Contemplative Trove: Practice Opportunities in February and March

Photo credit: Sandy Reich

By Melanie P. Moore, et al.

We are delighted to introduce a new feature to Practicing Presence, the Contemplative Trove. At the end of each month, we will publish a listing of upcoming contemplative and spiritual practice opportunities recommended by folks here at The Abbey. Many of us—especially during the pandemic—floundered around looking for community and deep engagement with other pilgrims on the spiritual path. Participation has continued and this is our way of sharing what we are finding helpful. We hope you will find this useful on your journey. With each listing, we’ve included “Comments” detailing what we as participants have liked. If you know of something coming up in March or April and would like to have it listed here, please email the information as shown in the listings below to by Feb. 15 to be included in the Contemplative Trove post at the end of February.

We’ve included opportunities in February and March 2023, followed by a list of ongoing opportunities. Please note that all times are listed in Central Time, except where noted otherwise.

February 2023

Eremos – Rami Shapiro, The Five Questions: Spiritually Seeking a Meaningful Life

Date and Time: Thursday, Feb. 9, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Registration: Registration – open now
Cost: $40
Frequency: One-time event
Duration: 1.5 hours
Format: Zoom
Recording Available: Yes, for 30 days following event
Description: Drawing upon his popular book Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent, Rabbi Rami Shapiro invites us into a conversation to clarify and explore these questions.
Comments: We like this because in our experience, after listening to the presenters there’s often a chance to ask questions—either live on Zoom for smaller groups or by entering questions in the chat for larger audiences. We like that recordings are available to go back and listen or to participate via recording if your schedule doesn’t allow real-time participation.

Frank Ostaseskiand Roshi Joan Halifax present: Being Alive

Date and Time: Sunday, Feb. 12, noon – 1:30 p.m.
Registration: Registration – open now
Cost: Donation
Frequency: One-time event
Duration: 1.5 hours
Format: Zoom
Recording Available: Yes, for 30 days following event
Description: “To welcome everything and push nothing away. Explore how we can move toward the absolute truth and still accept and honor our very human nature.”
Comments:  We like this because The Abbey Tuesday Meditation group has been reading Ostaseki’s book, The Five Invitations, and we think it would be great to hear the author speak. 

Center for Action and Contemplation: Introductory Wisdom School featuring Cynthia Bourgeault

Dates and Times: Starts Wednesday, February 15; materials issued weekly via email.
Registration: Registration – open until Feb. 7
Cost: $195
Frequency: Self-paced class
Duration: 14 weeks
Format: Zoom
Recording Available: Yes: “Students will have access to course content for the duration of the course. Course content will be available one week after the course ends, or until Midnight (MT) on the Tuesday following the course end date.”
Description: Online course exploring “the Christian Wisdom way of knowing and its relevance to our reality today.” Cynthia Bourgeault blends teaching with contemplative practices”. This course serves as the pre-requisite to The Divine Exchange, also offered by the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC).
Comments:  We like this because this is a good introduction to Bourgeault, who can be a little on the esoteric side. This is an accessible way to learn more about her and her work. Additionally, the CAC is an organization whose programs we know and have enjoyed. We like that the course is self-paced. There is opportunity for written interaction among participants throughout the course. This course offers the opportunity to be involved at whatever level is comfortable to you. Bourgeault is another author that we have previously read at The Abbey. 
NOTE: (This course will be offered again in August with registration starting June 28 and a course start date of Aug. 16.)

Spirituality & Practice: Mystical Hope Today with Cynthia Bourgeault

Dates and Times: Monday, February 20 – Friday, March 31
Registration: Registration – open
Cost: $87
Frequency: Self-paced
Duration: 6 weeks
Format: Email and online practice circle, with one-hour talk by Cynthia Bourgeault via Zoom on Wednesday, March 29, from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Central Time
Recording Available: Yes
Description: While the course is anchored in Bourgeault’s original Mystical Hope book, “it is not simply a rehash of that book. It combines the best moments in the original book with the growth that has unfolded in Bourgeault over the years with the circumstances in which we now find ourselves personally and planetarily. It is a whole new course, rooted in the old, but directed toward the present and future.”
Comments:  We like this because several of us have read Mystical Hope (a book we recommend, one of Bourgeault’s more accessible titles) and we are interested to see the new take on it since its original publication in 2001. The access to the online groups and the live presentation by Bourgeault are key highlights of this offering. 

March 2023

Online United in Prayer Contemplative Outreach

Dates and Times: Friday and Saturday, March 3-4
Registration: No registration required
Cost: Free
Frequency: One-time event
Duration: 24 hours
Format: Zoom
Recording Available: No
Description: This is an online 24-hour vigil around the globe. You can join in silence and community at any time and as many times as you are able. Each hour will include at least 20 minutes of Centering Prayer, followed by an offering from the hosting group, which may include a video segment, the practice of Lectio Divina, selected readings, community sharing, chanting, etc. This is an annual event usually held around Father Thomas Keating’s March 7 birthday as an homage to his work.
Comments:  We like this because some of us have participated before—in person before the pandemic where separate Centering Prayer groups could gather—and since the pandemic via Zoom. We find it meaningful because it is literally global. Different chapters in varied locations host each hour. We’ve been really touched by what the different chapters choose to do. There is always a sit and the creativity and affirmation of the connectedness of different chapters across space and time is very meaningful.

The Art of Dying and Living: An Exploration of Life, Death & the Afterlife

Dates and Times: Thursday – Sunday, March 23 – 26
Registration: Open now
Cost: $197
Frequency: Daily online conference
Duration: Four days
Format: Zoom
Recording Available: No
Description: This is an online conference and practice retreat. Explore ancient and modern understandings of the art of living and dying through the lenses of different spiritual traditions with 14 different speakers including Deepak Chopra, Matthew Fox, Joan Halifax, Frank Ostaseski and others.
Comments: We like this because we have been reading Frank Ostaseski in the Tuesday Morning meditation group and a lot of the conversations have included aspects of this topic. While it may not be for everyone, we wanted to share this for those who might find it a fit.


Word of the Week

Dates and Times: Emails sent on Sundays, meets each Tuesday at 8 a.m. and Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Registration: Sign up for weekly emails here.
Cost: Free annual subscription (with recommended donation of $95/yr)
Frequency: Weekly, per above
Duration: One hour
Format: Zoom – link is sent weekly in the email on Sunday
Recording Available: No
Description: A beautiful email is sent on Sundays with the reading of Lectio Divina that will be done. There is a sit and then the Lectio Divina.
Comments:  We like this because it’s a chance to revisit the reading for the week—and they always include beautiful artwork (it’s Lectio and Visio Divina!). We like the sense of community. It’s a pretty stable group and there’s a chance to share. We also like the balance of it—they are very mindful of the time, it’s just an hour. There’s a rhythm of it that we like. We read the emails each week and appreciate having the email in advance to sit with it a little before the group reading. There are also opportunities to interact online with the group during the week. We will note that it can be difficult to find the link for the Zoom in the weekly email; it is also spelled out here—the third bullet has link to the zoom with poorly brown highlighted “Click on this link,” but it also provides the zoom code and passcode in the email.

Wisdom Waypoints Daily Centering Prayer/Meditation

Dates and Times: Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m.; Monday/Wednesday/Sunday 6 p.m.; Saturday 10:30 a.m.
Registration: No registration required, join via website
Cost: Free
Frequency: Daily, per above
Duration: 30 minutes
Format: Zoom
Recording Available: No
Description: A collective wisdom pause for “Silence and Stillness.” Wisdom members lead each sit with a brief reading, chant, and meditation/stillness.
Comments:  We like this because it is a way to maintain our personal practice alongside others with the degree of anonymity (or not) with which we are each comfortable. Wisdom Waypoints is a part of Cynthia Bourgeault’s network of teaching and practice resources.

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3 Responses

  1. What a wonderful idea, Melanie! The Contemplative Trove will be a rich resource for me and for others, I’m sure. Thank you so much.

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