I watched a talk recently on you tube by Cynthia Bourgeault where she described how a woman she knew said she used centering prayer to still her mind so that an angel could come and give her messages, which happened each time she prayed. Cynthia said she told the woman to be careful as on the reverse side of angels are demons and she reported that in due course the woman did indeed start having terrifying demonic experiences. Of course without knowing the actual woman it's hard to comment on this but I wondered if anyone here has any thoughts to share. I'm not personally experiencing angelic encounters, or anything parading as such, but I am curious about what might have been going on in this case and any broader questions it may raise.
Thoughts can be of different origins, but are usually produced within our own consciousness. Sometimes they might very well originate from God or angels -- usually a kind of "knowing" that seems to convey a sense of confidence in the message. Still, we have a right to question or test these messages; that's part of discernment.
I think what Cynthia was advising is true to the practice of centering prayer, where one is discouraged from getting involved with any kinds of thoughts, positive or negative. CP is about opening oneself to God's presence beyond thoughts, concepts, feelings, images, etc. What goes on after the prayer period is a different matter, however, as the flow of though usually returns, to some degree.
Hope this helps.
Hi Phil. Thank you, that sounds like a balanced take on this, which is helpful.
I think I understand what you're saying about the sense of 'knowing' too. I imagine there can sometimes be quite a struggle going on as a person learns to trust this sense by testing it out, or at least it could feel like a struggle. Maybe there can be a kind of 'growing pains'?
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