The Contemplative Initiative
* The Path of Centering Prayer
* Heartfulness Practices
* Incarnational Contemplation
A spiritual tradition stagnates unless it continues to breathe new life into itself with practices and resources appropriate
for longtime practitioners, new generations of seekers, and changing social conditions.
~ Father Thomas Keating
The Contemplative Initiative fosters the work of David Frenette in the research and development of meditation/contemplative practices, training people in these practices, and supporting others in deepening their own spiritual lives as the transformative, subtle values of contemplation are expressed through them.
Since the early 1980s, David Frenette has worked to contribute to the renewal of the Christian-Western meditation tradition as it manifests across three generations of seekers. The Contemplative Initiative (CI) is a developing project dedicated to continuing that service.
* First, CI continues to support an established generation of Centering Prayer practitioners – students of David Frenette’s spiritual father, Thomas Keating – through the practices and teachings contained in David’s book on Christian meditation, The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God.
* Second, CI is researching and developing resources on “Heartfulness Practices.” In recent decades Centering Prayer has provided a profound path for a generation of seekers shaped by the openness of Vatican II and the wisdom of the great monastic teachers of the late twentieth century. Many continue to be inspired by this path. Through Centering Prayer and other like-minded teachings, the Christian contemplative tradition has been renewed outside monasteries. Based on this foundation, CI is listening to the emerging “signs of the times.” Heartfulness Practices are a form of meditation suited to one growing group of current seekers – people who are “psychologically-aware, inter-contemplative, and spiritual but not so religious.”
Heartfulness Practices integrate the transcendent and the embodied, the spiritual and the psychological, one’s relationship with God and an inter-contemplative perspective. While beginning with a sitting meditation in which one deepens one’s relationship with God, Heartfulness Practices include mindful sacred attention in ordinary life, opens a door into more effective psychological healing, and embraces a component for active practice that responds to the pressing needs of the world. Heartfulness Practices also offer an interior practice dimension for communal contemplative worship and the personal practice of lectio divina – “sacred reading.” Heartfulness is based on the spiritual intuition of unity – the interdependence of all creation, mutual understanding among spiritual traditions, and the transformation of one’s spiritual and psychological consciousness in ordinary life.
Heartfulness Practices complement the deep contemplative receptivity that Centering Prayer orients one towards. Heartfulness Practices ground this unitive experience into one’s body, mind, and heart. For example, through mindful attention to the breath and one’s experience, deepened by spiritual devotion, more of one’s human experience is brought into conscious relationship with God, enriching contemplative transformation. Combining Heartfulness Practice with the teachings of The Path of Centering Prayer, union with God at the ground of one’s being is expressed in greater unity with the diversity of everyday human life.
Having successfully completed its first mission objective – the development of ways of deepening Centering Prayer into contemplation – CI will be focusing its research through 2015 on Heartfulness Practices. The development component to this research initially will be modest, including piloting these practices in small communities in Boulder and on select retreats, experiments with translating this live teaching into appropriate online and social media, and establishing partnerships with like-minded organizations. For more information about the first series of Heartfulness Practices being developed under CI, click here to go to our Heartfulness Practice page.
* Third, CI is committed to ongoing research and development of new contemplative practices by listening to the Spirit’s presence in emerging generations. David Frenette will both learn from and guide young adults who are exploring new ways of living contemplatively as they come to age in a fast-changing world, attuned to a deeper incarnational vision of Christ in which the human is inseparable from the divine.
Research, development, and training in contemplative practice have always been best realized through individual spiritual direction and small group teachings. David’s primary work aligns with the informal and intimate forms of transmission that are at the heart of contemplation. CI also sponsors selected retreats, training programs, and the development of written and internet resources that communicate the subtle essence of contemplation in the contemporary world.
As it becomes established CI’s funding will come primarily from donations and fees:
* Benefactors and organizations who are inspired by the vision, mission and work of CI to provide significant funding
* Donations from members and individuals through an annual appeal
* Fees – stipends from contemplative spiritual direction
* Fees – from consulting and teaching events
* Fees – subscriptions to internet resources that deepen freely offered introductory teachings
We are grateful for your support of this work.
While CI goes through the process of establishing a nonprofit organization,
donations to support David Frenette’s current teachings can be made directly to
ICP/Contemplative Outreach of Colorado
3650 Yates, Denver, CO 80212
It is in God that we live and move and have our being.