Rich Lewis is an author, speaker, and coach who focuses on centering prayer as a means of inner transformation. He teaches centering prayer in both his local and virtual community and offers one-on-one coaching. Rich’s newest book is titled, Sitting with God: A Journey To Your True Self Through Centering Prayer.He publishes a weekly meditation, book reviews, and interviews on his site, Silence Teaches. He has published articles for a number of organizations, including Contemplative Light, Abbey of the Arts, Contemplative Outreach, EerdWord, In Search of a New Eden, the Ordinary Mystic at Patheos, and the Contemplative Writer. Rich has been a daily practitioner of centering prayer since June 1, 2014. Centering prayer has been so life-giving and life-changing that he feels compelled to share his journey with others who wish to learn more. Rich resides with his family in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Learn more about him at www.SilenceTeaches.com.
Brandon Handley 0:40
one. Hey there spiritual dope. I’m on today with rich Lewis. He’s an author, speaker and coach who focused on centering prayer as a means of inner transformation. He teaches centering prayer in both his local and virtual community and offers one on one coaching, which his newest book is titled sitting with God, a journey to your true self through centering prayer. he publishes a weekly meditation book reviews and interviews on his site. Silence teaches, he has published articles for a number of organizations including contemplated flight, Abbey of the arts contemplated outreach aired world. Much I say that right Earth world,
Rich Lewis 1:17
I don’t even know
Brandon Handley 1:19
in search of a new, I can type it but I can’t say in search of a New Eden, the ordinary mystic at patheos. And the contemplate of writer, which has been a daily practitioner centering prayer says June 1 2014, saying prayer has been so life giving and life changing that he feels compelled to share his journey with others who wish to learn more rich resides with his family in Ambler, Pa. And to learn more, check them out at his website. Silent teaches that calm, rich, so glad to be on here today. Thanks for joining.
Rich Lewis 1:51
Great, yeah, thanks for having me. I
Brandon Handley 1:52
appreciate it. Absolutely, absolutely. We were chatting a little bit guys, before we got started here, rich and I aren’t too far apart. And we can actually talk a little bit about doing this in person. just didn’t happen this time. But it’s really cool to know that in my mind, there’s somebody cool doing cool things that’s local, like you are rich. So by that we’re able to connect through through this right? It’s funny because we go to the you know, we go to this, we connected off of a podcast matching site, and we got hooked up locally anyways. I always like to start these off with the whole idea that that we’re vessels for source God, energy, divine creation, and you know, we speak in a way that is speaking to somebody else, right that it’s of service to somebody. So you and I are here for somebody who’s great as good as can be tuned in to the podcast today. And there’s a special message coming through you that can only be delivered through you through this podcast. What’s that message today?
Rich Lewis 2:56
I would say a silent prayer. So many people probably don’t think of prayer as wordless meditation. But I would challenge people to try a different way to pray rather than their prayer with words. I would encourage them to try silent prayer and see how that can help them and transform them and heal them. Cool. I
Brandon Handley 3:19
mean, let’s step into it. Right? So what what is it that got you into new silent prayer? Like what was your journey to finding this space?
Rich Lewis 3:27
Sure. I guess I had always been attracted to silence. I just didn’t know what to do in it. I have read books 2011 2012 gentleman by the name of karma Coleman, I read a number of his books. And he talks a lot about silence and how healing and transforming it was. I don’t remember him sharing a practice in it. I’ve since learned he actually does practice centering prayer, but I don’t remember reading it in his books. But so I would just sit in silence for one to three minutes. And I didn’t really know what I was doing. But I thought well, maybe it’s gonna do something for me. But then in late 2013, I was perusing Amazon looking for a book to read. And I stumbled across a book by Amos Smith called healing the divide recovering Christianity’s mystic roots. So I began reading the Kindle version. And in the book, he talked about a silent prayer practice he had been doing for about 15 years called centering prayer. So I was immediately intrigued, because now I have a practice that I can do in this silence. So that’s how I found silent prayer. And then I literally just reached out to him on his website, we began a back and forth email dialogue. And we’re actually friends at this point, and I’ll say it’s his fault that I wrote the book too, but it’s a good fault. But um, so I read about centering prayer in his book, and then I just began reading other centering prayer practitioners books out there and I and really the best way to do it, though is is to begin practicing so I began seriously practicing it in June of 2014. So that’s real. So I really stumbled upon It I guess, internally, I knew I needed to do something. I just didn’t know what it was. And then it found me in his book on Amazon.
Brandon Handley 5:12
Like, you were already searching for something. Do you have an idea? Like, you know, you’re you’re already attracted to the silence, you are already practicing this somewhat centering prayer in silence. What was it? You think that led to to even that space? Right? What was it that was making you explore the silence? Then what? What made you? Why do you feel like you were seeking? Do you have an answer? Something that
Rich Lewis 5:42
I think I just wanted to a deeper relationship with God, I think I just thought I wasn’t doing all I could do. And there was, there was more to what my current spirituality looked like, and that it lacked depth. And it needed more depth than it needed. It needed more trust and faith in God. So I was just missing something. But I didn’t know what it was.
Brandon Handley 6:11
I like that. What What do you feel? So what was your practice at the time that you kind of fell into this?
Rich Lewis 6:21
At the time? I guess I would, yeah, I read the Bible. And I read a lot of books by different I was kind of exploring, so I was reading a lot of different authors, and books on Christianity and on Jesus, and he, some of them just maybe more scholarly in terms of who is Jesus? And what did he do? When did he did he really exist? And what are the what are some of the things that he did? So I was doing a lot of that, and then it was mostly verbal prayer. And it’s a time right now in in between churches, but at the time, I was going to the United Church of Christ, which was is a non denominational Protestant church. So I was enjoying it. But I guess I just felt that there was something missing. But I didn’t know what it was. I think I was just exploring, like, I’m not completely whole, I’m not completely happy with where I’m at, not unhappy and unhappy with God. But I figured there had to be more depth to this. And there had to be just something more to what I was doing.
Brandon Handley 7:25
You had a strong framework within Christian religion. You were just looking at where could you fill this in? And you found it, you found some of the fill in through your inner inner seeking, right, and then somebody inner seeking, and I think that’s really cool that right, you found what it was that you were looking for, in the centering prayer. And through I guess it sounds like you went through Christianity, mythic, mystic roots. Right. I’d love to hear some more on that to just kind of, you know, what that looks like. And sounds like centering prayer was a part of some of the mystic routes. Is that fair to say? Yeah,
Rich Lewis 8:10
I guess it would be because if you’re referring to the book, so Amos Smith’s book, recovering Christianity, healing, the divide, recovering Christianity’s mystic roots. In his book, really, two things jumped out at me one, one was centering prayer and a practice and a lot of talk about silence. And that’s silent prayer, went all the way back to Jesus, and then came forward, you know, through the desert, mothers and fathers and just through all kinds of people up until up until the present. And then he and he also talked the other sets. The second thing that jumped out at me in his book was he just talked, he called it the Jesus paradox, Jesus being God and human at once. And that just intrigued me how he talked about that, that it was at once Jesus was God inhuman, and that he wasn’t just human, and he wasn’t just divine, but he really was both. And then that we, we too are, we have divinity in us. We’re not God, but the divine image is within us. And we’re human. So like, Jesus, we are human and divine, but with a little D, as he called it,
Brandon Handley 9:15
for sure, for sure. I mean, that makes sense. I mean, I don’t think, you know, my personal take would be, you know, there’s really no capital letters within the divine when it comes into that, right you either you kind of recognize that spark or you don’t, right, and you feel it and it sounds to me like you, you kind of hit on this space through your centering prayer where it just kind of like you said, You felt the word that I was used as numinous and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that word, right? You felt like that kind of overcome and touching? connection, stronger sense of connection with your spiritual self. And then you’re like, I gotta go tell everybody about this. Right? You got to let everybody You know, because you found a way that resonated with you. And I also like the idea to, you know, kind of what your what what you seek is seeking you like you were looking for an answer, right? You were looking for something and then you found it and you’ve really kind of grabbed hold of it, because you’ve contacted the author and now you’re part of like the you’re part of a community of the centering prayer thing. Right that I know, I’ve never heard of it, but it’s probably a big part of your world right now. Can you tell me a little bit about what that can be?
Rich Lewis 10:27
Sure, well, centering prayer. So I’ll give you some of the history of it. And that’ll give you some of the background. So centering prayer was created in the early 1970s. It was actually three Trappist monks, so three Catholic priests. So actually, father, William managers discovered the method in a book called The Cloud of Unknowing. And then because at the time, Thomas Keating, kind of charged him and basil Pennington with, we need to find something for the Christian community. There’s Transcendental Meditation going on, but there’s really not a silent practice for the Christian community. So father, William manager kind of stumbled across the method in the Cloud of Unknowing of how you do it. So that was in the early 1970s. And then from that point, the three of them really started sharing it with other clergy, and priests. And then they really just began rolling it out to the public. And then in 1984, Thomas Keating, and a couple other folks started what’s called the contemplative outreach organization, which is contemplative outreach.org. So that’s been around since 1984. And that’s really the main centering prayer organization. So if you go to their website, you’ll see a ton of resources on centering prayer. And you’ll also see, right now, it doesn’t matter, because everybody if they’re meeting their meeting, zoom, but pre meeting, prior to COVID, you could find a group in your state. So if you lived in New Jersey, you could go to the site, and you can probably find a group that might practice near you. And you could go there, and to maybe their weekly meetings, or whatever frequency you wanted. Or even internationally, you could go in Italy, and see if there’s a group in Italy or in Spain or Germany. So the main center in for organizations started, I guess you could say, another 10 ish years after centering prayer kind of kicked off, and began. So that’s, I guess, the main communities contemplative outreach, and they began forming chapters throughout all the states and throughout different countries in the world as a way for people to connect with each other. But now you can, you know, connect with with, you could join a zoom group, wherever you want. They’re probably practicing centering prayer for a one hour, they might have a one hour meeting, and they’re meeting and you could probably join them via zoom. And it doesn’t really matter where you live, if they have a zoom link, and you want to join them. So that’s, that’s a little bit about the community there. Yeah, it’s a virtual community now, but it’s also an in person community prior to COVID. And probably as things begin opening up, I’m assuming a lot of the groups will start having in, you know, practice, or meetings, without zoom and in person as well, when they’re more comfortable.
Brandon Handley 13:13
Chris could tell us a little bit a bit about what those in person ones were like prior to COVID.
Rich Lewis 13:18
I actually never went to some of them. Well, no, actually, I take that back, I did, there was a Episcopal group that I found that met near me. So some of them, some of them were short. And I think there were as simple as 30 minutes in the end, they would meet early in the morning before people went to work. The one I went to was on a Sunday, so it was one hour, and they had a little bit of more community with it. So they before before you had your 20 minutes centering prayer sit there was a reading, and then you talked about the reading together. And then you had your 20 minutes set. And then there was kind of a closing reading and then just some community and discussion before everybody disbanded. But some groups I think will time it and they might do it around dinner or for lunch. So they might actually eat a meal together afterwards. So each group is a little bit different. Some are in and out it’s 30 minutes and they’re in and out. Some groups have a call it book ends, they have something to do at the beginning and something to do with the end. And they have maybe a little bit more community around it. So when I went to I guess a little bit more community around it and it was a little bit over an hour
Brandon Handley 14:30
and you said was Episcopalian but I mean is it is it kind of it’s not as as the practice itself nondenominational or anybody’s welcome into this groups.
Rich Lewis 14:38
Yes. Yeah. So then do you think about contemplative outreaches? Yes, I mean, they believe in one in a lot of interfaith dialogue, but to the practice itself is isn’t confined to really any group is anybody can practice centering prayer, and these chapters that are all throughout the states in the different countries. anybody’s welcome even if The church, even if it’s, you know, at a church, it’s Welcome to anybody that wants to come, you don’t necessarily have to be a member of that church to go to the centering prayer meeting, it just so happens that church link themselves up and put themselves on the contemplative outreach website to say, we have a chapter and we’re going to hold our meetings, you know, at the church
Brandon Handley 15:25
a little more inclusive, to be able to just, I mean, churches inclusive, I think in the most part for and they should be. But when you really open it up to everybody like that, to invite everybody into to have this experience and something that can have such powerful impact. Let the way that it’s had on you. Having that be open everybody. I think that that’s that’s wonderful, wouldn’t it now. So you know, what would we? What would our practice look like? Let’s say I’m ready to start rich, and you start to give me the lowdown I want to I want to start my own practice. What do I need? What do I need to start doing?
Rich Lewis 16:00
Sure. So I gave the histories and I want to say, Well, how do you do this thing called centering prayer. So you, you sit comfortably with your eyes closed. And then to begin your centering prayer sets, you introduce interiorly, we call a sacred word of one, two or three syllables. So you might choose God or ocean or Jesus or some type of short syllable word. And that that really signifies your beginning your prayer, and your opening to the presence and actions of God within. And then during the duration of your sets, you can pick, I guess, they generally suggest you work your way up to so eventually, you’re doing a 20 minute set, but in the beginning, maybe you’re doing five minutes or 10 minutes, but whatever, whatever suits you when you best you can best handle if you’re beginning it. But so use your sacred words to begin your prayer. And then whenever you engage your thoughts, your thoughts and what I mean by that is whatever you begin thinking about what you’re doing before your sit, where you begin thinking about what what am I going to do after my sit and what does my afternoon look like, you realize you’re no longer sitting with God, you’re sitting with yourself and your thoughts in your planning and plotting. So you reintroduce that sacred word, just to bring you back to the present, and you let go of all your plotting and planning. And you basically just do that when needed. So it’s not used as a mantra, there are mantra based practices, but centering prayer just uses it when you needed when you engage your thoughts. And the other thing I’ll say is it doesn’t have to be a word I I quickly discovered I was more of a visual person. So I started you I changed to an image and you can use an interior image to bring yourself back to the present. If you’re more of a physical person, you can use your breath and then lastly, some people don’t want to close their eyes or they’re fearful that they might fall asleep. So they stare at a spot three, four or five feet perhaps on the floor just to keep them centered and focused. But essentially that’s that’s how you do the practice. And again you’re not using the sacred word as like as a tennis racket or baseball bat you’re simply using it to come back to the present moment and let go of your thoughts and when you begin engaging them realize you’re not sitting with God anymore that you’re sitting more with yourself and what you are planning
Brandon Handley 18:18
definitely when you when you get started with you know a practice like this when you first start off trying to dedicate any more than five minutes to something in this super busy world where oh my god I should be doing something else right now right I should I don’t have time for this you know five minutes of meditation so are the 20 that you kind of end up at it given whatever you get to like I don’t have 20 minutes for that I got this to do I got that to do I gotta go running off so when you introduce this you know can definitely be definitely be a challenge to to get it initiated so thanks for you know, kind of saying hey, looking at it, start small, work your way up. And then as you’re talking about the sacred word or the visual and essentially what I’m hearing you you’re setting an anchor for yourself for something you can kind of come back to or even like touch base, like a home. Wait there touch base, there’s there. I’m back into I’m back into where I need to be. What would you say for you? What are some of the fruits I guess of centering prayer, Ben for you?
Rich Lewis 19:21
Sure. So we I mean, we enter centering prayer simply because we love God and we want to trust God and just trust the process. And then God seems to bless I would say they’re unique for each practitioner. So when I look back over the years, and look at how have How have I changed. There’s a lot of different ways I’ve changed. I mean one, I think I’m just more excited to live life. I had an excitement for life, but I think I just have a much more excitement for life. I think I’m more present. And what I mean by that is like during centering prayer, if you think about it, you’re letting go and coming back to the present moment. And then because you continuously practice centering prayer day after day, month, after month, year after A year, that let go posture kind of comes with you and your everyday life. So I can let go of things that I don’t need to focus on and honed in on what I need to. So I’m more present in my work, I think I’m more present to people. And I’m more present to my daily tasks. And I’m much more confident person, I get I think the center outside of the center pursuits, I noticed kind of nudges to get outside of my comfort zone, and try and do new things. And then I seem to have wisdom for tasks that kind of pop into my head throughout the day, or things that maybe previously kind of, I didn’t know how to do what I didn’t know how I would, I didn’t know how I would complete the tasks. So it’s great fruits, for me, great fruits for me, and you probably could ask someone else who practices it might tell you some of the same things. And they might tell you a whole lot of other things that how their life has changed.
Brandon Handley 20:58
But not for nothing. These are great lists for right, bountiful abundant if I could, you know, toss some words to it. The love the let go posture. I think that that’s just that’s it. That’s a great, great takeaway there. We talked about being more confident, where do you Where do you think that’s coming from out of this practice,
Rich Lewis 21:19
I would say and that was probably that’s probably I got that’s one of the biggest things for me because I don’t think I was nearly quite know I wasn’t much more confident person. And what I mean by that is I’m doing things that would have scared the heck out of me prior to centering prayer, doing a podcast like this, right, the idea of even writing a book that’s, you know, almost 300 pages, and the daunting task of writing a book and then not only writing it, trying to get a publisher to publish it. Speaking I’ve been doing a ton of just speaking in front of small and large groups right now on zoom, but that that scares the heck out of me. So a whole lot of confidence to speak in front of small and large crowds a whole lot of confidence just to write a book that I know is going to take me a couple of years and then after that know that I need to keep pushing because now I got to find a publisher so I guess I’ll have persistence so not only confidence but persistence that I’m just going to keep going and this books going to get published
Brandon Handley 22:28
you’re stepping beyond currently what you thought was like a safe zone you’re expanding yourself you’re kind of the idea of kind of letting go and let God to like you know, let let that light your way kind of letting go some of the how, as it were, and just you know I think he talks about at the beginning having you know more more faith right What did you say you know, have you previously lacked the spiritual depth, trust and faith and these are things that you have found through your practice and I think that when you find that for yourself when you find that you’re connected deeply with source and spirit and God that you’re no longer just doing it by yourself if that makes sense. Right? Like Hold on a second I don’t have to do this as like rich does that fair to say?
Rich Lewis 23:26
No, it is it is because because if you think my The title of my book is sitting with God a journey to your true self through centering prayer and that’s exactly what I’m doing I’m sitting with God and discover my true self and my and trusting God so that I sit with God then I get up and walk with God and take my true self actions the actions that God and I together are partnering on So prior to centering prayer that you’re right i was i was doing trying to do things as rich Lewis after centering prayer I’m doing things rich and God together partnering so i think i think of as I sit with God and then I get up and walk with God it’s not See you later God and I’ll see what the next set is. No, God comes with me and we partner throughout the day to get what to get done. what needs to get done that day.
Brandon Handley 24:15
Now pass fantastic. And the idea to when you’re talking about getting these wisdoms from for tasks that like you just did kind of just up here. Again, letting go and let God but it also I mean, would you correlate that a little bit to the Akashic records, right? Is that do you feel like that’s kind of where that comes from?
Rich Lewis 24:36
To say that again,
Brandon Handley 24:38
Atlantic Records, are you familiar?
Rich Lewis 24:40
I’m not familiar. I was gonna Okay.
Brandon Handley 24:41
Yes. I mean, you know, there’s there’s this I want to say India, Egypt, predates predates Christianity, for sure. But it’s the whole idea that pretty much all that can be known exists somewhere already, right. And they They call this like the Akashic field. Right? So real similar, though to kind of what you’re doing, like, I don’t even know where this wisdom came from just kind of came to me through prayer through connecting with God through source, that type of thing. So real similar, I didn’t know if you had made that linkage before or not.
Rich Lewis 25:16
I had not. But I mean, that makes perfect sense. Because there’s really all we need is Is there anything you need to do and accomplish is, is there and available? It’s just a matter of being open to it, being open to it and seeing it’s
Brandon Handley 25:30
for sure, for sure. And you know, to that, to that point in degree, right. If you’re not open to it, then you won’t see it. Right. So you what you’ve done too, is you’ve you’ve, you’ve allowed yourself to open up to something, you’ve given yourself a willingness to see what you wouldn’t have seen again, just as Richard Lewis, right, like I’m open to any anything that’s possible. I think that that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s hard to do. Right? What would what would a like, you know, let’s go back to rich Louis 10 years ago, what would he say to the guy that’s talking now?
Rich Lewis 26:15
He may be confused, or she does have a lot of questions or say I had a you do, he’d be asking how do you do what I lacked the confidence and I lacked the wisdom, and I need some help. I want what you have, but I don’t know how to, I don’t know how to do it. And I want to have more confidence and I want to have more guts just to go for things that scare me. So I think that that rich Lewis was afraid to come out of his shell afraid to take chances of afraid to try something new and was worried what other people would think, you know, if I if I tried something, and I look like a fool
Brandon Handley 26:54
that’s powerful, rich, I mean, I think that you know, that mean, right there, you kind of sum up, like the just how far you’ve kind of come along in your own life. And I think that, uh, I think that’s super powerful. What I’m, God got a good question there, too. We’ll come back to it, we’ll get back to it. But so, I mean, I definitely enjoyed I enjoy it. And I think that, you know, you gave us you know, kind of how to get into that space freight and getting there and how we begin the, the, the, the, the contemplated or the silent prayer. What and you mentioned this to you know, sitting with God and your true self what you want to expand on on what you mean by truth. Oh,
Rich Lewis 27:38
sure. So your, your true self, to me is is the person God wants you to be so during centering prayer, that we let you let go, and which can include many thoughts you tell yourself that such as you know, I’m not good enough. I’m too I’m too young to try this, someone more experienced? Should I’m too old to do this, or I’m just no good or I’m a phony. You let go of all the thoughts you tell yourself, and you connect to your true self, which really is God and, and with God, really? You’re unlimited. I mean, if you want to trust God, you can move forward with God and with God’s power. God, I think God is very patient with us and kind of waits for us. And maybe sometimes, baby nudges us, I don’t think he’s, he’s not. He’s not like, super aggressive. I think God’s very patiently waiting for us and maybe sometimes saying, Come on, let’s get going. But he’s going to wait because he knows you’re not, you’re not quite ready. So your true self is like the person God wants you to be the person God knows you can be. And I connect to it through centering prayer, because I let go of who I’m not and connect to. Once I let go of who I am not that I can begin seeing who I am and what I want to do, and the things that God wants me to do.
Brandon Handley 29:00
Question By the way, so the question was, you know, letting go of how people think about you right? Because you were afraid of that and the answer was just there and what you just said it was you connected to the truth of who you are, and you kind of let that stuff go What does that mean what does it look like for you to start to let some of that go I know that you know we can say it’s it’s really interesting because it’s easier to say once we’ve gone through it right like I just I just let it go Yeah, I mean No, it’s I was with God, I was with spirit and everything was cool. I was like, I just let it go. But I think that that’s our hindsight of it now because of where we are versus kind of what it looked like before that before it looked like I don’t think I should this is me anyways is like I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. I don’t know if that’s so good. I’m terrified. I’m gonna go ahead and do it anyways. But then when you find like, when you’re out there speaking in front of these groups when you’re jumping on the pod Cast, when you’re doing all these other things, you find that you don’t catch on fire, you don’t explode. And there’s not that much to fear. And people are actually in my guess, welcoming you here, like they’re hungry for what you’re bringing in them. That’s, is that what your experience has been like? I mean, let’s talk about kind of against stepping through your fear and taking that courage and letting go some of those things that letting go of the who I am not what’s that look like?
Rich Lewis 30:26
No, I mean, it’s it took the whole process took courage, courage, because, you know, I didn’t know, Amos actually kind of he was the one that challenged me to write the book, he thought I had some, we as we had a lot of back and forth dialogue, he thought I had something to say differently than his book. And he’s the one that challenged me to write a book. But that the idea of that, you know, was daunting that how am I going to write a book so that I had to kind of, in my mind, but it actually was funny the way he did it, he said, No, come back to me in about two weeks with what what are your thoughts about the Jesus paradox? What are your thoughts about centering prayer? So I came back to him two weeks later, and then he said, there’s your chapters go, right. But obviously, I’d never written a book. So I decided just to write one chapter and give it to him, and see what he thought. And then to my surprise, he thought he thought it was good and had an interesting take. And then that kind of gave me the confidence that I could, I think I can do this. But now I gotta figure out well, how am I going to do this? So I, I decided to write the book. The book mostly got written on Saturday mornings from six flute or not, I got up and went to the local Starbucks, put on a baseball cap, grabbed my laptop, got a cup of coffee there and wrote for about three to four hours and Saturday morning. So I could come back home, and then really spend the rest of the day with the family who was just getting up. But they come back to the question is, everything I did was scary. And I didn’t know, I didn’t know, I didn’t know the I knew the end result. But I didn’t know how to get there. But I kind of had to teach myself and learn what’s the next step? Because each time you kept you keep taking a step, you know, the path continues to become clear. So I kind of taught myself, Well, how am I going to write a book, I’m going to write it on Saturdays. And then after that, then I had to write a book proposal. Amos kind of gave me a template to use. And then I did the same thing. Saturdays, I wrote, I wrote the book proposal, but then different things like that. And then after doing that, I had to think about how am I going to market the book? I don’t know. So I’m going to start listening to some of the people that know. I listen to some podcasts, and I read some books, and how do you market a book, and then I began putting some of that stuff in play before the book started coming out. Then I realized why I need to do podcasts, and I need to do some guest speaking. So he just kind of take the next step. So each step was scary. In fact, even I did, I finished it about a month ago, but I was doing a phase zoom study for anyone, anyone could come. And it was just a week of chapter by chapter each Saturday, from one to two, I did a kind of a summary of one of the chapters in the book, and then, but it made it real informal conversation. But the idea of that scared the heck out of me, and I made myself do it. So everything I’ve done, I guess you could say I was scared to do, but made myself do it. And then looking back was so glad I did.
Brandon Handley 33:30
who challenged you I mean, didn’t do it in a way that said, Hey, come back and read this whole book. He, again, did a little piece at a time. He came up to you and he said, What are your thoughts on these two subjects? And you gave him a couple thoughts. And then he said, Alright, now you can expand on that. And then, you know, you had your conversation back and forth. And, and he found something that for you. And I think the power of having someone in your corner like that, I think is is something not to be 100% glossed over. I mean, obviously you’ve done the work and you put it all in and you’ve done all these things, but to have just that extra nudge of support and somebody who believes in you, unfortunately, outside of your family, too, right? Because everybody your house loves you, right? We all know everybody like your lovable guy, right? You know, and so the family already loves you and they already it’s getting that outside person to just give you a little nudge, right outside validation. And and you can just begin to always liken it to Oh, ionic propulsion, right? Are you familiar with ionic propulsion?
Rich Lewis 34:46
I’m not on that. So go ahead.
Brandon Handley 34:49
Like I’m not a super scientist, but the idea is that, you know, once you get out of gravity, Earth’s gravitational pull and each time you add a little bit of speed, on top of what you’re doing, it can be the same thrust over and over and over again. But essentially, it compounds throughout time. And essentially you’re going super fast. Because there’s no there’s, there’s no friction in space. So it’s really similar to that you got somebody just giving little nudges, and you’re not really you’re not there, you’re not doing anything faster, you’re just building upon the speed that you’ve already got. Right? So it’s a little bit like that when you’ve got somebody like Amos in your in your corner. And then additionally, when you take each one of those steps, you’re building up momentum, and you’re kind of giving yourself a groundswell and you’re finding yourself in this this again, space to 10 years ago, you’d be yearning to get to. So again, I think this is a massive accomplishment for you. And I think that it’s an exciting time, because my guess is you’re finding a hungry audience, you want to talk to me a little bit about how the audience is receiving this, what some of the response has been, and, you know, how do you feel like you’re helping some people?
Rich Lewis 36:06
Yeah, so a lot of what I’m hearing what they liked about the book was one it was, it was helpful, really, for new people to centering prayer. But it was also helpful for people that were already practicing it because it helped them go deeper in their practice. But I guess what they most liked about the book was that I wrote, I was honest, and I shared my journey. And I shared how it has healed and transformed me. And so there’s a lot of me in there. It wasn’t just a book about God and theology, and how do you do centering prayer, it was a book about, you know, how centering prayer is healed and transformed me and what is, what is a true self, and who is my true self? What are the fruits of the practice for what are the fruits I’ve discovered, so it was a lot of sharing my journey, and how it has healed and transformed me. And people really like that, because it was written in easy to it wasn’t written in an academic style, it was written in a very easy to digest style. So the book that had 14 chapters, and the chapters are fairly short. And then within each chapter, I had various headings. And the sections could be a page to a two pages. So it was a, it was an easy read, and people enjoyed it, enjoyed that. And then at the end of each chapter, I had questions for reflection and answer, which I got a lot of feedback on that it helped them before they moved on to the next chapter, just kind of evaluate what they just read and answer some of these questions for themselves. So they just said it was an easy read for the everyday person. But it was neat, too, because I shared my journey and was honest and vulnerable.
Brandon Handley 37:48
What I like too, about what you’re doing there, with you being vulnerable, you’re sharing your journey. And you’re asking people to stop from going to the next chapter, right? Taking x and doing something that is tangible. At the end, they’re doing a little bit of reflection on what they’ve just read. So that kind of adds a stickiness to it. When you do something like that. Rich, I think that’s a really great a good idea. What about your family? What would you say? What would they say, has changed the most about you? or How was the impact on your family life. And because of this,
Rich Lewis 38:23
I would say, I think I’m just more present and more willing more, really there when I’m there instead of being there, but maybe mentally not there. So I think it’s helped me be more present when we’re enjoying each other’s company, and letting go of work and other things so that I’m giving them 100% of me, or as much as 100% of me during that time. And, and the nice thing too is that my wife, she doesn’t practice centering prayer, and that’s okay. It’s not It’s not for everybody. But the neat thing was my two of my kids were curious, because I used to practice my second set in the evening, and they would see me going to the basement and they wanted to know what I was doing. So both of them asked me so I invited them both to come down, but they both wanted their own time. So I have to bring them down individually. But they wanted to know what I was doing. So I showed them and then we actually would do it together. So my son was eight at the time, we would do a one minute sit together and that was pretty neat. We would light a candle and then read a verse from the contemplative outreach app which is you use it the time to set the timer for one minute that just said open my heart to your love. We’d read that together then we would do the one minute set up together and then blow out the candle and then just kind of talk and have some fun. And then my daughter wanted to do it too but she he was afraid she’d fall asleep. So she centered with her eyes open and I know I mentioned that earlier. Some people don’t want to close their eyes so she kept her eyes open. I got her up to about 10 minutes. She didn’t know it because I would say How long do you want to go and she say six or seven minutes and I would just set the timer for 10 because she didn’t know what I was setting it for you And then she would she didn’t realize she was actually sitting for two pretend minutes. So they got they did it with me. And that was kind of a neat thing that they did it with me and they wanted to learn more. So I said, well, let’s come down and I’ll show you what I’m doing. And we would practice it from time to time and still do
Brandon Handley 40:19
it and to something you can all do together so that you know, you’re actually getting to spend some family time this quality, right? There’s not a TV involved, there’s not you know, a podcast or a phone, I mean, I’m sure using the app, but whatever, you know, I mean, it’s you know, some time where you can just sit there together and you’re giving them I would have to say, an advantage right over someone who’s never had that experience feel sit down there think focus a little bit and just kind of be in that silence, especially, especially as we move faster and faster and faster and faster. Through throughout the these days. What um, you know, so let’s let’s do Who Who do you think you would be reaching out to? Who do you think should be reaching out to rich Louis, check out the book, who’s your ideal client, as they say, your avatar, if you’ve been doing your marketing, right, rich? What’s that look like?
Rich Lewis 41:16
Actually, ironically, I would say because I do coaching, and I am, I look back now that I look back at the coaching and the types of clients I have, they fall into three categories. So the first type is, is just someone that’s brand new to centering prayer. And is, is not a self starter. So they need some help with it. And they don’t, they, they just feel they need some help with it. And if they don’t get some help, they’re never going to do it. So there’s that type of person. So brand new to centering prayer and need some help with how do I do it? When do I do it, and just sharing that experience with someone to get them moving. Then the second type of category is people that are already practicing, but they want to add a second set, they want to add more depth to their practice, and relationship with God. And they want to further explore what is this idea of my true self? And who is it and am I acting from it. And then the third type are actually like, priests, clergy, pastors, they come to me and say, I’m taking care of everybody except myself, I need some help with my self care. So I need you to help me start taking care of myself and to hold me more accountable because taking care of everybody except myself. So I’ve coached some people like that. And some of them have been priests, and some of them are pastors of churches and Episcopal priests, where they’re doing, I guess, a wonderful job with their congregations. But they’re doing not so wonderful job taking care of themselves. So I’d say all three, just because I’ve been approached by all three types of people, so the book can help all three, someone new, someone who wants to go deeper, but it can also help someone that already is immersed in God as a pastor, but just not taking good care of themselves.
Brandon Handley 43:07
Yeah, for sure, right? Everybody needs that. Even the caregivers need care. Right? There’s a it’s a top of their game. So rich, I mean, I think that’s great. And it’s good that you know who your audiences who you’re working with. And again, I was kind of like, look at this is kind of a spiritual speed dating podcasts, right? You know, people are coming through, they’re looking for who they resonate with, right? Who do they who do they resonate with? Who can they find that’s going to be able to, just like you did pick up your book, read it, and they’re gonna be like, wow, rich, you nailed a spot on for me. This is it, you know, and you know, you could be somebody famous, right? So somebody like that, but I also look at it. And I have a bank of questions here. That was like to ask what C to do to do. Well, is spiritual speed dating. apps are number one and spirituality here. Talk a little bit what is our greatest distraction, rich?
Rich Lewis 44:10
I guess our greatest distraction is probably us and believing the thoughts we tell ourselves that aren’t true. And throughout the day, I have to take a step back and say, why am I Why am I feeding myself these thoughts that this isn’t, who I am, and what I can do and what I’ve got accomplished, or it’s not even something that probably even going to happen? A lot of worry and anxiety. So I would say the biggest distraction is the thoughts we feed ourselves or become anxious and worried about that really don’t have any reason to happen. They’re probably not going to happen. But we’ve convinced herself that we need to be wary, we need to be fearful, or we’ve convinced herself that we’re just not confident enough and not the right person for a particular task. So our thoughts really mean our thoughts. What we feed ourselves is our biggest distractor.
Brandon Handley 45:04
Right, amen. And centering prayer is something that can help you with this right? It’s something that’s helped you throughout time. So rich, I want to say thanks for your answer. I really appreciate you coming on and sharing this practice I certainly wasn’t familiar with I didn’t know that, uh, I didn’t know that tm had a competitor. Right? I thought that that was an interesting instinct, interesting information, right? I mean, Krishna is like, Hey, what do we got for for this? Right? And I think that’s pretty cool. The idea that believing those thoughts are not true, right? And what how challenging is to separate the thoughts that we’re telling ourselves from the truth. Right? I think that’s really powerful, really proud for observation. Rich, where can we send people to connect with you find out more about the book, maybe find out about some coaching if they’re looking for it?
Rich Lewis 45:50
Sure. I mean, the best place is just my website, silence teachers calm if if they subscribe, they’ll get my free I have a free short ebook on centering prayer if they want to learn more about it. And then if they want to further explore it, they can obviously check out the book which is also on the website. And then for those that if you fall into one of those three categories, in need of coaching and it’s something that you feel you can have it we can help you they can feel free to reach out to me. And then as well, many church groups, they they have adult faith groups or prayer groups or or some churches that have centering prayer groups can connect with me and I’ll speak with them via zoom these days. I’ve been doing a lot, a lot of that and I actually have one on Saturday that I’m doing to a Catholic Church in California. So my website silence teachers
Brandon Handley 46:41
calm. Awesome, rich, thanks again for being on today. Appreciate.
Rich Lewis 46:45
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I
Unknown Speaker 46:49
really hope you enjoyed this episode of the spiritual dove podcast. stay connected with us directly through spiritual dove co You can also join the discussion on Facebook and Instagram and spiritual on Discord. If you would like to speak with us, send us an email to Brandon at spiritual dog Co. And as always, thank you for cultivating your mindset and creating a better reality. This includes the most thought provoking part of your day. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to stay fully up to date and until next time week on your zone and trust your intuition