Live and Self-Guided Online Courses

Live and Self-Guided Online Courses


Practicing the Presence of God

We live in a world of complexity, fragmentation, noise, and haste. We sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of tasks, appointments, commitments and concerns facing us. How can we experience God amid the busyness, responsibilities, and activities of our daily lives? By practice. By living more in the present moment. By practicing the presence of God in the present moment.

In truth, the Presence is always there and available in each moment of our lives. We can abide in this Presence as we prepare dinner, help our children with their homework, take a phone call, go shopping, attend a contentious business meeting, or walk down the street. The practice is surprisingly simple: Pay attention to what you are doing and do it for the love of God. Fr. Thomas said that as Centering Prayer develops, it begins to be expressed in acts of love, until it becomes habitual and the normal occupations of the mind are transferred to the heart, which he termed “heartfulness”.

This online retreat explores in depth the contemplative prayer practice of resting in the present moment with attention and intention. Our mentors are three Christians who modeled this way: Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection who cultivated the presence of God as he worked as a monastery cook, St. Therese of Lisieux who is known for her little way of devotion through daily activities, and Jean-Pierre De Caussade who taught that every moment of our lives could become a sacrament of communion with the Divine. Teachings from Thomas Keating and other contemplative wisdom voices are woven throughout.  We will also use the breath as an anchor for our attention and body awareness as a key to staying in the moment with loving attention.

The practice-based retreat supports of life of being and Presence.  It consists of email content, which link to audio and video teachings, a guided I AM audio meditation, and mini-practices such as active prayer and Welcoming Prayer.

Register here for this self-guided, online retreat. Partial scholarships are offered by Contemplative Outreach; you may apply here.


 

This online retreat, originally created for Lent in 2014, aims to create a Lenten atmosphere of silence, stillness, and a quiet inner joy of alert receptivity. You are encouraged to partake of the particular beauty of the season viewing Lent itself as an artful preparation to a slow and sustained intentional journey where the heart is awakened into a new life in and through divine love. Here we are purified not only by what we give up and surrender, but also by how we are inspired and experience illumination.

For more information and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, please go here.

Partial scholarships are available through Contemplative Outreach. Please go here to fill out an online form.


Lux Divina: An Advent Journey

Lux Divina: An Advent Journey
Self-guided, on-demand

This e-course affirms and celebrates the Divine Light of Advent and Christmas — with us and within us always. This e-retreat is reflective and enlivening, drawing on the teachings of Fr. Thomas Keating, art, music and other contemplative voices. For more information and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, please go here.

Partial scholarships are available through Contemplative Outreach. Please go here to fill out an online form.


Embracing Living: The Welcoming Prayer

Embracing Living:  The Welcoming Prayer
Self-guided, on-demand

Learn, deepen or renew your practice of this practical and profound prayer with this online retreat. The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. If Centering Prayer is practiced for one hour of the day, the Welcoming Prayer is for the other 23 hours — a “letting go” in the present moment, in the midst of the activity of ordinary life. It helps to dismantle the emotional programs heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored — in the body.

This e-course includes email, video and audio teachings, including all-new videos and an updated prayer practice.

For more information and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, please go here.

Partial scholarships are available from Contemplative Outreach by filling out this form.

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Guidelines for Christian Life, Growth and Transformation

Guidelines for Christian Life, Growth and Transformation
Self-guided, on-demand e-course

In the back of Thomas Keating’s seminal book, Open Mind, Open Heart, published in 1986, he lists 42 guidelines which he described as a “tentative effort to restate the Christian spiritual journey in contemporary terms [and] provide a conceptual background for the practice of Centering Prayer.”  He also advised that they be read in the manner of Lectio Divina – in other words, not as information, but as prayer for revelation and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, and as a call to embodiment in daily life. Twenty-four years later, much evolved in the thinking and teaching of Thomas Keating and in the lived experience of the worldwide Centering Prayer community.  The intention of this course is to ponder and pray these guidelines together from a contemporary perspective.  Read more and register here with our partner, Spirituality & Practice.

Partial scholarships are available from Contemplative Outreach by filling out this form.


Centering Prayer as a Way of Life

Centering Prayer as a Way of Life
Self-guided, on-demand e-course

The third offering in the trilogy on Centering Prayer course explores how the practice of Centering Prayer evolves into a surrendered life of inner peace and equanimity despite the busy and often tumultuous circumstances of daily life in the 21st century. As the inner room begins to expand its walls beyond the twice-daily practice of Centering Prayer, the Spirit takes over our life more and more, and we begin to accept ourselves just as we are, God as God is, and all reality as it is. From this disposition of true humility, enlarged under the influence of God’s grace, we live in the Kingdom of God here and now, which is a state of consciousness ever-attentive to the presence of God in the midst of ordinary life. Go here for more information and to register.

4 CEHs for chaplains available.

For more information and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, go here.

Partial scholarships are available from Contemplative Outreach by filling out this form.


 

Lectio Divina: Heart to Heart Listening and Living with God

Lectio Divina: Heart to Heart Listening and Living with God
Self-guided, on-demand e-course

This online retreat focuses on learning the method of Lectio Divina and incorporating this contemplative way of praying the Scriptures into a daily practice. Subscribers to this online retreat will receive a total of 12 emails with step-by-step instructions in the Lectio Divina method and answers to frequently asked questions. Some of the emails will link to audio recordings and guided meditations, as well as pdf slideshows reviewing key concepts covered in the emails.

For more infomation and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, please go here.

Partial scholarships are available from Contemplative Outreach by filling out this form.


A Journey of Discernment

A Journey of Discernment
with the teachings of Mary Margaret Funk and other contemplative voices
Self-guided, on-demand e-course

This e-course explores the contemplative approach to discerning the small and large decisions in life, which comes from cultivating a life practice of unceasing prayer (whatever types of prayer that may encompass for you) and calling on the Holy Spirit for guidance. Discernment means sorting our thoughts and following the impulse of grace given by the Holy Spirit. As Sr. Meg writes, “Since we are not our thoughts, we can observe them rising and follow the ones that are from God.” This is a way of coming more awake and discovering the spark of divinity burning in our hearts. The course combines email and video teachings of Sr. Meg Funk and a recorded interview with her.

For more infomation and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, please go here.

Partial scholarships are available from Contemplative Outreach by filling out this form.


Forgiveness: A Growth in Love

This self-guided online retreat focuses on learning and practicing the profound and powerful Prayer of Forgiveness with various relationships and life events.  This course includes 12 emails which link to video and audio teachings, including a guided audio practice.

For more information and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, please go here.

Partial scholarships are available from Contemplative Outreach by filling out this form.

 

 


The Transformation of Suffering

“When accepted, suffering leads to wisdom, which is the perception of the divine goodness and purpose in everything that happens. Wisdom, peace and faith — that is to say, perfect trust in God — transform suffering into — I won’t quite say ‘joy’ — but give it a meaning that takes away resistance and one can then see a value in one’s suffering that is … well, God-like.”
– Thomas Keating,
The Gift of Life: Death & Dying, Life & Living companion book

This self-guided e-course will explore the transformation of suffering as an evolutionary and transformative process in and through the divine/human experience — Christ in us, as us. The content will include excerpts from various Thomas Keating videos and writings, the wisdom of numerous contemplative witnesses and the practice of Visio Divina with the crucifix images of artist William Congdon.

Through a combination of email, video and audio teachings, you can expect:

  • A contemplative engagement with Scripture and liturgical themes of suffering
  • The use of music, art and personal stories as evocative invitations to reflect, respond and participate in your own process of understanding and transformation.
  • Mini-practices to support a contemplative life rooted in daily practice, silence, solitude, stillness, solidarity and service.

For information and to register, go here. Partial scholarships may be obtained by filling out this form.


Wisdom for Living: The Parables of Jesus

What is the Kingdom of God like?
And to what shall I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that someone
took and sowed in the garden;
it grew and became a tree,
and the birds of the air made nests
in its branches.
— Luke 13: 18-19

“When rightly understood, the parables help us to see how extraordinary a wisdom teacher Jesus really was, and how revolutionary, in the best sense of the word, was the content of what he taught and to which he bore witness by his life and death.

“These insights cohere particularly well with the actual experience of people on the spiritual journey. When contemplative prayer is seriously embraced, we come upon [a] lived reality … the reversal of expectations, the gradual and often painful liberation from emotional programs for happiness, and the increasing discovery of the kingdom of God in the ordinary and everyday.”
— Thomas Keating in the preface to Meditations on the Parables of Jesus

This self-guided, online course is based on teaching excerpts from Thomas Keating’s book, Meditations on the Parables of Jesus, which he once picked as his “best book.”

For more information and to register, Click Here. Partial scholarships may be obtained by filling out this form.


Lean In, Lighten Up and Let Go: Practices for a Deeper Commitment to the Contemplative

This is an interactive online retreat to encourage a life of prayer and practice, both “on the chair” and in daily life. This course will support you in making a deeper commitment to your relationship with God, and strengthen your ability to live the contemplative life through dedication to prayer and practice, all within the normal routines of everyday life.

This e-course has been designed as a review of contemplative prayer practices for those who already engage in this form of prayer as well as those who would like to begin such a practice.

Led by Mary Dwyer, a long-time practitioner of Centering Prayer and student of Fr. Thomas Keating, this retreat is a four-week practicum based on a series of four questions, inspired by the teachings of Fr. Basil Pennington.

More Information…


Centering Prayer as Practice and Process

Centering Prayer as Practice and Process
Self-guided, on-demand e-course

If you are new to Centering Prayer or wishing to renew your practice, this retreat will assist you with deepening your relationship with God by focusing on teaching and practicing the method of Centering Prayer.  This course also explores the place of contemplative prayer in the Christian tradition, the conceptual background of Centering Prayer, psychological processes, and insights into establishing Centering Prayer as a way of life.

You can expect 12 emails with links to video and audio teachings to support learning and practicing Centering Prayer.

For more information and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, please go here.

Partial scholarships are available from Contemplative Outreach by filling out this form.

 


Centering Prayer as Purification, Illumination, Union

Centering Prayer as Purification, Illumination, Union
Self-guided, on-demand e-course

In this, the second offering of the trilogy on Centering Prayer (the first course may be found here), the focus is on how the practice of Centering Prayer serves as a doorway into a process that results in the transformation of our entire being.

The Christian spiritual journey has traditionally been expressed in terms of purification-illumination-union or contemplation, a process wherein the scales fall from our eyes and we experience reality within and without – as it is, rather than through the overlays of our programs for happiness and cultural conditioning. Centering Prayer provides space for these movements to take place, for the Divine Therapist to heal obstacles to the flow of grace through a purification process and to illumine our mind and heart — our whole being — to the Divine Presence, beyond thoughts, words, and emotions.

4 CEHs for chaplains available.

For more information and to register with our partner, Spirituality & Practice, go here.

Partial scholarships are available from Contemplative Outreach by filling out this form.