I know we shouldn't judge our experience in centering prayer and I don't mean this in the way of judging but only by way of talking about the journey I wanted to share this. Being on retreat and with the long periods of prayer at times gave me a totally different cp experience. Sometimes I felt so attentive to my hp and so aware when thoughts began creeping in, and the returning to that attentiveness using my sacred word. Those experiences were great! We would all walk out of the prayer room and be able to look outside seeing the crisp snowy mountains, the clouds and blue sky. It was obvious everyone in the room had similar experiences that arose from the silence. We were surrounded by all this beauty!
Now that I'm back in my everyday routine my prayer seems less rich, more crowded with thoughts, and often I can't believe how long I go before I even realize I've been engaged in the thought. Sometimes too, I feel like I'm just repeating my sacred word over and over again, almost like I'm not aware I'm saying it, and continue to engage in the thought. It was disappointing at first because I wanted to be able to keep what I had there. I think I've noticed this before but more so this year.
My first thought was do I need to do four hours of sits a day to get anywhere? I do have a job and a life too (sarcasm). I'm beginning to realize what Thomas means about developing a friendly attitude to my thoughts. They're an integral part of the prayer. How friendly can I be to my prayer practice just the way it is? Can I let go of the attachment to what I experienced on retreat??
Dave from Denver