Three Video Clips: Speaking of Mysticism in Portland, OR

Here are three brief excerpts from a talk I gave in Portland, OR, in October 2010 on the topic of Christian mysticism. They were filmed and produced by Cathy Zheutlin of Holy Rascals — a media company that produces videos and webinars for the spiritually adventurous. In the first one, I tell an amusing story of one of my monastic mentors, Father Anthony, who gave me some grief about the difficulty of defining the word "mysticism"...So in this next video, I offer less of a "definition" of … [Read more...]

Benedictine Spirituality and the Community of Hope

On April 20 I had the privilege of speaking to the Southeast Regional Conference of the Community of Hope International, an ecumenical organization of Christians whose mission is "to create and sustain Christian communities of volunteer lay pastoral caregivers around the world." Their mission statement goes on to say, "We are united in prayer, shaped by Benedictine spirituality and equipped for and serving in pastoral care ministries." I was invited to speak on the Benedictine tradition and how … [Read more...]

Concerning Stillness, Songs, and Soul Friends

A reader writes:Carl, when you are sufficiently silent with the “waters stilled” how do you experience revelation. I suppose a better question would be what is your experience “there” like? Does God float into view … or does God whisper … ?? Or do you find a path to look inwardly in order to find answers, results, etc. I guess that one overarching question here would be “Do you have a purpose or question in mind before you start out?”I believe radically that "silence is praise" (Psalm 65:1, t … [Read more...]

Simplicity and Silence

This message came to me the other day.Hi Carl. Love reading your blogs. From one who is a struggling contemplative can you tell me what form of contemplative prayer you do and why? Also can one do more than one form of contemplative prayer? ie, will one complement the other?Two questions here. First, what does my own daily practice look like? And secondly, what do I think about using more than one method of contemplative practice?First, about what I do. I'm assuming you simply want to … [Read more...]

Plunging Thought Into Light

The Philokalia is an extensive anthology of writings on prayer by Eastern Orthodox contemplatives. The anthology was first compiled in the 18th century, and a number of editions have been published over the years, in Greek, Russian, and other languages; currently a four volume set is available in English (which does not include the entire anthology; I hope the editors plan on translating the rest!).If you want a more succinct introduction to The Philokalia, one option — which, unfortunately, … [Read more...]

Growing in Love and Wisdom

Readers of this blog know that my love and commitment to the Christian contemplative tradition is balanced by a heartfelt desire to learn more about other faiths, particularly the contemplative dimension of other traditions. Naturally, Buddhism, as a school of wisdom with many rich resources in the practice of meditation, is a particularly appealing tradition to me. I live only about three miles from the Atlanta Shambhala Center, so I've taken several classes there and have gotten to know some … [Read more...]

A Christian Prayer for Daily Contemplative Practice

O God of Uncreated Light, we come before you now to offer you our selves. We can only do this through your grace.Grant us the grace of mindfulness. Help us to be calm, so that we may rest in your silence and peace.Grant us the grace of willingness. Transform our will into yours, with delight and joy.Grant us the grace of heartfulness. Unite us with you in the mystery of love, that we may love our neighbors as ourselves.All this we ask with glad confidence and hope in you, O God, by the … [Read more...]


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