February 23, 2024

A Practice: Centering Prayer of Awareness

Awareness is a practice that allows us to train our mind and body, reorienting to the world around us.

Awareness is a practice that allows us to train our mind and body, reorienting to the world around us. We access awareness first through our body, and as we become aware of our body, we can then turn our awareness to our thoughts and beliefs, and then outward towards others. As we become aware of others, we can begin to meditate on needs they may have and hopes we have for them.  This awareness can include the natural world and the needs of our planet. 

As you read through this practice, spend as much or as little time on each question that you need, focusing on ones that stand out as most meaningful to you.

Begin by taking a few deep breaths, calming the body. 

Become aware of yourself: 

  • What are you currently feeling in your body? Consider your five senses (smell, touch, taste, hearing, sight), which bring in outside information, and notice what is happening inside your body (muscle tension, pain, relaxation). Observe these feelings without judging.
  • What is your mind focusing on? Are your thoughts drifting towards something?
  • Observe your emotions. What emotions are influencing your mind and body right now?
  • Take another deep breath and as you exhale, release each of these feelings, thoughts, and observations. 
  • Guide your focus back to your breath. 

Become aware of others:

  • Envision the people closest to you. Consider your connection with each person, beginning with the one that stands out most. 
  • Who makes you smile? Does anyone make you feel tense? How do these relationships influence your life?
  • Take a moment to focus on our interconnectedness with one another.
  • Guide your focus back to your breath as you exhale these reflections.

Offer love:

  • Bring a loving relationship to mind. What do you hope for this person? Is there a need in their life? Offer something you think would help them (love, compassion, joy, wellbeing, healing, provision, kindness). This may look like a prayer or a mantra for you. “I am sending                 to                   .”
  • Bring a challenging relationship to mind. What makes this relationship challenging? Can you envision their perspective? What can you offer this person that can soften the relationship? 
  • Guide your focus back to your breath and breathe out your hopes for them.

Note:  This practice is adapted from the ideas in the Wheel of Awareness.

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