Thirty-Three Years

Thirty-three years ago yesterday I had a profound experience of God's presence in the midst of a Eucharist. I won't go into all the details of that life-changing evening here; if you have The Aspiring Mystic, you can read all about it in chapter one; otherwise, you can find it elsewhere on my website by following this link: A Contemporary Mystical Experience?As I strive to finish editing my book, I've thought a lot about that evening over the past few days. I was only 16 then; I'm 49 now, so … [Read more...]

Four Dimensions of Spirituality and Embracing the Mind of Christ

On my writer's page at Facebook, my bio used to read like this: Carl McColman is the author of 10 books on the spiritual life. Most of his works published before 2005 concern Pagan and Celtic spirituality. In 2005 he became a Catholic, and is now writing a book on Christian mysticism to be published in late 2010. As of this morning, I have re-written it thusly: Carl McColman blogs about Celtic, emergent, mystical, & contemplative spirituality at the Website of Unknowing (www.anamchara.com). … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Contemplation is life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. … Contemplation is also the response to a call: a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being; for we ourselves are words of His. But we are words that are meant to respond to Him, to a … [Read more...]

Recollection and the Prayer of Quiet

In her classic work Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness, Evelyn Underhill devotes two chapters to the subject of "introversion," in which she explores three essential mystical practices: recollection, the prayer of quiet, and contemplation. Recollection, she points out, is a technical mystical term, not to be confused with ordinary remembrance; rather she defines mystical recollection as "the deliberate consideration of and dwelling upon some one aspect of … [Read more...]

Contemplation and the Veteran’s Journey

I've been a civilian all my life. But my father was a veteran of three wars, and I've watched as people just a few years older than me served and died in Viet Nam, and now those not too much younger than me are serving and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq.Whatever your political — or spiritual — persuasion might be, I hope you'll agree with me that the physical, mental and emotional trauma suffered by those who serve in harm's way is not only a significant social and psychological issue, but a cru … [Read more...]

The ENDS of Prayer

Recently a monk shared this with me. His is a markedly apophatic approach to spirituality, so this may not speak to everyone. But for the monk and I suppose anyone else who shares his approach to prayer, this little mnemonic is a tool to assist in remembering the contours of deep contemplation.It involves remembering the "ENDS" of prayer, in this way: Emptiness Nothingness Darkness Silence Of course, entering into the emptiness, nothingness, darkness and silence of contemplation is not to … [Read more...]

Mystical Books on Amazon.com

Okay, so here's the kind of thing I do when I have too much time on my hands. This morning I created a book list on Amazon.com, featuring my forthcoming book (yes, of course, this is all about marketing) but also 39 other, far more worthy titles on the subjects of Christian mysticism and contemplative spirituality (like the just-released Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart, pictured to the right). If you are looking to fortify your library of books on this wonderful topic, then follow … [Read more...]


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