On Saturday, February 13 over 70 people gathered at Colonial Church in Edina to hear Susan Komis from Contemplative Outreach International present a full day workshop on The Human Condition, The Welcoming Prayer and The Prayer of Forgiveness. Prayer was central to the day as there were 2 sessions of centering prayer in addition to sessions practicing the welcoming prayer and the prayer of forgiveness.
The morning session was devoted to The Human Condition and Divine Therapy as described by Fr. Thomas Keating in his book Invitation to Love. She illustrated out illusions and delusions; how we look for happiness in all the wrong places as well as our lack of awareness of the presence of God in our life. The DIS-ease and suffering of the False Self value system keep us from the happiness that we seek and keep us rooted in fear. Susan spoke of transformation and the desire to know when we have "arrived."
After reviewing the False Self, Susan introduced the three primary steps of letting go that allow us to be open to the process of transformation.
1. Awareness: a peaceful acknowledgement of our self. Ever so gently make friends with your false self.
2. Realization: you are powerless to change the way you are. It is bringing this to God. A regular practice of Centering Prayer or interior process facilitates this.
3. Consent: to allow the Holy Spirit to move and work in our heart and life.
Two means of bringing the gifts of centering prayer into daily life are the welcoming prayer and the prayer of forgiveness. The Welcoming Prayer deals with the wounds of the false self. It is a method that helps forestall the false self on a daily basis. Vilkommen can translate as come and make welcome. This prayer engages the body, mind and spirit as we focus, feel and welcome the divine indwelling by letting go. “Welcome. I let go of the desire for security, affection, and control. Welcome, I let go of the desire to change this feeling/sensation.” This prayer deals with the reality of what is happening now. The Prayer of Forgiveness is a guided meditation that allows a letting go of wounds and hurts from the past. Forgiveness is the name of love in a wounded world. Both of these prayers, as does centering prayer, have a simple format but are life-changing when practiced.
For me the day was energizing, inspiring, and challenging. My heart sings in joy with the gift of praying with so many people. The challenge of being faithful to the practice of centering prayer and extending it into daily life seems easier when supported by friends. The lovely setting and the wonderful hospitality at Colonial Church allowed us to relax and listen with open hearts. I am grateful for Susan’s presence and teaching and for all of you who shared in this beautiful and meaningful day of prayer and enrichment.
Diane Boruff is a presenter of Centering Prayer and a member of the Minnesota Contemplative Outreach Leadership Team.