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The 2018 Spiritual Journey Online Program

The Spiritual Journey: Formation in the Christian Contemplative Life

Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
- Luke 17: 21

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"In growing up we had no experience of the divine presence within, which is the true security, the deepest affirmation of our basic goodness, and the true freedom. Since we did not even know that God was actually present within us, we had to look elsewhere for the security, affirmation and freedom that only the divine presence can provide. The spiritual journey is a training in consent to God’s presence and to all reality.

" … This gradual training in consent is the school of divine love in which God invites us to accept the divine plan to share the divine life with us in a way that transcends all that the human imagination can foresee."

- Thomas Keating, Invitation from God

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What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of a human life? Where is the fullness of life to be found? All the great questions of life can be approached, explored and experienced by embarking on the spiritual journey.  However, first one must become aware that there is even such a thing as a spiritual journey, something beyond beliefs and doctrines -- an awareness that Fr. Thomas says has been "monumentally" absent in Christianity in the last few centuries.  He goes on to say, "Christian religion [is] a life to be lived, a relationship with God to be developed and enjoyed. The most important fruit of … training should be a thorough knowledge, understanding and experience of the spiritual journey in the Christian tradition so … [we] can transmit the Christian life as experience." (1012 Monastery Road).

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Beginning January 2018, a yearlong online program will be offered to provide a foundation for understanding the spiritual journey through the Christian, psychological, evolutional and existential paradigms. The intention is to provide a globally-accessible program for education and formation in the Christian contemplative spiritual journey, along with the needed support and connection to an intentional community bonded through our common search for God.

Based on Thomas Keating's classic Spiritual Journey video series, this program guides participants through an integrated wisdom map of the psycho-spiritual aspects of the transformative awakening and healing that happens to Christian seekers committed to the contemplative path of consent to God's presence and action within. Fr. Thomas emphasizes the need for this context: "It is my conviction that the language of psychology is an essential vehicle in our time to explain the healing of the unconscious ….  For one thing, it is a language that is better understood than the traditional language of spiritual theology, at least in the Western world. It also provides a more comprehensive understanding of the psychological dynamics which grace has to contend with in the healing and transforming process." (Invitation to Love)

This yearlong, online program enhances and expands the foundational teachings laid out in the Spiritual Journey video series by including newer Thomas Keating video segments and additional contemplative wisdom teachings.

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"[This] is an attempt to provide a roadmap, as it were, for the journey that begins when Centering Prayer is seriously undertaken and to point to some of the recognizable landmarks on the journey, as well as to its ultimate destination.  The latter is not so much a goal to be attained, as an ever more resolute commitment to the journey.

"Although [this program] seeks to establish a dialogue between the insights of contemporary psychology and the classic Christian spiritual masters, its primary goal is practical: to provide a solid conceptual background for the practice of contemplative prayer and the spiritual journey for our time. We are called to this journey not just for our own personal growth, but also for the sake of the whole human community."

- Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation

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You can expect the following:

- Two emails each week on Monday and Thursday.  Monday's email will include an excerpt from the Spiritual Journey video series.  Thursday's email will expand the theme introduced on Monday and include further commentary and related teachings, and often a more recent Thomas Keating video segment.

- Transcripts to accompany all video segments.

- A time of review and summarization after each part of the Spiritual Journey series.

- Intentional pauses between each of the five parts of the Spiritual Journey series to review and reflect.

- An online forum (Practice Group) for reflections, questions and sharing with a worldwide community of participants.

- Active participation in the community forum by the retreat leaders.

- An invitation at the end of the program to envision your own deeper movement into the Christian contemplative life.

- Suggestions for how Centering Prayer groups might take the yearlong course together or alternatives to consider that may work better for a group.

- Access to the course materials anytime, anywhere you have internet connection.  The materials remain in your Spirituality & Practice account indefinitely, so you can review them at any time.

- Listen to this recording of Fr. Thomas Keating on why this program is important for all Centering Prayer practitioners (9:30 minutes).  A transcript of this recording can be found here.

Retreat leaders:  Pamela Begeman, Mary Anne Best, Mary Dwyer* and Julie Saad.

*Mary Dwyer, a long-time Centering Prayer practitioner, student of Thomas Keating and retreat leader, is also available for individual spiritual companioning or soul-friending during the program on a donation basis.  Appointments are scheduled directly with her. Mary will also be an active presence in the Practice Group community forum.

$295 for the year. You may register here on the Spirituality & Practice website. Registration closes February 1, 2017.

Partial scholarships are offered through Contemplative Outreach.  Please inquire by emailing pamela@coutreach.org

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