I am excited to share my interview with Thomas J. Bushlack, Ph.D.
As pulled from his web site.
- You’ve heard about the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and contemplative prayer
- You’d like to feel more centered, compassionate, and connected to God (or your Higher Power) and to others
- You want to give back to your community
BUT who has the time to begin or deepen a contemplative practice?
You do! We were all created for divine union – we just need a little support, inspiration, and lots of love to get there.
As a young(er) man, I wanted to be a monk and live a life of quiet contemplation, but the Spirit had other plans of marriage, raising a family, building a career, engaging in my local community – amid challenges of anxiety and recovery. The resources on this site are dedicated to sharing the fruits of contemplation with others.
In my day job, I’m associate professor of Theology and Christian Ethics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO, where I’m also the co-director of the Ashley-O’Rourke Center for Health Care Mission. I’m also a Trustee of the Trust for the Meditation Process, an oblate of St. Benedict at St. John’s Abbey (Collegeville, MN), and a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer through Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.”
Now on to the interview!
Tell us a little bit about your podcast: Contemplate This! When did it start? Why did you begin your podcast?
“Contemplate This!” was inspired by Michael Gervais’s podcast, “Finding Mastery.” He interviews people who are masters in their field in order to understand what makes them tick and drives them to greatness. I thought it would be really cool to create a similar podcast and interview people who are masters of the contemplative life.
The idea really took off after I attended a gathering at Snowmass monastery last year and met Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, Laurence Freeman, and Tilden Edwards. I just asked them to be interviewed and they all agreed. That’s how it was born.
What are some unexpected fruits that you have experienced as a result of your podcast?
The interviews are really fun, and I receive loads of inspiration from talking with these incredible people! That would be enough for my own benefit, but sharing these interviews with thousands of listeners makes it all the more rewarding.
But the best part is hearing from people who love the podcast. Some of the emails I receive are really moving – people finding connection or helpful ways to deal with their struggles, deepen their contemplative practice, or discover breakthroughs in personal or professional life. It’s really humbling to know the Spirit is at work through the podcast.
You mention on your site, “We were all created for divine union – we just need a little support, inspiration, and lots of love to get there.”
How do you define divine union?
My favorite way to describe divine union comes from St. Gregory the Great (6th century) – “resting in God.” My faith teaches me that it’s possible to experience this union in this human body, right here and right now. And since God is infinite – and infinite love – everyone can open to that infinite depth.
Like all great adventures, we don’t know where it will lead. But we know that God desires this union with us and for us to share the fruits of that union with a hurting world.
What is prayer? How do you pray?
Prayer is anything we do in order to develop a relationship with God. We “practice” specific forms of prayer in order to turn our whole life into prayer. I pray when I worship as part of a community, when I talk to God in verbal prayer, when I read Scripture, and when I sit in silence to rest in God’s Presence. St. Paul suggests we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – contemplative prayer allows the Spirit and presence of prayer to soak into everything we do.
I see you have a couple of online courses. Tell us a little bit about them. Where can people learn more about them?
Right now I have three courses, and am working on creating more. You pick the price you pay for the course.
- “Igniting Compassion” is a free mini-course that guides participants through connecting contemplative practice with compassionate social action.
- “Everyday Mysticism” is an introduction to the history, theology, and – most importantly – the practice of contemplative prayer in the Christian tradition. It’s great for someone who is brand new, or for those looking to brush up or deepen their practice.
- And “The 11th Step” is designed to help persons integrate prayer and meditation into a 12-step program of spiritual recovery. While it is designed for persons in an addiction and recovery program, it can be very helpful for anyone looking for practical ways to deal the universal human experience of craving that leads to suffering.
More information about all these courses is available at www.Contemplative-U.com
Do you have any upcoming projects that you wish to share?
Yes, I do! In fact, I’m working to roll out an entirely new business model so that I can draw upon my expertise in contemplative practices, ethics, and decision-making to help leaders to make wise decisions in service to the greater good. These will be offered for individuals seeking personal development, and also for executives, managers, or leaders in corporate contexts seeking leadership and professional development.
Within the next few months I’ll be rolling out new personal and professional development offerings that are likely to include: online learning, in-person workshops, public speaking, and one-on-one coaching. Info about these new offerings will be available at www.thomasjbushlack.com. People can also sign up for my email list there, and receive updates about new products as soon as they’re available.
What is (are) the best place for people to find you to learn more about you and your work?
The two websites noted above – www.thomasjbushlack.com and www.Contemplative-U.com. People can also join a growing community at https://www.facebook.com/contemplativeu/, or connect with me via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tjbushlack/
Tom thanks for taking the time to share about you and the wonderful work you do!
this post may contain affiliate links
One on One Coaching with Rich
Does this sound like you?
“I am bored with my life?”
“I am not doing the things that I want to do in all areas of my life:”
-career, personal, family, community.
I feel unfulfilled, like I am just going through the motions everyday.
I have dreams and goals, but I am afraid to show up and take action on them.
I don’t want years to pass and be disappointed when I look back on my life.
Integrating Centering Prayer practice with your everyday life addresses all of these thoughts.
Do you want to obtain the freedom to become your true self, the person I’m created to be?
How do I create a long lasting and sustainable centering prayer practice?
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions.
I will work with you to setup a program designed to meet your specific needs.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer re-energized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. This companion audio program—created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide—gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.
The Contemplative Journey (Volume I) is Father Thomas Keating’s great masterwork: a complete curriculum devoted to a Christian path for achieving the still point of resting in God.
Learn More About:
- The complete history, theory, and daily practice of Centering Prayer
- What the medieval saints knew about resting in God
- The sacred word that revitalizes your prayers
- How to heal the irrational drives that can sabotage your spiritual growth
“In case you haven’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops.” This is the opening sentence of Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. Since its publication in 2007, I’ve been inundated with questions about why that inner voice is always talking, why so much of what it says is negative and stressful, and most importantly, how you free yourself from it. In this course, we will put to rest any questions you have about that inner dialogue. Not just about quieting it down—but about how to steadily remove the root cause of its existence.
The story of Jesus has not waned in its power to change lives. Although many of us grew up in a culture suffused by the mythos of Jesus, today we feel disconnected from the essence and vitality of his teachings. With Resurrecting Jesus, Adyashanti invites us to rediscover the life and teachings of Jesus as a direct path to what may be the most radical of transformations: spiritual awakening.
The Enneagram and Grace: 9 Journeys to Divine Presence by Richard Rohr and Russ Hudson – Fr. Richard Rohr and Russ Hudson offer a deep study of the Enneagram as a powerful spiritual tool. The Enneagram has become many things to many people, but its roots are profoundly spiritual and are based in the studies of the Desert Fathers, the world’s first Christian monastics. At its core, the Enneagram addresses the question of how we fail to recognize the presence of Grace in our lives. It helps us see the psychological issues that cause us to forget the Divine Presence here in each moment.
The Cosmic Christ by Richard Rohr – In this teaching, Fr. Richard gives profound insight into the nature of the historical Jesus and what the resurrected Christ really means. We are reminded that the material and spiritual worlds are part of the same universal reality. As the Body of Christ, we are all called to participate in relationship with the Divine Trinity.
This new course by Contemplative Light is currently 1/3 off!
Living Sacraments: The Christian Mystics & The Inner Journey to God – How might your life change if you were steeped more deeply in the wisdom of the Christian Mystics? This course helps contemplatives, healers, clergy, and spiritual directors get a handle on the daunting subject of Christian Mysticism to draw on this timeless wisdom for their own spiritual journey AND to provide care to those they serve.
After taking this powerful course, you will know:
- The path of mystical transformation
- The four main mystical types
- The three eras of mystical flowering in the Christian West
- The lives, key teachings, challenges, and major works of TWENTY of the Christian mystics