wisdom of Fathers Thomas Keating and Thomas Merton
Has your spiritual path grown routine or unfulfilling, or is it at a crossroads for new discovery? For all Christians who seek to move closer into the presence of the divine, The Path of Centering Prayer offers guidance in this rewarding and time-honored meditation practice, to help break through obstacles and illuminate the way.
David Frenette is a leader and senior teacher in the Centering Prayer movement, and a friend and advisor of Father Thomas Keating for 30 years. He co-created and co-led a contemplative retreat community for 10 years, has an MA in transpersonal counseling psychology, and is an adjunct faculty member of Naropa University. He is a spiritual director at the Center for Contemplative Living in Denver, Colorado, as well as for clients worldwide.

Part I:  Deepening Your Centering Prayer Practice in the Light of Contemplation
Chapter One:   Understanding Christian Contemplation and Getting Started in Centering Prayer
Chapter Two:  Renewing Your Practice of Centering Prayer
Chapter Three:  Deepening the Sacred Word
Chapter Four:  Deepening the Sacred Breath
Chapter Five:  Deepening the Sacred Glance
Chapter Six:  Nothing buy God’s Silence, Stillness, and Spaciousness
Chapter Seven:  The Sacred Nothingness and the Trinity
Chapter Eight:  Dancing in the Center of God
Part II:  Contemplative Attitudes
Chapter Nine:  Consent and Giving God Consent to Act in You
Chapter Ten:  Opening and Recognizing
Chapter Eleven:  Simplicity and Awakening in God
Chapter Twelve:  Gentleness and Effortlessness
Chapter Thirteen:  Letting Go and Letting Be
Chapter Fourteen:  Resting and Being
Chapter Fifteen:  Embracing and Being Embraced
Chapter Sixteen:  Integrating in Life and Emerging in God
This book is a complete handbook to Christian contemplation and the practice of centering prayer.  A contemplative practice like centering prayer opens you to experiencing God.  This book shows you how to journey on the path of centering prayer, a path leading to interior union with Christ and increasing unity with all of life as it is found emerging in God.  Although designed to show advanced practitioners how to deepen their centering prayer practice, The Path of Centering Prayer can also be used by beginners looking to establish such a practice.
Christian Contemplative Practice and Centering Prayer
Similar in many ways to meditation in other spiritual traditions, centering prayer is a method of silent, wordless prayer that comes out of the Christian contemplative tradition.  Different contemplative practices have always existed in Christianity.  Practices like the Jesus Prayer in the Orthodox Christian tradition, lectio divia—the “divine reading” of scripture—in the Roman Catholic tradition, and the silent worship of some Quaker and Protestant churches—have provided means for experiencing the contemplative dimension of the Gospel.  The practice of centering prayer is primarily based on the teaching of a classic spiritual text from the fourteenth century, The Cloud of Unknowing.  These and every specific form of Christian contemplative practice are rooted in the teachings of Jesus and his resurrected presence as the Christ.  While rooted in Christ’s eternal presence and Jesus’ historical teachings, each of these forms of Christian contemplative prayer practice, like centering prayer, arose and were developed within the cultural conditions of the time.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Expanding on his mentor's (Father Thomas Keating) groundbreaking book Open Mind, Open Heart, Frenette takes Centering Prayer to a new level. Rooted in Christianity, Centering Prayer resonates on the same contemplative wavelength as Buddhist mindfulness practice. It transcends denominations and moves beyond the limitations of traditional, hierarchical Christian worship. Frenete is careful to keep his language inclusive, further opening the door to those who wish to explore rather than follow. Consider displaying this one with Father Keating's book and with The Cloud of Unknowing, one of the foundation texts of Centering Prayer."
—Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight

"Frenette's enthusiasm for centering prayer, his use of illustrative material from his own life and mystical experiences, and his flair for creativity give this handbook a vibrancy that carries the reader along. We were especially taken with his comparisons of contemplation with dancing and with floating on water."
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice.com

“This book in my view is the best, most comprehensive, and most practical book on centering prayer.”
—Father Thomas Keating

“In this beautiful book, David Frenette expands the map of the known Centering Prayer universe. With the blessing of his spiritual father, Thomas Keating, David develops and gently reshapes fundamental building blocks of the Centering Prayer teaching. This is an important moment in the Centering Prayer lineage transmission, when a faithful student emerges into mastery. David’s work will breathe significant new life into your personal practice.”
—Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, author of Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening

“This excellent book represents Christianity come to maturity! Here you will find good theology, good practice, good psychology, and a recovery of the foundation itself—how to live in communion all the time.”
—Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, founding Director of the Center for Action and Contemplation

“With simplicity and great wisdom, David Frenette reconnects you to the universal tradition of how to open to God, how to pray in silence, and finally, how to let the spirit pray within your heart. If you want, or need, to be drawn deeper into prayer, read this book and live its guidance.”
—Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, PhD, Sufi teacher and author of Prayer of the Heart in Christian and Sufi Mysticism

“In his lucid guide to Centering Prayer, David Frenette navigates a path for beginners and seasoned practitioners who wish to enter ever-deepening states of loving friendship with the Divine.”
—Mirabai Starr, author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

“This wonderful book provides direction, encouragement, and support for a prayer practice with ancient roots. Drawing on his considerable experience as a spiritual director, David Frenette skillfully shares stories and offers wisdom that illuminates the heart of the practice and will lead practitioners through the subtle challenges that inevitably arise in the process of living into ever-deepening levels of prayer. This is a book not only to be read, but to be consulted regularly for insight and help along the way.”
—The Right Reverend Robert O’Neill, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado

The Path of Centering Prayer is a beam of light in what can sometimes be a dark and unknown journey with God. It is written from the heart of David’s relationship with God and his discoveries along his contemplative journey in solitude, in community, and in spiritual direction. From this place of wisdom, David enlightens readers with encouragement and enrichment, which will nourish them in their own commitment to the centering prayer practice and the contemplative life.”
—Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler, President of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.

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Meet the Author

David Frenette

David Frenette has been a longtime teacher of Centering Prayer and contemplative meditation, as well as a friend and advisor of Father Thomas Keating for 34 years. He has a graduate degree in transpersonal counseling psychology and has taught at leading retreat centers around the country. David co-created and co-led a Christian contemplative retreat community for 10 years. His primary work is in developing practices and resources for contemplative practitioners, and supporting a unitive approach to meditation that includes body, mind and heart, as well as spirit. He is a spiritual director for clients worldwide.

Father Father Thomas Keating

Father Thomas Keating draws from over 60 years of study and prayer as a Trappist monk in sharing the wisdom of 20 centuries of the contemplative Christian tradition. One of the principal architects of the contemplative Christian prayer movement, Father Keating co-founded the Snowmass Interreligious Conference and Contemplative Outreach, Ltd., and is author of many books, including Open Mind, Open Heart.

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