Is Centering Prayer contemplation?

Short answer: no.

Longer answer: it depends on your definition of Centering Prayer and contemplation.

Centering Prayer as taught by Fr. Thomas Keating and his organization Contemplative Outreach is not Christian prayer at all. It is more akin to Buddhist or Hindu meditation.

However, in eastern spiritualities, meditation and contemplation mean the same thing. So you could say that Centering Prayer is contemplation when you look at it from an eastern perspective.

But Christian contemplation is something altogether different from non-Christian meditation. Christian contemplation is a gift God bestows on those who have prepared their hearts through dedication to prayer and surrender to God’s will. You cannot become a contemplative simply by practicing a particular method of prayer.

Want to learn more?

Browse these pages for more details on the problems with Centering Prayer. Start with the Quick Questions to get an overview of the subject. Then use the drop-down menu in the upper right corner or the category links in the sidebar. Learn what the Church has said. Compare it to the teaching of the saints. Or pick up a copy of my book Is Centering Prayer Catholic?