Discernment Steps — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Discernment Steps

We ask that you enter into an intentional discernment process to assess your readiness for the Living School. There is potential for positive growth as a result of your involvement in this program, which can challenge the status quo of your own psyche, spirituality, worldview, and relationships with others. Before applying, please take the following steps.

Reflect on your openness to the Franciscan Alternative Orthodoxy, the the Perennial Tradition, and the Lineage, Themes and Educational Disciplines of the Living School. All these elements are foundational to the curriculum.

Read the following criteria of an ideal candidate, discerning your compatibility and readiness for the Living School. Applicants who meet most of these criteria will be given priority for admission. If you have any hesitation or questions about applying after reading these, please send an email to [email protected].

You are an ideal candidate for the Living School for Action and Contemplation if you:

Hunger for the depth of contemplative spirituality as witnessed in the prophetic lives and work of Living School faculty or Christian mystics.

Are familiar with the Christian tradition and open to pursuing a Christian contemplative path of awakening that is respectful of many faiths and sources of wisdom.

Long to work for positive change in the world and to hold the risk or fear you may feel about that calling.

Understand that a contemplative approach to working for change includes an openness to changing yourself, not only by coming to self-awareness of what needs to be transformed in yourself, but also awareness of how you have been conditioned by the dominant cultural paradigm.

Know growth requires a process of change and a shift in perspective that entail letting go of your ego and allowing your Spirit-centered self to emerge.

Have encountered suffering beyond what current or previous beliefs, communities, and practices can help integrate or transcend.

Are willing to grapple with complex concepts and ideas and commit to a significant amount of reading.

Understand that moments of awakening are gifts we receive rather than achieve; you know that your responsibility is to bring an open mind and heart to the program.

Understand that the Living School community arises from a common center in God where all involved—faculty, staff, and students—contribute to a supportive, compassionate, open orientation.

Engage in some form of contemplative practice (i.e., centering prayer, lectio divina, meditation, yoga, etc.).

Are willing to learn how to use the online tools and technologies that underpin the School’s dissemination of content.

Are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and participate in online and in-person community discussions with peers of various races, genders, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, classes, and political views.

If you are married or in a committed intimate relationship, it is important that your partner is part of this discernment as well. The Living School immerses students into a process that can allow the discovery of who you most truly are in the world and set you on path to live in obedience to that truth in all areas of your life. However, the desire to operate from this new realization may not necessarily be shared by those with whom you are close; this may cause friction. In particular, changes will affect your relationship with your spouse or partner. In order to integrate what you are learning into your life, you will both need to be open to change and to putting effort into maintaining a healthy relationship. Prior to applying, discuss the basic structure and purpose of the Living School with your partner in a spirit of inclusion and commitment to your relationship. Ideally, both you and your partner have established healthy practices that limit judgment and exclusion while nurturing empathy and mutual support, even in the midst of differences and conflict.

To participate in the Living School Program, ensure that your computer meets the appropriate technical requirements for full functionality in the online courses.

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