Roaming thoughts are normal during Centering Prayer.
There’s the way we are, and there’s the way we imagine we can be. Between the two lies a struggle and a dance. If we reject the way we are, we fail to appreciate the immense goodness and potential we already possess. Likewise, if we’re overly attached to what we imagine we can be, we’re never fully grounded in the present - the only place change can take place.
A couple of years ago a friend bought me tickets to what I thought was a traditional writer’s conference, but it was really a Donald Miller conference. Whether through writing, marketing, or inspirational talks, Miller’s whole focus has become to help people live a better story. It’s a noble enough goal.
Take a writer with a gentle sensibility, probing curiosity, and fierce intelligence with, say, a PhD in Creative Writing with a passion for the Christian Mystics, place her, her husband and children in an intentional Mennonite community in rural Ohio full of idealistic vigor, then knead, proof, bake, and cool.
It’s been a trying time. Within my own extended family in the past couple months there has been a failed adoption, several trips to urgent care, a surgery, and a layoff. A line from Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Crossing keeps coming to mind: “Doomed enterprises divide lives forever into the then and the now.”
One of the most well-known and celebrated mystics from the Christian tradition is teacher and preacher Eckhart von Hochheim or Meister Eckhart. He had a wide and varied career, taught some controversial principles, and became touchstone for interreligious dialogue in the 20th century, especially given some of his Neoplatonist teachings.
For some reason, I’ve always been interested in sources of inspiration and creativity – the guy behind the guy in a sense. So if someone is an influential musician, say, I want to know who had influenced them. In college I dug into some of the inspirations for artists like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles, going back into the catalogue of early 20th century masters like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, and so on. I wanted to hear that originating source.