The Stations of the Cross with Julian of Norwich


Friends, it is holy week, and I cannot think of a better guide to this most sacred week of the Christian liturgical year than Julian of Norwich. Julian’s book of visionary writing, The Showings, is remarkable on multiple levels. Written about the same time as Geoffrey Chaucer was composing The Canterbury Tales, Julian has the distinction of being the first known woman to write a book in the...

How Do I Meet Other Mystics?


One of the patrons of this blog wrote to me recently: My question is, how do I meet other Christian mystics? Thanks for asking. It’s a question many of us ponder. Even though there is a long tradition of regarding mysticism as “the flight of the alone to the Alone” (in the words of Plotinus), it’s been my experience that many of us “aloners” nevertheless seek...

Soul Food: Nourishing Essays on Contemplative Living and Leadership (Pre-Order Today)


Friends, I am so honored to announce that I have an essay appearing in an upcoming anthology called Soul Food: Nourishing Essays on Contemplative Living and Leadership which is being published to celebrate 50 years of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Direction — the organization that first introduced me to silent prayer and spiritual direction when I was a grad student forty years ago. Soul...

Contemplative AI: Google’s “Bard” Answers My Questions About Mysticism, Centering Prayer, and Interspirituality


So I got invited to be a beta-tester for Google’s new AI assistant called Bard. Yesterday I received an email from Google that said, in part: Meet Bard, an early experiment by Google Because you’re a Google One member, we’d like to offer you the opportunity to be among the first to sign up for the new Bard experience and provide feedback. Think of Bard as your creative and helpful...

Unraveling the Myths of Grief: Sign Up for this Free Online Retreat Led by Mirabai Starr and Willow Brook


One of the great joys of my work has been the opportunity to meet other writers, teachers, retreat leaders and spiritual directors who are also engaged in the heart-centered work of calling people into a deeper relationship with the Mystery-with-a-capital-M. And of the many wonderful people I have met in the contemplative community over the years, few have touched me as deeply as Mirabai Starr. I...

Encountering Silence: A Conversation with Kaira Jewel Lingo, author of “We Were Made for These Times”


Friends, here is the latest episode of the Encountering Silence podcast. This episode features a conversation the Encountering Silence team had last year with Buddhist author Kaira Jewel Lingo, author of We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons in Moving through Change, Loss and Disruption. Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher who has a lifelong interest in blending spirituality and meditation...

Celtic Spirituality in Athens, Georgia (In Person Event on March 16, 2023)


Long before I moved to Georgia, I knew about Athens GA, as some of my favorite bands — like the B-52s and R.E.M. — hailed from this quirky little southern college town. If you live in or near Athens, I hope you’ll join me on Thursday, March 16, 2023 when I venture from Atlanta to visit Friendship Presbyterian Church to give a talk on Celtic Spirituality, on the eve of St. Patrick’s...

Brother Elias Marechal, OCSO (1936-2023)


Friends, I am heartbroken to report that my dear friend and mentor, Trappist monk and author Elias (Paul) Marechal, passed away last night at the age of 86. He had been suffering from a variety of health conditions in recent years, and recently embraced hospice care in the infirmary of his monastery in Conyers, Georgia. Elias was the author of two books: Dancing Madly Backwards published under...

Reconciling Mystical Teachings with Conventional Christianity


A reader named Allen wrote to me: Dear Carl, I find myself struggling with a bit of a spiritual crisis. I feel torn between the teachings of more traditional Protestant thinkers like Dallas Willard and the mystical teachings of figures like Thomas Keating. While I’ve experienced spiritual growth through my meditation practice using the WCCM form, I’m also concerned that I’m...

The Politics of Emotions


This morning I came across this luminous insightful paragraph on page 132 of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Many of us see emotions as naturally occurring. But emotions are political in two key ways. First, our emotions are shaped by our biases and beliefs, our cultural frameworks. For example, if I believe—consciously or unconsciously—that it is normal and appropriate for men to express...

Register Now for CELTIC SPIRITUALITY SCHOOL (Online Program Begins February 11!)


Friends, I hope you will join me — and eleven other amazing Celtic and contemplative teachers and speakers, including John Philip Newell, Esther de Waal, Sharon Blackie, Christine Valters Paintner, and more — for the first-ever online Celtic Spirituality School which begins on February 11, 2023 and runs for a full year! Are you hungry for a more contemplative, earthy, embodied spirituality? If...

Beyond the Seven Storey Mountain: Noteworthy Biographies & Autobiographies of Mystics


A regular reader of this blog wrote to me and asked if I could recommend a good biography on Hildegard of Bingen. As I thought about what book to recommend, several noteworthy biographies — and autobiographies — of the renowned Christian mystics came to mind. So I figured to write an entire blog post about it, and here we are. Hildegard of Bingen Since the reader asked about Hildegard of Bingen...

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