Professional success, political activism, and even good health were no longer keeping us centered. My colleagues in communications and I observed ourselves veering from one set of angst whatevers to another. At this stage of life we should be managing more "efficiently," a term we came to revere during our decades striving to get ahead in Corporate America.
No surprise, we went shopping for spirituality. Amazingly, what we wound up consuming was doing the trick. After 18 months of doing cushion time in a Buddhist temple in New Haven, Connecticut, I got the hang of enjoying what I had, not regreting what I didn't. That included my ability to still be a force in my field, one tipped toward youth.
That was then. After I relocated to the Southwest, where there are fresh kinds of professional opportunities, I couldn't find a Buddhist temple where I felt "safe." This week I stumbled into another kind of spirituality. It's "Centering Prayer."
In the Library at St. Philip's in the Hills Church, Tucson, Arizona, mostly Baby Boomers and a few members of Generation X gather on Thursday at 7:00 P.M. There is a bit of socializing. Then, the lights dim and we take a deep dive into meditation for about 25 minutes. After months of being in extreme worry about the future, I was back in the now.
There was light, again. In a number of ways. We took turns reading passages related to Centering Prayer. It was different from Buddhism, in a liberating way.
For example, I didn't have to learn a whole new vocabulary, as in Buddhism. There were no masters. No bowing rituals. No next level in study I had to aspire to and pony up the money to achieve. Yes, it was back to the Beatles' meme of "Let It Be."
For me, Centering Prayer is a keep. I will return to St. Philip's after the Thanksgiving holiday.