man praying

Invitation to Contemplation

This reflection and invitation is by First Church friend Duncan Holloman.

For many of us, Advent is a time for introspection and reflection.  As the days grow shorter, we feel the silence of winter, and experience an invitation to become still and quiet. As we anticipate the return of the light (both literally and figuratively in Christ), we turn inward in contemplation and appreciation.

In the new year, I will be hosting a weekly gathering of folks who wish to explore a contemplative approach to our spiritual life.  Together we will learn about, and practice, various approaches to accessing our inner world, with an eye to “doing the inner work of outer work” — seeing the relationship between reflective contemplation and action in the world.

My sense is that our culture tends to emphasize mentalized ways of knowing, and my hope is that we can investigate alternative experience-based ways of knowing, particularly those from the mystical and monastic traditions.

A bit about me: I’m a seasoned psychotherapist, with an extensive background in both Buddhist and Christian contemplative practice.  My doctoral dissertation was on mindfulness and the practice of psychotherapy, written before the current enthusiasm for mindfulness had emerged.  I’ve also taught psychotherapy at the masters and doctoral levels.

Earlier in my life I was a professional actor and singer, which provided an opportunity for me to use my emotional and bodily responses in my work.  It was in my acting training that I first encountered meditation and similar practices to facilitate access to my inner world of experience as an integral part of the performer’s craft of personal self use.

In January I will be hosting a zoom call for those who feel drawn to a contemplative spiritual path.  We can get to know one another a bit, and you can get a sample of how we might spend our time together.