Deep Listening

The other day when several folks gathered at a church in Atlanta to participate in the Shalem Institute's 40th Anniversary "Circle the World in Prayer" vigil, one participant talked about a wonderful teaching she once received from Jerry May, who was a senior fellow at Shalem and the author of such classic books as Will & Spirit and Addiction & Grace. My friend shared an idea that May spoke of, called "deep listening." As we enter into silence, we consciously choose to let go of the … [Read more...]

Circle the World in Prayer… with Shalem

My journey into contemplative practice began at Shalem.Before I discovered the Shalem Institute in the spring of 1984, mysticism and contemplation were pretty much just topics I liked to read about. That's not to say these topics weren't meaningful to me, or that they did not give me a sort of intellectual spirituality that accompanied me during my college years. I'm an introvert and it's my style to read about something before I'll actually take the risk to go and meet someone who's doing … [Read more...]

Trying to Be Contemplative

My dear friend Phil Foster forwarded me this link to a wonderful article by the late Gerald May, called Trying to Be Contemplative. It's built around one of my favorite Zen sayings, "Quit trying. Quit trying not to try. Quit quitting!" Here's a taste: This summer I'll be going into the desert alone again. I'm sure I'll want to be contemplative. I hope and pray that I won't impose my ideas and efforts about contemplation on whatever God has in store for me there. If my eyes seek the beauty of the … [Read more...]

Gerald G. May: Mental Health and Contemplation

A reader writes: Got a question for you. I've recently been promoted to a new job at the hospital where I work, and I'm in a position now where I can do some book or journal reviews for health providers nationwide. I'd like to do something in the area of spirituality and mental health, and was wondering if you might have any recommendations. We are working with people who have serious mental illness, and are in a unique position to offer hope to others. What about the writings of Gerald G. May: … [Read more...]


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