Surrender methods in Centering Prayer are simpler than most meditation methods. One does not even watch or label the thought as it comes up. As soon as it emerges into consciousness, one simply lets it go. The prayer is “not of attention, but of intention”, quotes Bourgeault from Keating. What makes CP different from other methods is that it bypasses focused attention and works directly with intention itself, “the naked intent direct to God”, as the author of “The Cloud of Unknowing” is saying it. It is a discipline of relaxing, to surrender all to God, to let go of all disturbances. Every time something asks for attention in thoughts and emotions, the sacred word in CP is used only to let it go and re-surrender to God’s love.
Keating is using an illustration: If I hold a ball in my hands, I can let it fall to the floor just by letting it go, slipping out of my fingers. I do not have to throw it to let it go.95 In similar fashion, the sacred word does not require effort. It only requires the willingness to let go of our ordinary preoccupations. Thoughts will come, most of the time, especially when we don’t have too much experience in Centering Prayer. The object is not to get rid of these thoughts, but to let them come and then to let them go. That is the way the psyche gets rid of undigested material: by bringing it to our awareness. If we acknowledge the thoughts and feelings, they normally disappear.