Customer Reviews

56
4.7 out of 5 stars
The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God
Format: HardcoverChange
Price:$18.93 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
In the interests of full disclosure, let me say right away that I played a small role in editing The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God and have assisted David Frenette for the past three years with a regular retreat that he gave based on the material in this book. However, the reason that I have chosen to be involved with David's work is that I find his approach to be the most helpful I have encountered in terms of providing practical guidance for the experienced centering prayer practitioner and I wanted to play a role in disseminating his teachings. I am a trained spiritual director with thirteen years of experience, I have taught at Union Theological Seminary and have led a weekly centering prayer group for the past six years.

Centering prayer is a method of silent contemplative prayer that comes out of the teachings of the Christian tradition. In the fourteen years that I have been practicing centering prayer, I have found that there is a wealth of material out there for the beginning centering prayer student and many good books on the theological background of the prayer, but it is more difficult to find help for the experienced practitioner. When I heard David Frenette speak for the first time four years ago, I knew I had finally found the teacher I had been looking for. David has been practicing and teaching centering prayer under the guidance of Thomas Keating for over 25 years and he has a great gift for describing the subtle interior experience of the prayer. The experience of sitting in silent contemplation can be very hard to talk about, even for those who have been practicing for a long time. David is very good at describing and addressing concerns and problems that may arise. I believe that the qualities that I have appreciated in his spoken teaching are very present in this book.

Thomas Keating in his classic Open Mind Open Heart mentions that centering prayer may be practiced using several different forms of the sacred symbol: the sacred word, the sacred breath, the sacred glance, or the sacred nothingness. However, almost all teachers of centering prayer focus entirely on the sacred word and often do not even refer to the other symbols. In the first part of The Path of Centering Prayer, David expands in very practical detail on the use of each of these sacred symbols, discussing how each may be suited for different people at different seasons of the spiritual journey. Those who have been using the sacred word may find their practice enriched and refreshed when they experiment with another of the sacred symbols, or may even find that their practice has naturally evolved into the use of one of the other symbols and that David's teachings may help to illuminate and affirm this natural evolution. The sacred word may sometimes come to feel a little bit harsh or overly conceptual, and the use of the other symbols may provide a valuable opportunity for the deepening of the practice.

The second part of the book looks at eight contemplative attitudes: receiving, consent, simplicity, gentleness, letting go, resting, embracing, and integrating. These attitudes represent subtly different ways of being in the prayer that allow one to relate to the sacred symbol more and more deeply. David describes in these chapters how one may move from a more active disposition into an attitude in which one is completely receptive to God's action. David has a very gentle way of describing the prayer in these chapters that conveys the feeling of being in the prayer. There is always tension involved in trying to explain contemplative prayer, a non-intellectual way of being, in words and concepts. I find that David's approach allows me to remain in a contemplative mode without leading me away from the contemplative space.

Since I came to David's work as a more experienced practitioner of the prayer, it's harder for me to address how this book will be received by less experienced practitioners. It is meant to be a guide for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. I know that there have been beginning practitioners on the retreats who have very much enjoyed them. David's approach seems to me to be very respectful of the different places where people are in regard to the prayer. I believe that David always speaks up to his audience, never down. Newcomers may often understand the prayer very deeply and may appreciate being invited into the richness that this book offers.

The Path of Centering Prayer is full of stories from David's experience and quotations from the spiritual classics that help to bring it to life. David's teachings come out of himself, his long practice of the prayer, and his rootedness in the tradition of the prayer. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to go more deeply into this method of contemplation. Because of its very detailed and practical discussion of contemplative prayer methods, it may also be of interest to non-Christian practitioners of meditation and prayer.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The Path of Centering Prayer is a MUST read for anyone with an established practice of Centering prayer or anyone who wishes to develop one. This is one of the finest books on Centering Prayer and takes those of us who have been long time practitioners to the next level. I recommend this book without reserve...READ IT! mary d
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have read and reread Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault and found it a great book for someone who has practiced Centering Prayer for a while 'The Path of Centering Prayer" goes another step for the experienced practitioner. After the first reading I feel I have only skimmed the surface of what Mr. Frenette has said; the book deserves subsequent readings. As I read I get the feeling of walking down a spiral staircase deeper into the practice to help me rise above where I am currently in my practice. Mr. Frenette's teachings are accessible and the "Path of Centering Prayer" is a marvelous invitation to deepen your Centering Prayer practice. I highly recommend this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is beautifully written from the author's personal experience of contemplative prayer over several decades.

The first part discusses the basic practice of centering prayer, and then moves to the subtler areas of deepening contemplative prayer. It addresses common problems of the practitioner, and the author offers practical detailed advice with case studies from his former students and spiritual directees.

The second half of the book I think is most exquisite. The author discusses the contemplative attitudes, or perhaps one could say the fruits, of contemplative prayer that are revealed in daily life and how to foster them. Such qualities as simplicity, gentleness, letting go, resting in God, embracing, and finally integrating one's experience of prayer into one's daily life, are spoken of as possible to attain through fidelity to prayer. Lest you wonder if these lovely attitudes really can be developed through prayer, one needs only to study with David Frenette to experience the fruit of his own prayer as he is a living embodiment of what he writes about. The beauty is that he addresses not only in delicate detail the process of prayer itself, but how the earnest practice of contemplative prayer transforms the practitioner from the inside out. His encouraging and personal style is inspiring to the reader. This is a book to read slowly and to savor, and gives one much hope for the joys to come through faithful practice of prayer.

A helpful guide for the beginner to get started on solid ground, and a unique treasure of a guide for the more mature practitioner of contemplative prayer. Highly recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
David is a remarkable teacher. He has taken Thomas Keating's work out into the world and experimented with how to make this teaching accessible to more people. This book is the culmination of a life lived in dedication to the movement of the spirit. Especially if you don't have the opportunity to experience David's teaching in person, I highly recommend this book.

Julie Saad, Coordinator
Contemplative Outreach of Colorado
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
To anyone wising to improve or to start the practice of prayer, especially centering prayer, this book is the answer to your wish. The book provides easy to understand steps to start and deepen this practice. I bought it to improve my practice of centering prayer and found general advice about praying.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
An excellent guide for those wishing to learn about the contemplative tradition of Christian prayer. The author also gives advice for those who have been doing Centering Prayer and would like advice from an expert on getting through dry periods when prayer seems difficult.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As a long-time contemplative prayer practitioner, I've read many books on the subject. Frenette's is in a class by itself, particularly for the experienced practitioner. I most appreciated his exposition of "Sacred Nothingness" which goes a long way toward illuminating Christian contemplative prayer as a means of self-emptying and opening to the Divine as the boundless and beyond grasping Presence within which we "live, and move, and have our being".

After my first reading, I immediately read it again, being even more impressed by the depth, warmth, and clarity of David's words. Then I ordered a second copy to loan to friends. Thomas Keating's assessment that this is "the best, most comprehensive, and practical book on centering prayer" says it all.

Buy it. Read it. Live it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
David's experience and spiritual direction ministry bring known theory to a new and practical dimension. For long time practitioners he offers very helpful suggestions to assist the maturing in their own practice. I am only half way through the book and am advertising it everywhere I go. I am eager to move into the second half of the book where he will further develop notions regarding the dispositions of centering prayer. The book makes a real contribution to the Centering Prayer library ; it is also a real gift to people who are relatively isolated from support groups or distant from educational opportunities beyond earlier formation in centering prayer.
Thank you so much David Frenette
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
For those who have been practicing meditation for awhile this is an excellent book to go further and deeper with your practice.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition
Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition by Thomas Keating (Paperback - November 1, 2006)
$15.66

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault (Paperback - November 28, 2004)
$14.26

Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer
Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating (Paperback - September 1, 2009)
$13.74
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.