• Reflections by Bob Garbett

Be Still: Centering Prayer


We, as humans, always seek to create an environment where growth will be possible. What we are seeking to do, in effect, is to create ‘the greenhouse effect’. The problem with traditional types or growth models (such as the morning devotion or ”quiet time") is that they are often just the frame work or scaffolding itself. It looks like a greenhouse - yet it isn’t...

It is what takes place within the greenhouse that gives it its very name. If we have learnt anything from nature: it’s that growth always takes place in silence and within a vacuum. Silence doesn't mean 'no activity', it’s just that it’s mostly always hidden. This framework or scaffolding is the twenty minutes we devote each morning to centering or contemplative prayer. The greenhouse effect is the silence within this framework.

We present this silence up to God each morning as an empty space or a vacuum. Whenever an empty space or vacuum is presented to the spirit, it's an irresistible opportunity and it is then that we find ourselves being, and forever becoming, pregnant with untold possibilities and probabilities.

We become still and find ourselves in a position where we know what John of the Cross meant when he spoke of “luminous darkness”. Growth takes place within silence and in darkness. One only has to read the opening chapters of Genesis to see that; “the earth was void (empty) and without form (silent)”. We find ourselves forever becoming the recipients of new life, as the spirit hovers or broods over the silence and darkness we present each morning.

Bob Garbett

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