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20 Min Introduction to Centering Prayer & Meditation
If you are new to the practice, or just want to freshen up, this Podcast is a great place to start!

The Welcoming Prayer: Saying Yes to Daily Life (3.13.2017)

  • This one is pending on Insight Timer, but should be available soon.  The welcoming prayer is a practice of accepting whatever is arising in the present moment as a way of opening to the presence and action of God, a means of saying yes to divine grace in every circumstance and situation.  It is a helpful addition to a regular meditation or contemplative prayer practice that brings an active willingness to consent into daily life.

Prayer Into Sleep & Prayer Into Sleep II – (3.313.2017)

  • Both of these are adaptations of the Examen, developed by St. Igantius of Loyola in the sixteenth century.  The first one includes an explanation of the history and theology of the prayer.  The second version skips the intro and includes longer periods of silence for contemplation.

Three Doorways to God: Body, Breath, Sacred Word – (3.13.2017)

  • A guided meditation in which the breath, the body, and the use of a sacred word are explored as three doorways into the divine silence.


Weather on the Mountain – 4/21/2016

Consider the difference between our true nature in relationship to God, and the “weather patterns” of thoughts, emotions, memories, and anxieties that seem to constantly bombard us.

“Reawakening Our Conscience in the Jubilee Year of Mercy”
Retreat for the Deacons of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, SD, at the Abbey of the Hills Retreat Center.
April 8-10, 2016
The following four conferences were presented at the retreat organized around the theme of mercy.


This is a talk that I gave to the participants who will be traveling on immersion trips in January through St. Thomas’s VISION program.  The talk and guided meditation are based upon the poem “For the Traveler” by John Donahue.

“Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.” This week we reflect on this quote from Fr. Gregory Boyle, and consider the relationship between compassion, contemplation, justice, and awe.

We discuss the four moments of centering prayer (especially “unloading” and “evacuation”), and how they lead to the eventual healing and integration of what Carl Jung would call our “shadow side.”  Keep listening for a short and insightful discussion among the participants about the meaning of healing and integration.

An invitation to reflect upon how our experience of “doing” and “accomplishing” might be different if we also set aside some time intentionally “not doing” and “not striving.”

“The real secret to handling the demands upon you is possessing inner peace. No matter what the problems, the tensions, the pressures, one can only help oneself by thinking clearly and calmly and resolutely. This cannot be done without inner peace, born of prayer, especially to the Holy Spirit, in search of light, inspiration, and courage” (from Fr. Ted’s autobiography, God, Country, Notre Dame).

We reflect on Rumi’s poem, “The Guest House,” and the practice of meeting the full range of our experience “at the door laughing” – even the difficulties, stresses, and anxieties.

I facilitated a workshop on Mindful Leadership for the Fall 2015 Leadership Initiative, an annual event for student leaders at the University of St. Thomas.  Part I discusses the need for Vision and Stamina to support effective leadership, then moves into a general introduction to mindfulness, and concludes with a 15 minute guided breathing meditation.  If you are more familiar with mindfulness, but want to hear about harnessing it toward leadership development, you may enjoy Part II.

Run Time: 1 hr, 10 min

In Part II, I explore how mindful leadership development differs from typical leadership development programs.  I claim in particular that mindfulness supports the following three essential components of effective leadership: 

(1) A focus on the leader’s Integrity and Presence (rather than technique, information, or data);
(2) Oriented toward the Present Moment (rather than dwelling in the past or trying to control future events); and
(3) A focus on Non-Striving and Non-Attachment by staying present to process (rather than persuasion and attachment to particular outcomes).

Run Time: 50 min

Dwelling on the past tends to produce depression.
Dwelling on the future tends to promote anxiety.
Dwelling in the moment is the only place to access peace, contentment, and serenity.
How does our sacred word help us to access the divine serenity available in every moment?

“Balance in the body is the foundation for balance in life” (B.K.S. Iyengar).  By bringing gentle attention to the body during our practice it becomes easier to say yes to God and to all of life with our whole being.  By consenting to God’s presence and action within and to our experience we are able to integrate head, heart, and body. 

What does it mean to refer to our sacred word as a “symbol”? In this reflection we consider the ways in which our sacred word acts as a symbol for and guide toward our deeper spiritual aspirations. Ultimately, our sacred word is a symbol of our desire to achieve union with God.

This podcast invites us to access and live out of a deeper sense of our true self. How does the “self” that we construct and use on social media relate to our “true self” that we access during Centering? And how do we find creative ways to live out of that true self, or the divine presence within, in our everyday lives – whether we are using social media or any of our daily tasks?

Following the wisdom of Thomas Merton, Parker Palmer, and others, we explore the relationship between contemplation and the struggle to work with our own personal imperfections and to rectify injustice in the world. Explore how the practicing of letting go frees us to act without expectation, seek justice, and do God’s will in the world.

Explore the way in which the continual practice of letting and returning to the sacred word facilitates our entry into deeper states of rest for both mind and body. These deeper states also create space for the work of grace and ongoing transformation.

Discussion of how to mindfully and prayerfully move from the period of sitting in silence back into our regular lives with greater intention. This podcast includes a guided meditation at the end that unifies the breath with the mind, body, spirit, and sacred word, to facilitate the process of bringing our experience of silence with us back into our routines.

I flub my way through a joke, and then reflect on the significance of laughter, humility, and levity as one advances in the spiritual life and the practice of Centering.

Explore the intentions that bring us into Centering Prayer & Meditation, or any practice of contemplation, and how our intentions becomes gradually purified and focused through ongoing fidelity to our practice.

In this practice session, I reflect on St. Paul’s comment in Philippians 2:6 that Jesus “did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped at” as a model for the continual return to letting go and the cultivation of a non-grasping mind in Centering Prayer.

Consider the nature of Centering Prayer as entering into an interior pilgrimage of discovery of self and God.

A reflection on Max Erhman’s poem, “The Desiderata,” in which we are encouraged to follow our sacred word into the peace available amid the noise and chaos of our daily lives.

A reflection on Thomas Merton’s letter to Dorothy Day discussing the importance of persevering in letting go, in honor the 100th birthday anniversary of Merton.

Or you can subscribe to the official Podcast for the Project for Mindfulness & Contemplation (which includes all of my talks, plus additional guided mindfulness meditations, loving-kindness meditations, and others).

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  1. Recent Offerings: Free Guided Meditations | Thomas J. Bushlack, Ph.D. March 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    […] As mentioned in a previous post, I have been creating an uploading guided meditations to Insight Timer, the world’s largest free meditation app.  It’s been fun and inspiring to see what other teachers are uploading to learn how to make these more high-quality and professional-sounding.  But I also wanted to offer these meditations through my website.  (You can also check out all the free meditations available on the Podcasts page.) […]

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