Some of our retreats focus on classic practices of one of the world's religions, such as Centering Prayer, Intercessory Prayer, Lovingkindness meditation, or Remembrance of God. The e-course provides step-by-step instructions in these practices.

In other programs, you will be encouraged to do some conscious reflection on a text or a poem. For the "Practicing Spirituality" e-courses and some others, you will be encouraged to try simple practices as you go about your everyday activities.

We define spiritual practices as activities you do to deepen and strengthen your relationships with God, with your inner or true self, with other people, and with the whole Creation. Our practice suggestions are designed to help you get in deeper touch with the meanings conveyed in the e-course lessons. Some will ask you to do something, but these will not be very complicated. Consider how many of the ritual exercises of the world's religions are simple — lighting a candle, eating a piece of bread, bowing.

Before we can act, however, we often need to clarify our beliefs, so asking and working with questions will be among our practice suggestions. We will often suggest that you use your mind; naming, remembering, watching, identifying, imagining are honored ingredients of the spiritual life. And we'll suggest you use your heart by getting in touch with your emotions and personal history, empathizing with others, and performing acts of service.

Some practices may require going to a special place or setting aside a period of time, but most of them can be done in the midst of your regular daily life. You may also want to keep a journal when you take an e-course, using it to write reflections on the quotes that most touch you and/or to comment on your experiences with the practices.