33 Practice: Centering Prayer with Mystic Soul (Alexis Francisco & Cicia Lee)

In this practice, you’re joining Alexis Francisco and Cicia Lee for the meditative experience of Centering Prayer. They describe it as a constant practice of letting go of factors we can’t control in order to get our egos out of the way and be able to show up well to our lives and our work.

Origin: Centering Prayer practice is said to be created by Trappist monks in fairly recent history, and draws on a rich lineage in Christian mysticism, particularly in the catholic tradition in Europe through St. John of the Cross, and Teresa of Avila. Primary among these historical lineages is that of the Black tradition of the desert fathers and mothers, religious communities of African Christians who sought to build alternative communities outside of empire, who refused to be ruled and corrupted by the lies and compulsions of the world, and sought a lifestyle devoted to freedom in Christ, and practices to support that. Though this practice has a clear lineage and is deeply rooted in the Christian mystical tradition, and it is also influenced by Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practices.

Practice instructions begin at around the 10 minute mark. The steps Alexis and Cicia share are:

1) Choose an anchor word for your practice.
2) Settle into a relaxed position and take some deep breaths. Silently introduce your sacred word.
3) When you notice yourself get pulled away by thinking, gently return to your sacred word as a gesture of consent to the presence of God.
4) At the end of your time of prayer, rest in stillness for a few moments before transitioning to your next activity.

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Read the Transcript

About our guests

Our guests all come to us via the Mystic Soul Project. The Mystic Soul Project is creating spaces that center the voices, teaching, practices, and wisdom of People of Color at the intersections of mysticism, activism & healing. More here:

Cicia Lee is an organizer, trainer, and contemplative practitioner. She currently works with Momentum, a training institute and movement incubator supporting organizers across the country to build social movements that can shift the terrain of what's politically possible. She is a 3-wing-4 on the enneagram and a taurus.

Alexis Francisco is an an organizer, educator, and currently serves as assistant pastor at New Day United Methodist Church in the Bronx, New York. Alexis' work focuses on centering spirituality and healing praxis in the work of community building and shifting dynamics of power and oppression in the Bronx, New York City and beyond.

Teresa P Mateus is one of the cofounders of Mystic Soul, a trauma therapist, and a regular on this podcast.

Conversation: “Contemplative Activism”

Check out the corresponding conversation to hear Alexis and Cicia talk about contemplative activism with Teresa P Mateus.

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