Q: I practice Centering Prayer and recently a friend asked me to explain the difference between it and mindfulness meditation. I replied that the difference was in intent – Centering Prayer is consenting to God’s presence and action in my life and mindfulness is seeking personal improvement, such as stress reduction. But she said she was asking about the differences in the practices themselves. I found this hard to articulate and wonder if you can refer me to a good source or answer yourself.
A: On a number of occasions I have tried to answer this question by researching exactly what the mindfulness practice is, but there are so many different versions. Your answer to your friend was perfect. Centering Prayer is a prayer of consent and intention, one that is both a relationship and a discipline for opening to the presence and action of God within. I would suggest that your friend research mindfulness practices herself and then have a conversation with her. In the meantime, refer her to the Centering Prayer brochure which clearly outlines both the method and its intention.
Discover the gift together.
– Fr. Carl