Centering Prayer --

Contemplative Outreach International Office

Contemplative Outreach International Office has a fine Web site where you can read recent articles by Fr. Thomas and the national newsletter.  You may reach them by phone at (973) 838-3384 or e-mail them at
Contemplative Outreach - USA

There are chapters of Contemplative Outreach throughout the world which share the same mission. 

Contemplative Outreach Northwest (Washington, Oregon)

Contemplative Outreach Birmingham, Alabama

Contemplative Outreach of St. Louis

Contemplative Outreach of Metropolitan Washington   DC

Contemplative Outreach of Orange County (NY)

Contemplative Outreach Ohio

Contemplative Outreach Northwest

Contemplative Outreach, Dallas, Texas

To find a contact person in your area in the United States, visit  or to find a web site for a local group visit

Outside the US, visit

Centering Prayer Mail list Information on how to subscribe to this Web based mail list dedicated to discussing experiences in Centering Prayer is available. Please return to this page.  
Father William Meninger

In 1974, Father William Meninger, a Trappist monk and retreat master at St. Josephs Abbey in Spencer, Mass. found a dusty little book in the abbey library, The Cloud of Unknowing. As he read it he was delighted to discover that this anonymous 14th century book presented contemplative meditation as a teachable, spiritual process enabling the ordinary person to enter and receive a direct experience of union with God.   In Father William's site, you will be able to listen to a 4 hour video and audio on Centering Prayer.  Father Meninger has taught on forgiveness,  the Cloud of Unknowing, and the Enneagram in northern California. 
The language of silence is universal United Kingdom: The web site for Contemplative Outreach of the United Kingdom will inform you of events throughout the Kingdom.  You can visit the UK web site at and directly contact Elizabeth Smith, the coordinator, at  or 01772620746 from within the UK.

Portuguese:  Há um site em Português sobre Oração Centrante e também um sobre os "Padres do Deserto". Temos também uma 'Lista' na internet sobre Oração Centrante, onde se procura divulgar a OC, ajudar as pessoas que estão se iniciando e partilhar a vida de oração. Há mais de 80 pessoas na lista. Acesse o link e siga as intruções para aderir a essa Lista. Para mais informações envie email Jandira para

There is a  Portuguese language web site for centering prayer is and there is also a page in which the  Fathers of the desert are translated into Portuguese. A list serve is available in Portuguese at and from there follow the instructions on joining. For more information, email Jandira

Spanish. El folleto con el "Metodo" ha sido traducido al español, y los tres libros basicos del P. Thomas Keating sobre la Oracion Centrante, junto con todos los demas libros que el ha escrito,  tambien existen ya en español.  Para ordenarlos, puede contactar a Maria Lopez, telefono 305-223-7329 o E-Mail  Existe una lista en español  La directriva de Extension Contemplativa Internacional puede ser contactada en E-Mail, a y telefono 407-767-7567 o or  escribe a Extensión Contemplativa Internacional,  284 Curlew Circle, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701-7658.  El boletin que publica Extension Contemplativa en español se puede leer en

The method brochure has been translated into Spanish and Father Thomas' basic trilogy on centering prayer is now available in Spanish. There is a Spanish language listserve on Yahoo at  You may contact the leaders of Extensión Contemplativa Internacional by emailing Ilse Reissner at  or by writing to Extensión Contemplativa Internacional,  284 Curlew Circle, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701-7658. The Spanish newsletter is available at

Korean: Father Thomas' book Open Mind, Open Heart has been translated into Korean and was useful for a recent Korean language workshop offered at St. Cyril's Church 6226 Camden St., Oakland, CA 94605.  You may contact Tae Song Chung (925)-964-9248 for more information on the Korean group in Oakland, California. Contemplative Outreach, Korea is at and you may email Mr. Kim Donghan ( at the Contemplative Outreach office in Korea or call the Korean office at 82 2 421 1968.

Centering Prayer in Ministry

Mastery Foundation.  Through the development of a dialogue, the creating of new distinctions, and the teaching of Centering Prayer we make available to anyone who defines their work as sacred ministry: 
  • a profound experience of that which originally called them to ministry
  • a new way of approaching ministry that allows for vastly expanded creativity, energy, and effectiveness 
  • the ability to recapture and revitalize commitments and experiences that have dulled or eroded
  • a new understanding and compassion for those of other faiths who minister 
  • the ability to empower and animate others in their faith and to stand for miracles in their own ministry.  
  • One of Father Basil's best books is Centered Living, an  introduction to living one's entire life through the inspiration of the Spirit's most fruitful gifts. You can read the book online.  

Father Basil Pennington was Chairman of the Board.  He died June 3, 2005 and his body was laid to rest at St. Joseph Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts on June 10, 2005.  He had been in a serious car accident on March 29, 2005. 


Christian Meditation

  • Fathers John Main and Laurence Freeman  Father Laurence Freeman, OSB
For some 30 years, Father John Main and Father Laurence Freeman have taught a form of meditation based on  the repetition of a Christian mantra that leads to contemplative stillness.  Their service organization, the World Community for Christian Meditation,  energetically and thoughtfully supports prayer groups throughout the world, sponsors deep Christian-Buddhist contemplative dialogue, and witnesses for forgiveness and reconciliation in troubled spots like Ireland.  We reproduce here an article Father Laurence wrote on how the church of the future can be renewed popularly by contemplative prayer groups
Contemplative Mind in Society
  • Teacher formation

Under the guidance of Parker J. Palmer, author of The Courage to Teach, the Fetzer Institute created the Courage to Teach program, piloting an approach to professional development called "teacher formation." This approach is rooted in the the inner life of the teacher is crucial and valuable. Courage to Teach is devoted to deepening that personal wellspring from which we must drink in order to satisfy ourselves and to truly reach our students.  Parker Palmer has published essays on the teachers inner life are also available

Prayer and Life

Carmelite nuns in Indianopolis have designed a particularly engaging web site where they model very well reflecting on news stories and  praying for the people involved in the suffering and opportunities of our times. 

Grateful-news -- a web site with news to inspire gratitude.


Do you find much to be grateful for on the evening news? We want to bring you news for which you can indeed be grateful. This web site is inspired by Brother David Steindlrast's teaching on gratitude. Pass it along!
The Sources --

John Cassian

The Conferences of John Cassian summarize Cassian's understanding of how monks in the desert of Egypt prayed during the late 4th century.  This has been a source of teaching on prayer beyond images or thoughts and constant prayer even during other activity for anyone on a contemplative path for centuries. 
John of the Cross

Christ on the cross by John of the Cross

  • John of the Cross is best approached through the Living Flame of Love and the Spiritual Canticle according to our friend and scholar, Dr. Richard Hardy.  A reprint of an excellent biography of John of the Cross by Dr. Hardy, Search for Nothing, is available through Contemplative Outreach of Northern California.  
  • The Carmelite nuns of Indianapolis have created a site that weaves together their love of prayer, silence, and solitude with thoughtful reflections on selected political and events from the news.  You can also request the sisters to pray for you. A sweet, thoughtful, and attractively designed site.

  Teresa of Jesus (Avila)


  • Teresa of Jesus (Avila).  Unfortunately, modern translations of her writings are not available on the Web.  The Way of Perfection, the autobiography and the Interior Castle are available in an older translation.  You can order (printed) books of modern translations from ICS (Institute of Carmelite Studies) Publications at  (800) 832-8489 or visit their Web site. 
  • A  convenient collection of sayings of Teresa of Avila on the beginning of infused contemplation.
Thomas Merton
  • Thomas Merton. Firewatch " dedicated to distributing information on the works of Thomas Merton and on religious contemplation in general." The site includes Research on the Contemplative Life: An Electronic QuarterlyThe Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland  lists many electronic publications about Merton available on the Web.  
St. Francis de Sales and

St. Jane de Chantal

St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane De Chantal

  • Thoughts on Prayer by the founders of the Salesian tradition.  The Introduction to the Devout Life is available on-line. "You should try to pass from prayer to every kind of activity your state of life legitimately requires of you, even if these seem far removed from the desires you had in prayer. What I mean is that a lawyer must know how to move from prayer to pleading, the salesman to marketing, the married woman to the care of her family --with such gentleness and serenity that their minds are not disturbed. Since both prayer and our duty are according to God's will, then you must go from one to the other in the spirit of joy and peace."
The Journal of George Fox But above all he excelled in prayer. The inwardness and weight of his spirit, the reverence and solemnity of his address and behaviour, and the fewness and fullness of his words, have often struck even strangers with admiration, as they used to reach others with consolation. The most awful, living, reverent frame I ever felt or beheld, I must say, was his in prayer. And truly it was a testimony he knew, and lived nearer to the Lord than other men; for they that know him most will see most reason to approach him with reverence and fear.
  • Cistercian masters
Cistercian Studies Press publishes many of the great Cistercian teachers of prayer and contemplative living as well as many others.  
  • Wisdom Christianity
Fr. Bruno Barnhart, OSB Cam, who has presented for us in San Francisco, has a web site dedicated to the wisdom tradition within Christianity, in particular, a non-dual tradition.  He feels that this tradition has been revived among Christians today due to the impact of Eastern traditions which emphasize non-duality and remind Christians of their own tradition of non-duality existing along side the dominant tradition emphasizing relationship with God. 
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church
The teaching of the Catholic church on contemplative prayer as summarized in the catechism of the Catholic church.
Lectio Divina Weekly readings from Scripture used in Taize

See also the recommended readings available on this Web site in our reading room. 

  Lectio Divina: an on-line walk through

This web site walks the visitor through the process of selecting a passage of Scripture, reading slowly, reflecting, responding, and resting with the option to start an online discussion. Very fine for those comfortable with reading on-line.   Sponsored by MethodX (the way of Christ), an online Christian community where young adults (18-28+) can identify and explore their relationships with God and with others.  MethodX is sponsored by Upper Room Ministries®, an interdenominational, global, Christian ministry. The Upper Room is dedicated to supporting all who want to know and experience God more fully. 

Christian-Hindu Spirituality 

Bede Griffiths was an English Benedictine monk who lived in southern India for most of his adult life as a Christian monk who followed the Hindu tradition of sannyasi. This Web site introduces the reader to Bede Griffiths thinking and life as well current thinking based on his experience. 
Service of Others Food for the Poor.  "Our goals are to improve the health, economic, social and spiritual conditions of the men, women and children we serve.  Ultimately, we aspire to bring benefactors, recipients and ourselves to a closer union with our Lord." 
Prison ministry To support the teaching of Centering prayer in prisons, Gene Wekall from Los Angeles has begun a publication called The Mustard Seed, a newsletter for those engaged in and who support the practice of Centering Prayer in prisons. To subscribe, email Gene Wekall.  Contemplative Outreach of Northern California is happy to host the web version of Mustard Seed.

 To support inter-religious prison ministry, a fledgling network of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Sufi prison workers is now attempting to link informally prison service organizations in the San Francisco bay area and afterwards, hopes to link workers throughout the country.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has produced a document on prison reform entitled Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice

Thubten Chodron, an American born Tibetan Buddhist nun, student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, has an extensive web presence to prisoners.

Prison Dharma Network is a resource for contemplative ministries and outreach programs, rooted in the Buddhist traditions, providing a clearing house for information, and the sharing of experience and resources among prisoners, volunteers and corrections professionals, through our publications, our email listserv, correspondence and trainings.

Human Kindness Foundation founded by Bo and Sita Lozoff, is a non-profit organization which stresses a way of life based upon three common principles taught by the great sages of all religions: Simple living, a dedication to service, and a commitment to personal spiritual practice.  Besides its internationally respected Prison-Ashram Project, the Foundation sponsors a spiritual community and visitor's center called Kindness House, plus Bo Lozoff's free talks and workshops.

Dharma PunxThis is the story of a young man and a generation of angry youths who rebelled against their parents and the unfulfilled promise of the sixties. As with many self-destructive kids, Noah Levine's search for meaning led him first to punk rock, drugs, drinking, and dissatisfaction. But the search didn't end there. Having clearly seen the uselessness of drugs and violence, Noah looked for positive ways to channel his rebellion against what he saw as the lies of society.  Fueled by his anger and so much injustice and suffering, Levine now uses that energy and the practice of Buddhism to awaken his natural wisdom and compassion. Noah is now a Buddhist teacher in training with Jack Kornfield and the teaching collective at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. He teaches meditation retreats nationally as well as leading groups in juvenile halls and prisons around the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Psychology and Spirituality Ken Wilber, a brilliant theoretician of consciousness to whom Fr. Keating often refers.  

Michael Washburn, another leading transpersonal philosopher.  We include an interview entitled "Life's Three Stages: Infancy, Ego, and Transcendence"  and refer you to his publisher.  As of early 2001, Dr. Washburn is working on a new book entitled Embodied Spirituality in a Sacred World and the annotated table of contents are available.

Han De Wit -- a brilliant and very clear writer on contemplative psychology whose writings are not available on the Web so we refer you to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  
Inner Explorations is a place where Christian mysticism and metaphysics meet Eastern forms of meditation, Jungian psychology, and a new sense of the earth.


Vibrant Communities
  • Face-to-face 

St. Gregory Nyssen Church, San Francisco


St. Gregory Nyssen Church, San Francisco.  St. Gregory's freely hosts major events for Contemplative Outreach of Northern California and is a uniquely beautiful church and vibrant community.  

Taize, an ecumenical monastery in southern France, famous for its work with young people from around the world and its music for contemplative ecumenical worship services. 

Comunità Dei Figli Di Dio (Community of God's Family), a lively community of contemplative men and women, single and married, monastic and lay, based in Florence with affiliated groups throughout the world.  They live by the teachings of Don Divo Barsotti, a mystic Catholic theologian who boldly draws from the teaching of Julian of Norwich, Francis of Assisi, and St Sergius of Radonez.

St. Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church at 7932 Mountain Blvd. (at Keller Street) in Oakland sponsors a Contemplative Mass Sunday, October 5, 2003 At 8 A.M. and will meet on-going every Sunday 8 a.m.  contact Reverend Pamela Cranston

Virtual Communities Godfriend's Cloister   Sr. Julia Bolton Holloway's remarkably beautiful and thoughtful site (loads slowly but worth the wait) with links to sites on the medieval women mystics like Julian of Norwich, the Cloud of Unknowing, and Birgitta of Sweden. Sr. Julia's hope is that "Together we ... build an ideal monastery, an ideal convent, one that never was, is or will be, yet always is. It is our prayer that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbour as ourself, that Godfriends be without walls, for all, for the good of our Creator's Creation.
Spiritual Direction Spiritual Directors International -- an international network of Christian men and women, lay and ordained, who foster the ministry of spiritual direction and on-going development of spiritual directors

The goal and purpose of the people in this directory is to network with one another regardless of organizational boundaries. The model of this networking reality is the life of Jesus, which is God's life manifest to us in human form. This network follows the example of Jesus, who lived a life of compassionate inclusion of all peoples. The network stretches across the globe and welcomes people from all communities who practice spiritual direction. Our focus is on the continuous inbreaking of the mystery of God in this time and place.


Music Contemplative music from Taize.  

Classical monastic chant from Christ in the Desert Benedictine Monastery in New Mexico.


The organizations we list here work and live in ways we believe are friendly to our own values and spirit.  We hope they feel the same about us.  We are happy to count these organizations as our cyber-friends and, in some cases, as face-to-face friends.  As in any friendship, they are not responsible for our mistakes or shortcomings nor are we responsible for theirs. When you have finished visiting any of these sites, you will be able to return to this page by clicking on your Web browser's "Back" button or icon until this page reappears.

This page was last updated on Sunday, June 12, 2005