I just read Fr.
Open Mind, Open Heart book. What should I do during the night,
while lying in bed, and I find myself with a bunch of general
thoughts going on, as well as "engaged" thoughts? I tried using a
sacred word when I found myself with an engaged thought, but then
the action(s) made me more awake, and I was up for an hour or more
trying to fall back to sleep.
A: Thank you for your question. Yes, the night is a
very common time for our busy thoughts to reassert themselves. They
either have been on our mind throughout the day and then get our
full attention at night, or, because we are relaxed, they float to
the surface of consciousness. One thing is for sure, these thoughts
are things that we have on our mind. If you fight them, you lose.
The first thing I would recommend is to have a friendly attitude
toward them. Don’t fight them; they are just part of our human
Second, be faithful to your Centering Prayer practice during the
day but, especially in your case, do not practice Centering Prayer
with the intention to get rid of thoughts at night, but practice it
to consent to God’s presence and action in what you are
Third, you may try an active prayer phrase (see the appendix in
the back of
Open Mind, Open Heart). I have developed the practice of gently
praying, “Lord Jesus Christ be my life breath” in rhythm with my
breathing. It is like spiritual white noise as I listen to my
breathing. It helps to release thought patterns and create new ones.
If thoughts trigger emotional reactions, memories, or body
sensations, the Welcoming Prayer practice may be useful during these
Fourth, prepare for the night like you do for the day. Create a
pattern of prayers, reflection and space to celebrate the day and
prepare for the night, e.g., practice some sort of night prayers or
Remember, it is not an effort of no thoughts, but one of letting
go of thoughts.
Looking forward to hearing back from you. - Blessings, Fr Carl.
(From CO e-News
Bulletin, June 2018)