Centering Prayer and Existential Angst

Q: In part my question relates to receptivity and trusting the process of Centering Prayer.  I have participated in Centering Prayer for the past three years or so.  I‚Äôm 35 years old and have a doctorate degree and work in patient care in a health care field.  However, I have felt unhappy with my career, unfulfilled and completely lost as to what to do about this.  Also, I have been struggling very much with loneliness outside of my work.  I don‚Äôt think this is simply ‚Äúburn out‚Äù as I have had these feelings/frustrations for years, nearly my entire adult life.  I am having difficulty with trying to make decisions on how I can change to feel content, peaceful and know that I‚Äôm on the right track with where I‚Äôm supposed to be with my life.  My concern is the following: ‚ÄúWhat if I persist in Centering Prayer but don‚Äôt receive any tangible guidance, and have time continue to pass but still feel that I‚Äôm unsure of how to change or what to do about these circumstances that have been frustrating me so much?‚Äù I have also wondered more recently if I should make an appointment to talk further with someone about these matters, such as either a counselor or a spiritual advisor such as a priest.

A:  I really think a combination of professional counseling and spiritual direction is very helpful.  They are like the two wings on an airplane ‚Äì if one wing is not balanced the plane will go around in circles.  There is a wise saying:  Counseling brings self-knowledge and above all self-acceptance; spiritual direction bring self-surrender and transformation.  I would suggest you give both a try especially while you are young and not wait.  Your prayer will support you in the process but not give you the answers you are looking for.  God ministers to us in many ways and by many means. – Fr Carl