Thomas Keating is a retired Catholic Trappist Monk and Abbot who founded the modern Centering Prayer movement. The items below are from his book Open Mind, Open Heart.
Methods of Extending the Effects of Contemplative Prayer into Daily Life
“Centering prayer is the keystone of a comprehensive commitment to the contemplative dimensions of the Gospel.”
- Two times a day 20 to 30 minutes early morning and half-way through the day or early evening
- If you have time, do 10 to 15 minutes reading from the Gospel beforehand.
- If you have an hour, do 10 minutes Gospel reading, 20 minutes prayer, 5 minutes meditative walk, and 20 minutes prayer. End with 10 minutes to plan your day or pray for others or converse with God.
- If you have no time later in the day, use a lunch hour or stop on your way home at a church or park.
- If you can’t do a second time, lengthen your morning prayer.
“Means to Extend Interior Silence”
- Cultivate self-acceptance—compassion for your past failings, limitations, sins. Expect to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Use an active prayer, a 5-to 9-syllable sentence from scripture that you repeat and gradually make into a part of yourself.
- Lectio divina: 15 minutes or more from the New Testament or another book
- Carry a “Minute Book” in which you have a sentence or two, perhaps short paragraphs that strengthen your commitment (to Christ and prayer).
- Dismantle your emotional programming by willing yourself; for example, “I give up my desire for security, esteem, control.”
- Guard your heart: accept changeable reality.
- Accept others in their imperfections.
- Dismantle excessive group identification.
- Celebrate the Eucharist regularly. Participate in the mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection—the source of Christian transformation.
- Join a contemplative prayer group.