This unit explores the foundational principles of contemplation and their relevance to our life, work and spiritual practice. The formation program will draw on the various contemplative elements of inner silence, solitude, spiritual practices, listening, discernment and the human experience of the Transcendent.

Participants will be invited to reflect on these aspects of contemplation and the impact on their developing awareness of spiritual aspects and practices in participant’s everyday life experience.

Unit code: DS9201W

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Proposing College: Whitley College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an informed and critical appreciation of contemplation


Articulate an understanding of various experiences of contemplation


Assess models of spiritual practice, listening and action that relate to everyday life experience


Compare and contrast various approaches to contemplative practices as they relate to vocational engagement and systematically evaluate the traditional approaches to contemplative practice.


Creatively apply the principles of contemplative practice to discernment processes in life decisions

Unit sequence

No prerequisites required


Lectures, personal reflection, sharing in triad groups, supervised practice.

Indicative Bibliography

  • = set texts recommended for purchase
  • Edwards, Denis. How God Acts : Creation, Redemption, and Special Divine Action. Minneapolis [Minn.]: Fortress Press, 2010.
  • Hall, Thelma. Too Deep for Words : Rediscovering Lectio Divina. New York: Paulist Press, 1988.
  • Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Sabbath, Its Meaning for Modern Man. New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1951.
  • Johnston, William. Christian Zen. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.
  • Laird, Martin. Into the Silent Land: The Practice of Contemplation. London, UK: Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd, 2006.
  • Liebert, Elizabeth. The Way of Discernment : Spiritual Practices for Decision Making. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.
  • Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York, NY: New Directions, 1972.
  • Merton, Thomas, and William Henry Shannon. The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2003.
  • Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See. New York: Crossroad Pub. Co., 2009.
  • Rolheiser, Ronald. The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering a Felt Presence of God. New York: Crossroad Pub., 2001.
  • Scharmer, C. Otto, Peter M. Senge, Jospeh Jaworski, and Betty S. Flowers. Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society. New York: Doubleday, 2008. 
  • Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. New York: Plume, 2006.
  • Yaconelli, Mark. Growing Souls: Experiments in Contemplative Youth Ministry. El Cajon, CA; Grand Rapids, MI: Youth Specialties, Zondervan, 2007.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)


5000 70.0
Book Review

Book review

3000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 9 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:49 +1000