Learning Contemplative Practices

Exploring Other Contemplative Disciplines

Each Tuesday from 7 – 8:15 PM in the Chapel, we learn other ways to enter into contemplative prayer. We believe that contemplative prayer is a gift or a grace from God and that there are many ways to enter into that gift. We focus not only on meditation but also on other contemplative spiritual practices, experientials, discussions, and readings. Following this time of exploration, there is space and silence to process and share individual experiences.

Recent Explorations and Discussions

Winding Road

Spiritual Direction: Spiritual direction is about two people taking time out of busy schedules to discern the presence of God in our daily lives. It is learning to see Him in the mundane and in the magnificent moments of our lives.

Play as Spiritual Practice: In these sessions, we practice play and then pause to notice what’s happening in our inner world. What are we feeling as we play? What sense of God do we have when we play? How does God meet us during play?

Devotional Chanting: No singing background is needed. We explore the Taizé, Benedictine and modern day meditative music and experience how chanting connects and deepens our times of silence and reflection.

Journaling and the Daily Examen: When we look back over our day, we can begin to notice God and his invitations to us. We use discovery questions and different forms of the daily examen to help guide our individual time of journaling.

Thoughts and Reflections from Some of Our Participants

Engaging in contemplative practices for the first time has strengthened me in my understanding of being and not just doing. I have incorporated it into work with my clients and have seen it reduce anxiety and stress by encouraging them to be in the moment with their worry. This has given them exercises in which to engage after they leave their treatment session and has helped me become a better, more relaxed therapist. A delightful byproduct has been my ability to go deeper in my understanding of being present with God and caused me to desire to listen more deeply for the voice of the Spirit. Debbi M.
I have watched the idea and implementation of contemplative prayer and meditation grow at St James for several years, participating in the evening sessions for some time before actually adopting a daily practice of meditation in the WCCM mold. It has been a subtle but life changing experience and has led me to see other spiritual practices that many of us do perhaps without recognizing them as such (prayer, study, worship, silence, service, celebration, etc). Coming to a deeper understand of these as disciplines, I have become more intentional in my participation, and I find that they all interact with each other, urging the process of transformation along its way.Bob M.