The writings of Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, and John Main have sparked a renewed interest in contemplative life and practice among many individuals and communities in both the Catholic and Protestant Christian traditions. Parallel to this development is the explosive growth in the West of the practice of Mindfulness. Originally a Buddhist practice, Mindfulness has been adopted by many Christian and non-religious practitioners as a way of integrating the mind, heart, and body in present moment awareness.                                                 

In this course we will first trace the roots of Christian contemplative prayer with a particular emphasis on the Conferences of John Cassian, the anonymous Cloud of Unknowing, the Spanish Carmelites Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, and the contemporary Trappist monk Thomas Merton. We will then examine in some detail the theoretical framework of Centering Prayer (Keating), Christian Meditation (Main), and Mindfulness as well as the ways these practices support and deepen the inner journey. 

 Students will also have the opportunity to practice Centering Prayer, Christian Meditation, and Mindfulness and reflect on their experience.