Cynthia Bourgeault speaks of Centering Prayer as a practice of kenosis. A practice of surrendering one’s thoughts through the use of the centering word.
Richard Rohr and Jim Finley are both slightly more pragmatic – it is an opportunity to encounter failure and keep on trying.
James Alison would frame it as allowing our desires to be shaped by the desires of God.
How one understands what happens is almost immaterial. It remains true for most of us that for the vast majority of time we cannot sustain not getting caught by any particular thought for a 20 minute period.
We can try, and the attempt is valuable. It is in the attempt that consciousness is rewired. All we can do is to show up and try. The rare occasion it actually does give way to contemplation is not in our hands to achieve. All we can do is place ourselves in the path of least resistance.
It occurs to me that perhaps love between two people is not dissimilar (and I mean any kind of relationship from close friendship to spouse). In recent years I have made a commitment to be as honest as I can be in my close friendships. The result is not always comfortable.
What is most evident is how often misunderstanding and miscommunication are in play. The attempt to show up as most fully myself is a business of trial and plenty of error.
Mostly I fail.
But the attempt to show up is the act of love.
There is miscommunication and there is misunderstanding, but if we are both able to presume generosity of spirit, then all is grist to the mill.
The me that is showing up is not the socially conditioned me, it is version of me which is closest to my True Self as I am capable of today. I’m not sure there is anything else.
I’m grateful to those those who have been willing to enter this space with me. And I am grateful that occasionally it does break open into a feeling of loving and being loved.