Questions About Different Methods of Contemplation


Recently I had an email exchange with a long-standing reader of this blog. With that person’s permission, I am sharing the conversation here, edited to protect the reader’s privacy. The questions are some that I think many people might ask. Hi Carl, a very quick question.  Is the Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation (as taught by the World Community of Christian Meditation) basically...

Even Your Breath Can Be Your “Sacred Word”


A reader of this blog submitted this question: How explicitly Christian does the prayer word need to be in contemplative prayer (e.g., Centering Prayer)? My quiet-time practice is a hybrid of Lectio Divina with the Liturgy of the Hours. “No problem” with the three discursive steps of Lectio, but when I get to the non-discursive contemplatio, I struggle with monkey brain…...

Can Contemplatives Have Fun?


Two words I often don’t hear together: “contemplation” and “fun” — or, for that matter, “mysticism” and “fun.” Recently I have been thinking about this, and I decided it was worth writing about. I like having fun. If you know me in person you know that I have a playful, almost goofy personality. I have a fondness for madcap TV sitcoms, for...

My Latest Initiative, or, What is a “Contemplative in Residence”?


Friends, I am honored to announce that I have embraced a special relationship with one of Atlanta’s most progressive and visionary spiritual communities. I have been named the “Contemplative in Residence” for Zeitgeist Atlanta. What is a Contemplative in Residence? As you may know, many universities or non-profit organizations will appoint an “artist in residence” or...

Take This One-Question Survey: Your Favorite Way(s) to Explore Contemplative Spirituality


Friends, could you take a half a minute and fill out this 1-question survey? I’m planning my calendar for the rest of the year, and I’m trying to gauge how I should apportion my time between blogging, podcasting, video creation, and of course, working on my next book(s). I know the easy answer is “do what you love,” but to be honest I enjoy pretty much all of the above. So...

When You Pre-order a Book, It Makes a Difference (Here’s Why)


Please click on the button of your preferred retailer to pre-order Eternal Heart: If you have already pre-ordered Eternal Heart, I thank you. If you haven’t, please do so. I’m not very good at marketing — I’d much rather spend my time coming up with new material for my blog or youtube or whatever. But we live in a world that is organized around commerce, and part of my job as a...

Even More (!) Advance Praise for “Eternal Heart”


In February I published the first words of endorsement that my forthcoming book, Eternal Heart, received, and then in March I published more words of support from authors like Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Adam Bucko, Br. Paul Quenon, Mirabai Starr, Judith Valente, and others. Today’s post features more words of praise from advance readers. Scroll down to see these latest endorsements that Eternal...

Faith, Science, PBS — and Trappist Monks


I’m so happy to share this segment from a recent episode of the PBS News Hour with you. It features the monks of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit — the monastery of which I am a Lay Associate. The topic is about how the monks are getting vaccinated to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but of course it’s also a wee glimpse into the world of the cloister, a world of prayer and...

More Advance Praise for Eternal Heart


Last month I published the first words of endorsement that my forthcoming book, Eternal Heart, received — from Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Adam Bucko, Colette Lafia, Br. Paul Quenon and Christiana Peterson. Today’s post features five more words of praise from advance readers. Scroll down to see these latest endorsements that Eternal Heart has received. I hope this will whet your appetite for the...

A Julian of Norwich Meditation


Here’s a meditation I developed a few months ago for a retreat I led for an Episcopal Church. It’s based on Julian of Norwich’s vision of the hazelnut. Before you listen to the meditation, take a moment to find a small object (like a hazelnut, a shell, or a rock) that you can hold in your hand while you meditate. It doesn’t have to be a natural object — a ring or a key...

How do I choose a contemplative lay order? And do I have to be Catholic to do so?


A reader recently wrote to me: Dear Carl, I grew up as a Protestant, but as I’ve journeyed into Contemplative Christianity over the last while I’ve become more amenable to Roman Catholicism. I have been wondering about lay orders and how to connect with the contemplative tradition through a lay order. I was wondering if you could shed some light on which lay orders there are (main ones) and what...



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