Friday, February 23, 2007

How Can I Be Centered?

Yesterday I received the following email from someone who receives my daily thoughts.

I was wondering if you could recommend a good read for finding some personal centeredness. Lately I feel like my days don't really belong to me. I feel like I'm just getting through them to get me to the weekend, so I can sleep in. I guess I'm feeling disconnected. I usually read for entertainment, but now I am wanting something a little more thought evoking.

Here is my response..... Welcome to the club! Most of us feel like you do at least some of the time. In the monastic life they even have a name for it. They call it "acedia". It's basically a boredom with the mundane routine of daily life. I am nearly 56 years old and I often feel like you do now. There are meditation and prayer techniques that if practiced over a period of time will bring a calming effect to a person. One such type is called Centering Prayer. Such meditation, however, is not intended as a relaxation technique although over time it will have that effect. You can find out more about this way of praying at

I don't know you really well so I'm not 100% sure if you're an introvert or an extrovert. Well, I am an off the chart introvert so I frequently withdraw into myself. Some people actually imagine a secret place, like a garden, within themselves where they can go to be refreshed and renewed. Sometimes I must simply find some solitude where I can be alone and get away from the demands of everyday life. Even Jesus had to do this once in a while.

Modern life poses many challenges. Some of my recent daily thoughts describe my own struggles. Modern life is hectic and many of us feel frazzled. We are all trying to find meaning and significance in the things we do. I recently recommended a book to someone else entitled Discovering the Enneagram. It is written by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert. The Enneagram is a fascinating dynamic that has helped me tremendously in my life. When I realized who I really was and why I act the way I do it was an epiphany. I now have a better sense of when I am acting in a dysfunctional way. Some of our personal angst is because of who and what we are and the ways we react to life. Along with this book, you might want to check out the information also available at

Finally, I would recommend a book by Dianne Aprile entitled Finding a Heart for God. It is a book about what it's like to make a retreat in a monastery. Although I didn't write this book I am proud of it because I am in the book. There are no magic bullets for being centered. There are a lot of things that help me stay centered. These were a few.

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