The Welcoming Prayer
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it’s for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,
situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and
God’s action within.
Prayer by Father Thomas Keating
Sometimes in life there are things we don’t want to see, things we don’t want to acknowledge, things we can’t accept and don’t want to deal with. But often our emotions about those same things keep us from being free, whole persons. We can spend a lot of time and energy in denial, anger, or swimming in fear. We can become paralyzed. We can alienate ourselves from others.
When we welcome our experience, as our experience, we are more in touch with reality. Practicing The Welcoming Prayer is about changing our inner state, no matter what we are dealing with in the outer world. It’s not about welcoming injustice or illness. It’s about becoming more fully aware of and accepting our negative or positive feelings as reality.
The steps are:
1. Focus and sink in: Notice your feelings (physical sensations) and emotions.
2. Welcome: Say “welcome [feeling/emotion]” – stay with this until you are not resisting the experience
3. Let go: Say “I let go of my [feeling/emotion]” or “I give this to God” or slowly read The Welcoming Prayer above to help you let go.
The more you do this practice, the easier it will become to drop into a more centered, peaceful experience of your life. You can do this in a designated time for meditation, but you can also do it when you are at work or at home or out and about.
This kind of prayer has long roots in various religious traditions. In Christianity it has roots in an early 18th century spiritual work by Jesuit priest and spiritual director, Father Jean Pierre de Caussade called Abandonment To Divine Providence. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh teaches similar meditation techniques.
If you find this kind of spiritual practice helpful, it, along with other practices, are described in Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.
Image: “Open Road” by Daniel D’Auria