This episode features reflections on a wonderful experience the two panelists and I shared this past week in Albuquerque, NM. All three of us—Jana Spangler, JoDee Baird, and I, Dan Wotherspoon—attended the August 2018 symposium of The Living School, which is sponsored and operated by the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) that Richard Rohr, a Fransiscan monk and highly regarded author, speaker, and seminar leader, founded in 1987. The Living School is a two-year “underground seminary” <grin> in which students immerse themselves in the history and practices of the world’s great contemplative traditions, primarily Christianity, but with much crossover with Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and others. The instruction and experiences students have are not only for their own benefit, however. Both the CAC’s and Living School’s name include “action” along with “contemplation.” Students emerge with a greater depth of experience with God/Source/Animating Force of all life, and from that wellspring they work in the world in ways that try to alleviate suffering of all types—whatever they discern as the focus and work they are being called to do.
Besides Richard Rohr, two other incredible teachers and practitioners of contemplation of many types, Cynthia Bourgeault and James Finley, make up the School’s “core faculty.” The rhythm of being a student in the Living School involves attending the August symposium three times, a one-week “intensive” with Richard in the winter or spring of the next year, and committing to studying each month various assigned texts and presentations of the teachings of the world’s greatest mystics and teachers, and then processing in a small group that meets online the ideas and insights that have been striking us most deeply.
We on this show certainly share quite a few specifics about the Living School itself, as we know that some listeners might want to consider applying to it at some future date (in fact, the application process for an August 2019 start is currently open), but even if that doesn’t seem like something feasible for someone, we try to keep our conversation broad enough to be interesting to anyone who feels drawn to deepening their connection with God/Source, their community, and the wider world, especially in action and solidarity with those who are suffering.
I believe you’ll really enjoy listening!
The Living School webpages (Including a video introduction and information about the application process)
CONSPIRE 2108. Center for Action and Contemplation conference. Live streaming on August 31 – September 2. Speakers: Richard Rohr, Barbara Holmes, Brian McLaren, Barbara Brown Taylor, and Mirabai Starr
Colorado Faith Forums website. Learn about its annual symposium, 15 September 2018, Parker, Colorado
Mormon Matters Retreat, 12-14 October, Salt Lake City. Click here for details, registration information, and about scholarships to attend or to help others attend.
Any books purchased through the links below helps Mormon Matters podcast. Thanks in advance!
Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See
Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
James Finley, Thomas Merton’s Path to the Palace of Nowhere (audio book)
James Finley, Christian Meditation: Entering the Mind of Christ
Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality of the Two Halves of Life