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...

Five Approaches to Interspirituality


Brother Wayne Teasdale, author of The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions and A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life, coined the new word “interspirituality.” Sort of a mash-up between “interfaith dialogue” and “spirituality,” interspirituality refers to the possibility or practice of integrating...

“It Cracks Up the Archangels Every Time!” (“Because They Have No Taste in Comedy!”)


I read lots of serious books: books about Christian theology, spiritual direction, the history of mysticism, and the psychology of meditation… that sort of thing. I’m not complaining — I love pretty much everything I read (actually, at this point in my life and career, if I don’t love it, I quickly stop reading it, because there’s always something else clamoring for my...

All the Episodes of Encountering Silence in One Audio Player


The Encountering Silence podcast, which I co-host, is available through all the normal podcast channels, from Apple (iTunes) to Google to Spotify to Amazon. So please listen to it using your favorite podcasting service. Alternatively, you can listen to it right here, using this handy little audio player. The most recent episode is featured at the top, but you can scroll down below to find any of...

Why Do So Many Christians (and Christian Churches) Reject Esotericism and Occultism?


The following question arrived in my email inbox the other day… Why is there such a condemnation in the Christian churches for esotericism/occultism? I have my entire adult life ( I am now 63) been living and working in Anthroposophical circles, I have friends in the Rosicrucian movement and I am impressed with the wisdom of some Theosophical writers. I can say with my hand on my heart that...

Optional Reading List for the Zeitgeist “Contemplation and Practice” Course — with Guided Meditations


From September 28 through November 9, 2020 I’m leading a program called “Contemplation and Practice” through Zeitgeist Atlanta. Here are some of the meditations that participants will have access to. On this page I’m listing books that may be of interest to persons taking the course — or to anyone else interested in exploring meditation and contemplation from an...

Mysticism, Esotericism, Exotericism, Occultism… Sorting Through the Spiritual Wilderness


A reader posted this recently on my Facebook feed: I have a question, have you covered the differences between exoteric vs. esoteric spirituality? thanks. huge and vast topic… My reply: it is a huge topic! But I said I’ll see if I can pull together at least a few thoughts for my blog. She went on to offer these thoughts: Please address the spectrum, mysticism’s role and the...

Where Do You Draw the Line: Discerning Appropriate Boundaries for Interspiritual Practice


I recently received a letter from a reader of this blog who grew up an evangelical Baptist, and when to a conservative Christian school, the kind of place where if you doubted that God created the world in seven days, people were worried for the state of your eternal soul. As an adult, he discovered Christian mysticism and writers like Richard Rohr (and yours truly), and opened up a new dimension...

Spiritual Lessons from a Pilgrimage to Ireland


I wrote the following article in 2002, when I was exploring Celtic paganism. I found it recently while looking for something in my archives and I thought it was worth sharing. It’s a reflection on my first trip to Ireland, when I was doing research for The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Celtic Wisdom. I wrote from the perspective of a student of pagan and Goddess-centered spirituality. I...

“The Settling of the Mind Into Silence” — How a Definition of Yoga also Defines All Forms of Contemplation


The first four lines of the ancient text, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, offer a basic definition of yoga — that might surprise many westerners who are used to thinking of yoga primarily as a form of physical discipline. But the kind of yoga practiced at your local gym or yoga center is simply one type of yoga — Hatha Yoga. Yoga is a much more broad term for spiritual discipline, just as...

Magic and Miracles: What’s the Difference?


The other day I was having a conversation with an acquaintance who asked me to comment on the difference between “magic” and “miracles.” It was an interesting conversation, especially given my history — that I spent a number of years explore magical spiritualities like Wicca and Celtic paganism, only to eventually forsake those paths in favor of returning to a more...



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