Context of Wisdom Work

Beth O'Brien Retreats Leave a Comment

Two of the great hungers in our age are the hunger for spiritual depth and the desire to live meaningful lives that make a difference in our broken world. Many people today find themselves longing for something that will not only address these strong desires, but that can also connect the two.

Wisdom Schools have served throughout the course of human history to further spiritual development, thereby aiding in a shift towards a more compassionate human society. Drawing upon the 1500 year-old Benedictine daily rhythm of ora et labora(prayer and work), Wisdom Schools work to create in each participant an inner spaciousness that can receive spiritual teachings and instruction in spiritual practices. Within this stable, daily cadence of movement between prayer, work, study, and holy leisure, participants are introduced to the Christian contemplative heritage.

Holding out their two-fold purpose—to make accessible to Christians the rich contemplative wisdom within their own Christian tradition and the transformation of the entire human being (mind, heart, and body)—these schools of inner transformation employ a number of ancient, spiritual practices.  Core practices include contemplative prayer (meditation), lectio divina (sacred reading), chanting, sacred movement and gesture, and simple, purposeful work in community.

Additionally, Wisdom Schools have taught focused attention, mindfulness, present moment awareness, inner observation, and surrender.  Because this teaching cannot be grasped by the mental mind alone, Wisdom work also concentrates on methods and practices that open the heart and engage the body.

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