The Way of the Prisoner
Breaking the Chains of Self through Centering Prayer and Centering Practice
Centering Prayer is a modern adaptation of the ancient practice of contemplative prayer, a process of inner purification and an opening of the mind and heart to God. In this remarkable book, Jens Soering, an inmate in a Virginia prison, tells how Centering Prayer and its corollary, Centering Practice—contemplative prayer in action—enable him to survive the daily pain of prison life. Through a moving true story of personal redemption that shocks and inspires, Soering shows how we can all transform our crosses, our prisons (literal or metaphorical), into the means of our salvation.
A marvelous treatise on a valuable tradition of contemplative prayer, this is also a moving account of the author's experience of incarceration and spiritual renewal.
Review by Rev. Doug Girardeau, Diocese of Easton Maryland, May 2004
I received an Easter gift this year which I would like to share. Just before Lent began my former teacher at Virginia Seminary, Dick Busch, strongly suggested that I read and review a book written by his friend Jens Soering. The book is entitled, The Way of the Prisoner. It is a contemporary contribution to the history of Christian thought that stretches from the Pauline prison epistles to the writing of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin King. The context of being in jail seems to evoke a certain degree of depth and candor that is not always present in other religious literature. In addition to his prison experience, Soering also displays a broad knowledge of Eastern and Western spirituality. He uses this knowledge to reinforce and illuminate the truths he is trying to teach.
I would encourage the reader not to miss this spiritual autobiography of this prisoner. He notes that while he is in prison for life, we all have aspects of our lives that imprison us.
This is a book about prayer and practice and my teacher said he had been drawn to the regular practice of centering prayer just like the author. Since a student is not greater than his teacher, I returned to this practice, too. That is the real Easter gift to me.