I’m leading a one-day workshop on Christian meditation and contemplative prayer at the New York Open Center. Our time together will include instruction and practice in silent prayer, time for personal and group reflection, and my reflections on how we can incorporate the life-transfiguring wisdom of the mystics into our lives today. Although centered on Christian spirituality and practice, this workshop is presented in an inclusive way that is appropriate for people of all faith traditions and all experience levels. Hope to see you there!

Date: April 22, 2018
Time: 09:30 a.m.-04:00 p.m.
Event: Be Still and Know: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Christian Contemplation and Meditation
Topic: Be Still and Know: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Christian Contemplation and Meditation
Sponsor: New York Open Center
(212) 219-2527
Venue: New York Open Center
(212) 219-2527
Location: 22 E. 30th Street
New York, NY 10016
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click click here.">here for more information.

Mepkin Abbey

I’m so excited to be leading a retreat at Mepkin Abbey, the Trappist Monastery in South Carolina. This will be the first retreat I’ve led at Mepkin, and our topic will be one of my favorites: the Spirituality of Celtic Christianity. If you’re not familiar with Mepkin, it is a small but vibrant community of monks, with beautiful liturgy and a gorgeous setting, north of Charleston (you can see the city skyline from the riverbank). Mepkin has a small guesthouse and this retreat will likely fill up quickly, so if you’re interested, register now.

Date: March 16, 2018—March 18, 2018
Event: Celtic Spirituality Retreat at Mepkin Abbey
Topic: Celtic Spirituality
Sponsor: Mepkin Abbey
Venue: Mepkin Abbey
(843) 761-8509
Location: 1098 Mepkin Abbey Rd.
Monck's Corner, SC 29461
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

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When we trust God more, we can afford to relax our self-centered worried efforts to take care of ourselves. In the same movement, we trust our own preconscious feelings and intuitions more. It becomes easier to see the good side of things. They are more available to us, anyway, once we have learned (by meditation or in some other way) to empty the mind and senses of surface strivings and noisy trivia. We have “sold” what usually fragments our attention and divides our energy, so that we can “buy” the beckoning field where our real treasure is to be found.

Carolyn Gratton
The Art of Spiritual Guidance (New York: Crossroad, 1992), p. 105

The Future of This Blog

Where I hope to take it in 2018

Hello friends! I hope 2017 has been good to you. This year I’ve survived two tropical storms (an unnamed one when we were vacationing in Florida in June, and then the remnants of Hurricane Irma when it blew through Atlanta a few weeks ago), did some nifty traveling (check out the pictures from our trip […]

Has it ever occurred to you that Jesus, the master in the art of prayer, would take the trouble to walk up a hill in order to pray? Like all great contemplatives he was aware that the place in which we pray has an influence on the quality of our prayer.

Anthony de Mello S.J.
Sadhana (New York: Image Books, 1978), p. 68

Notice how sharp is the hearing and the sense of touch of a blind man. He has lost his faculty of seeing and this has forced him to develop his other faculties of perception. Something similar happens in the mystical world. If we could go mentally blind, so to speak, if we could put a bandage over our mind while we are communicating with God, we would be forced to develop some other faculty for communicating with him—that faculty which, according to a number of mystics, is already straining to move out to him anyway if it were given a chance to develop: the Heart.

Anthony de Mello S.J.
Sadhana: A Way to God (New York: Image Books, 1978), pp. 30-31.

The Flicker of the Screen

Is the Biggest Threat to Contemplation Hiding in Our Pockets?

For if there is no dark night of the soul anymore that isn’t lit with the flicker of the screen, then there is no morning of hopefulness either. The above quotation comes from a fascinating, and I believe vitally important, article by Andrew Sullivan, called I Used to Be A Human Being. Originally published in New […]

One of my editors recently introduced me to Deacon Chris Anderson, a Catholic author from the other side of the country. Deacon Chris is an English professor, a poet, and a spiritual guide. He has a book coming out later this fall on the spirituality of the Examen, called Light When It Comes: Trusting Joy, Facing Darkness, and Seeing God in Everything. Plus he has this delightful video called “Why We Talk About the Weather.” Watch it; you’ll be glad you did.

Know Who You Are: When God Gazes At You, Who Does God See?

A Contemplative Approach to Self-Awareness

In Delphi, in ancient Greece, at a famous pagan temple these words were carved above the entrance: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (Gnothi Seauton), which in English means “Know Yourself.” It’s a universal spiritual principle, not just something the Greeks thought up. For example, in 12-Step Programs, the first step to recovery involves admitting to yourself that addiction has made your […]

The Coptic monks of the desert knew only a single word and a single struggle for designating both the mind and the heart. We tend to separate the mind from the heart. We like to fill the mind; yet, we forget the heart. Or else, we fill the heart with information that should fill the mind. Nevertheless, the two work differently: the mind learns; the heart knows. The mind is educated; the heart believes. The mind is intellectual, speculative; it reads and speaks. The heart is intuitive, mystical; it grows in silence. The two should be held together; and they should be brought together in the presence of God.

John Chryssavgis
In the Heart of the Desert (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2008), p. 76f.

Books for Beginning the Spiritual Journey

Recommended Reading for Anyone Working With a Spiritual Director

Here is a list of several books I recommend for spiritual seekers — especially those who are working with a spiritual director or companion. When I recently posted a list of books for spiritual directors, I suppose it only made sense that someone would send along this request: Thanks for putting this list together! Do […]

The Mystical Body

Contemplative Spirituality Is More Than Just a 'Head Trip'

How do we embody the contemplative life? And how does the contemplative life make a difference in our bodies (both as individuals and collectively)? Fran and I had dinner the other night with a charming couple named Ray and Lee. We had met Ray a few weeks earlier when I spoke at a UU Church […]

Joyful Sanctity

If you think holiness is dreary, remember that melancholy is not a fruit of the Spirit!

What is the relationship between holiness and joy? A reader named Gordon writes, in response to my concerns about how “experience” can be misunderstood in a spiritual context: I agree with you that experience is not there for entertainment. But given my background in a very dreary fundamentalist religious upbringing, I always find the word […]

Recommended Reading for Spiritual Accompaniment

Books for the Ministry of Spiritual Direction and Soul Friendship

Spiritual direction, also known as spiritual accompaniment, is an essential ministry for anyone seeking to embrace contemplative Christianity. Not only is it a vital and beautiful ministry to receive, but many find meaning and value in providing this kind of soul friendship and guidance to others. Recently a reader of this blog wrote to me and asked, “Do […]

The Place of Joy in Christian Spirituality

Is it Okay to Enjoy a Deeper Prayer Life?

What is the relationship between prayer and joy? If we enjoy our prayer, does that mean we are avoiding the hard work of spirituality (which, at least in Christian terms, is meant to make us holy, not to entertain us)? I had an interesting little exchange on Facebook the other day, when a reader, who […]