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.
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.
Fr. Thomas Keating 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." His teachings and those of other contemplative wisdom voices are woven throughout this retreat. 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 e-course consists of these elements:
• 12 emails sent on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during this retreat
• Live Zoom prayer chapels to pray and practice together:
Mondays 9 am Eastern Time (8 am Central; 7 am Mountain; 6 am Pacific)
Fridays 9 am Eastern Time (8 am Central; 7 am Mountain; 6 am Pacific)
• Guided audio recordings and teachings to enrich and support your practice.
• Access to an online Practice Circle where you can share you responses to the teachings and your experiences with the practices with other participants from around the world.
Often when we ask people what it means to live a spiritual life, they answer "living in the present moment." This online retreat will help you learn how to deepen and broaden that experience.
Partial scholarships are offered by Contemplative Outreach; you may apply here.