Contemplative Workshops & Retreats
Since publishing Contemplative Masonry, I have traveled the country, doing presentations about contemplative practice for lodges and other Masonic and non-Masonic groups. From the very start, a significant number have asked me to facilitate some sort of contemplative experience, usually a basic guided meditation, and often a contemplative dialogue as well. In every case, I have received very positive feedback, and frequently it has included a request for more. In fact, my next book, The Contemplative Lodge, is one response to that request. Another response has been to provide lodges and other groups with contemplative workshops where they can get more in-depth instruction and experience with contemplative practices. This note is intended to provide more information about what I have to offer in this regard.
Contemplation in Action (2-4 hours)
This workshop begins with an examination of what we mean by “contemplation,” why it’s important, and how it’s done. Different kinds of contemplative practice are presented, including various forms of mindfulness and meditation, as well as contemplative dialogue. Depending on the specific interests and needs of the group, select methods are actually practiced and then discussed so participants can feel empowered to put them to immediate use. Participants leave with personal plans for integrating some form of contemplative practice into their lives.
Contemplative Mentoring (3-5 hours)
Mentoring is by nature a contemplative process. To reap its greatest benefits, both the mentor and mentee must practice deep awareness of the various aspects of their being, and the mentor must also attempt to be deeply aware of the mentee. In discussion of Freemasonry’s inherent psychology, Contemplative Masonry presents a model of such mentoring with three essential roles – companionship, instruction, and initiation. This workshop examines that model in detail, distinguishing how the roles differ and why each is important to mentoring. Participants engage with each other to explore their own personal strengths and actually practice the essential skills among the three roles. The workshop ends with forming thoughtful plans for serving and growing as mentors.
Contemplative Leadership (2-4 hours)
Masonry and many other institutions need leaders who can help others understand, embrace, and make good use of contemplative practice. This subject is the focus of an entire chapter plus an appendix in The Contemplative Lodge. Participants learn about three fundamental roles of contemplative leadership – advocacy, consulting, and facilitation – and together consider how they may each be uniquely qualified to act as contemplative leaders. Each participant leaves with a more focused and intentional plan for self-development and action as a contemplative leader.
Contemplation and Ritual (3-5 hours)
(Prior completion of Contemplation in Action is highly recommended.) This workshop carefully considers the relevance of different contemplative practices to the performance and experience of sacred and initiatic rituals. Participants learn how intentional applications of mindfulness, imagery, subtle energy, and reflective dialogue can enhance the meaning and power of even the most common ceremonial practices. Both theory and practical experiments are provided, as well as the formation of goals and objectives for how participants can more fully integrate contemplation in their future ritual experiences.
Customized Workshops (up to 5 hours) and Contemplative Retreats (1+ days)
Customized workshops can be designed to meet the needs of just about any group. Contemplative retreats can include any or all of the previous workshops, any of my usual presentations, and/or activities specifically developed for the group. Retreats may also offer opportunities for experience that is more immersive in actual practice, focusing less on theory, and providing participants with opportunities for personal consultation with an experienced contemplative teacher. I’ve designed and led retreats up to 4 days in length.
Naturally, groups are always interested in costs. To begin with, please understand that I am not doing this work to make money, but neither am I interested in losing money. Most groups reimburse me for my transportation, lodging, and meals. Groups occasionally save money by having me stay in a member’s spare room. Some graciously offer honorariums, which I have gratefully accepted. I never request an honorarium unless it’s to cover wages lost in absence from the part-time work I now do in semi-retirement.
Finally, if your group is interested in any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact me by Messenger or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.