Centering Prayer at Center For The Working Poor in 2014
Monday evenings you will find a group of 5-12 people sitting silently, with eyes closed, in the living room of the Center For The Working Poor. Centering Prayer, a meditation practice rooted in the Christian contemplative tradition, was developed by Fr. Thomas Keating, a Benedictine monk. His organization, Contemplative Outreach, teaches Centering Prayer through classes and retreats worldwide.
Although the practice is rooted in Christianity, our group has been blessed to have attendees from various faith traditions, and we value the interspiritual perspective. Our meetings typically start with a community dinner and 20 minutes of reading from a book about spirituality or contemplative practice, followed by 20 minutes of meditation and an open time of sharing our personal experiences and resonating with one another. We have a small but committed core as well as many random attendees- you never know who’s going to show up at Centering Prayer. Mark Infusino and former Center resident Susan Lawrence in particular have done much to sustain the group and help keep it running.
In the past year, we have also started a monthly trip to La Casa de Maria, a retreat center founded by renegade Catholic nuns near Santa Barbara. There we have a half-day of silence and Centering Prayer followed by a group outing to the beach or a local cafe. Most practitioners of Centering Prayer tend to be 50 and older, and our group is one of the youngest affiliated with Contemplative Outreach. The women at La Casa are always happy to see “the kids,” as they call us, despite that fact that most of us are in our 30’s.
This fall we hosted a contemplative retreat in Lake Arrowhead where we were joined by some members of Tribe LA, the church that Paul attends. Everyone was grateful for the opportunity to learn and deepen their practice while spending time in the fresh mountain air.
The format for our meetings is based in part on 12-step programs, and we’ve had a few friends of the Center take the format and start groups in other cities. We’ve also brought it back full circle by launching False Selves Anonymous, a new 12 step group emphasizing contemplative practices and interspiritual wisdom. We’ve introduced FSA at Transform and Wild Goose Festival, two progressive Christian conferences, and received much interest and positive feedback. Between the Centering Prayer and False Selves Anonymous formats, we now have people running groups in 6 different cities in the US and Canada.
January 22nd, 2018
It is amazing that the Trump election and inauguration was over a year ago. The Center for the Working poor (aka the Center), has been dramatically affected by these cycles of Trump and the protest movement. In the weeks after … Continue reading
January 9th, 2017
Many have asked how I am feeling after Trump was elected to President of the US. The largest natural disaster in my lifetime just hit my community. It reminds me of both the day after my father died in my … Continue reading
August 5th, 2013
You may find the original article in Yes! Magazine or read the full text below. It was also published on Truthout.org. Click Here to Kick Glenn Beck Off the Air: Web Activism’s Big Wins—and What to Do Next Monday, 24 … Continue reading
August 5th, 2013
I wrote this article with my brother Mark Engler about strategy in the movement to combat climate change. It was published in Dissent magazine and Truthout.org. You can read the complete article below or read it on Truthout.org: Climate of … Continue reading
December 18th, 2012
Dear Friends, In our journey to build a more just, a more democratic, and a more sustainable world, there are many challenges: cynicism, fear, despairs. But this holiday season, we are lifted up by the words Dr. Martin Luther King … Continue reading
December 17th, 2012
The Center for the Working Poor, (aka the Burning Bush Community), continues to share in the wonderful mix of serving the poor, communal living, prayer and meditation, and nonviolent movement organizing that distinguishes our beautiful home. In addition to delivering … Continue reading
November 5th, 2012
By Isabelle Nastasia The impact of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission allowing unlimited and anonymous campaign spending has been profound and could yet be decisive in this election. With an estimated $9.8 billion … Continue reading
December 15th, 2011
By Paul Engler Every once in a while, a rare and special moment comes when you realize that you are doing more than turning out for just another protest. Instead, you realize that you are in the middle of true … Continue reading