Centering Retreats

I was at a retreat once where they used a pottery wheel to demonstrate how important it is to be centered on God. Participants got to try their hand at throwing clay and keeping it centered on the wheel lest it fall apart.

Another activity involved holding a lump of clay in your hands with eyes closed and forming it into a shape that represented where you thought you currently were in your life.

Another activity involved using paints, paper and other materials to create a work of art that expressed something about yourself and your relationship with God.

This retreat was called a “centering retreat.” I’m wondering if any of these activities had any connection to the dangerous New Age “centering prayer” that has roots in Eastern religions, or if the name is just coincidental. I don’t recall doing any meditation with mantras or anything like that. The emphasis seemed to be about centering yourself on God. There was no mention of “centering prayer” that I recall.

So was it just a nice retreat with an unfortunately controversial title, or was there actually some “New Age-ish” stuff going on? None of it felt creepy.

I’m also wondering about “guided imagery” as a relaxation technique. Not as prayer, but as a cognitive behavioral therapeutic method to calm one’s thoughts and muscles. (Imagining oneself on a warm, sunny beach, for instance). Is it only “New Age” if one uses it as a way to “find the inner god” so to speak?

The Christ Renews His Parish retreats that I’ve been on were centered on the Mass and the Sacraments. You might want to check out a CRHP retreat. Of course, it’s a good idea to find out if the one you plan to attend is run by a priest you trust to be in line with the Pope and the teachings of the Church.

As for the retreat you mention, I personally would not like closing my eyes and molding a lump of clay into some sort of representation of my current relationship with God. I would benefit more from going to Confession and receiving grace that would actually improve my relationship with God!

Drawing or painting on a religious theme with my eyes open would seem better to me. Although when it comes to being an artist, my preferred medium is photography.

Throwing clay on a potter’s wheel would seem like a curiosity, and while it would sound fun, that time would seem to me better spent on making a visit to Our Eucharistic Lord in an adoration chapel. He after all is the potter, we are the clay.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. :slight_smile:

The retreat doesn’t sound very Catholic, and does seem a bit “new age-y” to me. I also believe that it sounds a bit protestant - based more on feelings or emotions than on sound doctrine. I would stick to Catholic retreats where the focus in on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments.

It was at Franciscan monastery and they did have Mass and Reconciliation. I’ve been hearing lately about New Age things creeping into Catholic spirituality, so I was wondering about that aspect of it.

on the spirituality forum centering prayer is a banned topic, if you want more info check out past closed threads on that forum

Ok, thanks.

why are you asking these questions here? How are we supposed to know what you went to? I’m sure there are lots of scams to part you from your money. What did you think this retreat was, going into it?

Because I recently heard a broadcast on Catholic Answers Live about similar things and it got me thinking about it. My understanding is that this forum is a great place to ask questions concerning the Faith and the practice of it.

You’re not. That’s why I provided some description of what I experienced.

I had no idea. I had never been to one before. Why are you so grumpy, Crumpy? Have I offended you in some way? :confused:

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