The Welcoming Prayer

In her book, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, Cynthia Bourgeault devotes a chapter to The Welcoming Prayer. The welcoming prayer was written by Mary Mrowzowski and popularized by Father Thomas Keating. It has been described as "consent-on-the-go."

The steps are simple. When we feel a strong emotion, be it positive of negative:
1. Feel and sink into what you are experiencing this moment in your body.
2. “Welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.
3. Let go by saying “I let go of my desire for security, affection, control and embrace this moment as it is.”

You can learn more about the prayer, it's history, and it's practice on the Contemplative Outreach website.

In Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, Bourgeault recognizes this practice as particualrly useful in breaking a pattern/cycle of behaviors in which we often find ourselves.

As we engage people and life, we find ourselves being triggered by certan circumstances and behaviors based on what our "emotional programs for happiness" are (the need for power/control, esteem/affection, and/or security/survival. When we feel that building frustration, we often give ourselves over to emotional turmoil which can lead to harmful, offending behaviors or withdrawal. However, there is an opportunity to break that loop when we start to feel the frustration rising (5A) above. We can take the opportunity to practice the welcoming prayer and step outside of the vicious cycle.

Have you ever tried this practice? What was your experience?

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