My primary contemplative practice is centering prayer. I currently practice 20 minutes a day, usually in the morning after waking up. I've been practicing much more diligently after starting spiritual direction, and since starting to practice with Marjorie. We try to pray together once per week when possible, often in a chapel. My experience with the prayer has been very positive. The basic mechanism is to empty out the self in order to "surrender to the presence and action of God within."

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The act of self-emptying through letting go of thoughts and returning to the "sacred word" has helped me to be more peacefully present in general. I sometimes like to pair this with a mantra, like the Jesus Prayer, which I'll say while going about my day. In CP the sacred word is only returned to when you sense that you are lost in thought, whereas the mantra is more rhythmic and consistent. I also like Ram Dass's mantra "I am Loving Awareness." I got into the groove with that at Phish on NYE!

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