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
this post may contain affiliate links
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!
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.
I am currently reading From the Inside Out: Reimagining Mission, Recreating the World by Ryan Kuja.
This new course is currently 1/3 off!
New Course: Living Sacraments: The Christian Mystics & The Inner Journey to God – If you could travel through time and learn directly from the great Christian mystics like Dionysius the Areopagite, Julian of Norwich, Meister Eckhart, or even modern mystics like Evelyn Underhill, how would it deepen your spirituality or practice? What knowledge did these figures obtain and why did it radically change not only their own lives, but their whole world? Most of us get bits and pieces of figures like Julian of Norwich and John of the Cross, but what makes each of these figures unique? What are the threads that connect them? How did they respond to the challenges of their own time and place? It is both a history class and a spiritual class where you will study the biographies of 20 Christian Mystics.
I continue to update my Resource Page including Books on Sale that features great kindle books at low prices. It includes authors such as Nicholas Amato, J Brent Bill, Daniel P Coleman, John Eldredge, Rachel Held Evans, James Finley, Sharon Grussendorff, Philip Gulley, Thomas Keating, James Martin, John Ortberg, Amos Smith, Barbara Taylor Brown.
The Power of the Jesus Prayer: Learn a method practiced by Christian mystics for centuries to consent to the action and presence of God within.
Christian Prayer Methods: Prayer is a core Christian practice, but for many, this means “saying prayers” or asking God for various favors. In this course, we will review a variety of methods of prayer that have been used for centuries in Christianity. Whether you’re a beginner who is just learning how to pray, or a more mature Christian who has been at it awhile, this course will offer specific guidance, encouragement and support for practicing several time-tested methods of prayer.
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself. It is based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message .
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
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 reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful 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.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)