The Danger of Centering Prayer



By Rev. John D. Dreher

Centering prayer originated in St. Joseph's Abbey, a Trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts. During the twenty years (1961-1981) when Keating was abbot, St. Joseph's held dialogues with Buddhist and Hindu representatives, and a Zen master gave a week-long retreat to the monks. A former Trappist monk who had become a Transcendental Meditation teacher also gave a session to the monks.

....Many people assume centering prayer is compatible with Catholic tradition, but in fact the techniques of centering prayer are neither Christian nor prayer. They are at the level of human faculties and as such are an operation of man, not of God. The deception and dangers can be grave.

Centering prayer differs from Christian prayer in that the intent of the technique is to bring the practitioner to the center of his own being.

There he is, supposedly, to experience the presence of the God who indwells him. Christian prayer, on the contrary, centers upon God in a relational way, as someone apart from oneself. The Christian knows a God who is personal, yet who, as Creator, infinitely transcends his creature. God is wholly other than man.

It is also crucial to Christian prayer that God engages man's whole being in response, not just his interior life. In the view of centering prayer,

the immanence of God somehow makes the transcendence of God available to human techniques and experience.

Centering prayer is essentially a form of self-hypnosis. It makes use of a "mantra," a word repeated over and over to focus the mind while

striving by one's will to go deep within oneself.

The effects are a hypnotic-like state: concentration upon one thing, disengagement from other stimuli, a high degree of openness

to suggestion,a psychological and physiological condition that externally resembles sleep but in which consciousness is interiorized and the mind subject to suggestion. After reading a published description of centering prayer, a psychology professor said,

"Your question is, is this hypnosis? Sure it is."

He said the state can be verified physiologically by the drop in blood pressure, respiratory rate, lactic acid level in the blood, and the galvanic conductivity

of the skin. Abbot Keating relates that, when they began doing the centering prayer workshops in the guest house, some of the monks and guests

"complained that it was spooky seeing people walking around the guest house like 'zombies."' They recognized the symptoms but could not diagnose the illness.



Centering Prayer and Enneagram are Pagan

The Centering Prayer empties the mind through repetition of a mantra: it is neither Catholic nor prayer.

Fr Thomas Keating involved in this and other New Age practices and Tarot.

by Susan Beckworth Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Centering Prayer Movement has become very popular in Catholic circles today. People sign up for it in retreat centers, in workshops, and sometimes in their own parish. These people believe it to be authentic Christian contemplative prayer practiced by the saints. Is it really Christian contemplation?

In my research on the New Age which I did for the past ten years, I found that it is not Christian contemplation and that this type of prayer is not recommended by Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, or St. Teresa of Avila. There have also been warnings from Johnnette Benkovic on EWTN (Mother Angelica's Network). Johnnette has a program called "Living His Life Abundantly", and has had a series on the New Age. She has also written a book called, The New Age Counterfeit, and devotes one chapter to the problems of Centering Prayer (CP). She identifies it as being the same as Transcendental Meditation (TM) which is tied to Hinduism.



Other Sources



Centering Prayer Catholic Meditation or Occult Meditation?


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