What To Do When Your Prayer Doesn’t Get ‘In The Zone’

Front Gate, Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers GA

A reader named Kevin wrote the following comment to me on Facebook, in response to my recent post Why Is "Mysticism" a Dirty Word. Thanks Carl, interesting points. I was wondering if I could pick your brain on something...when I meditate/contemplate on my breath (I have a semi regular habit) I only seem to get "in the zone" of a peaceful meditative state about 1 session in 10. The rest of the time not much happens. Is this normal? Am I expecting too much? I'm getting a bit … [Read more...]

Sometimes When I Sit in Silence…

Chateau d'Amboise

Contemplative prayer — the prayer of sitting in silence, waiting in faith and trust on God — needs to be a daily practice. There are a number of reasons for this, but today I'd like to look at something I experience in my own prayer. I have to eat a little bit of humble pie to write this, because I'm admitting how poor I am at praying. But the truth is the truth. I need to pray in silence every day because, well, most days my silent prayer is not all that silent. Futhermore (and this is actually … [Read more...]

Simplicity and Silence

This message came to me the other day.Hi Carl. Love reading your blogs. From one who is a struggling contemplative can you tell me what form of contemplative prayer you do and why? Also can one do more than one form of contemplative prayer? ie, will one complement the other?Two questions here. First, what does my own daily practice look like? And secondly, what do I think about using more than one method of contemplative practice?First, about what I do. I'm assuming you simply want to … [Read more...]

Fast Food Mysticism?

Consider these two interesting quotes. This one comes from Simon, who commented on my essay The Hidden Tradition of Christian Mysticism: One of the dangers of Centering Prayer, as I see it, is that contemplation is being served up as some sort of fast food. MacContemplation, so to speak! And this, from Ali at Meadowsweet & Myrrh, reflecting on the Northern Ireland retreat: What is the connection between silent contemplation and peace? Is there one? ... so far the lesson of this week … [Read more...]

Twenty Minutes

Teachers of centering prayer recommend that you devote twenty minutes at a time, twice a day, to centering prayer.Ken Wilber, in advocating meditation as a tool for the transformation of consciousness, advocates thirty minutes, twice a day.Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to devote an hour to silence: once in the morning, and twice in the evening, twenty minutes per "sit." What I noticed is that each time I probably took fifteen minutes just to flush out the mental chatter and the … [Read more...]


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