This unit will explore both the principles and practice of inner spiritual growth through the model of Parker Palmer’s Hidden Wholeness and contemplative group reflection through story, poem, art and reflection. Participants will learn through lectures, discussion, contemplative group work and a retreat experience.

Unit code: DS9207W

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Examine and evaluate their personal approach to exploring the inner spiritual landscape


Demonstrate both an understanding and integration of Parker Palmer’s approach to the spiritual life


Establish and design a contemplative circle


Lead a contemplative group


Integrate personal spiritual experience with ancient and contemporary contemplative knowledge through the group process


24 hours of lecture and discussion, participation and a two day 12 hour participatory retreat. About 33% of the time will be given to the lectures and experiential workshops. The contemplative circles will be about 33% and the retreat experience will involve about 33% of the time allocation

Indicative Bibliography

  • Belden, Lane. The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press. 1998
  • May, Gerald G.. Pilgrimage Home: The Conduct of Contemplative Practice in Groups. New York: Paulist Press. 1979
  • O’Donohue, John. Benedictus: A Book of Blessings, United Kingdom: Bantam Press, 2007. (recommended for purchase)
  • Palmer, Parker J. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2004. (recommended for purchase)
  • _______. Healing the Heat of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass. 2011
  • _______. The Active Life: A Spirituality of Work, Creativity and Caring. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 1990 (recommended for purchase)
  • _______. The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration of Contradictions in the Christian Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2008
  • _______. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2007
  • _______. Community, Knowing and Spirituality in Education
  • Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Co. 2009
  • Vennard, Jane E. Be Still: Designing and Leading Contemplative Retreats. Washington: Alban Institute. 2000
  • Whyte, David. Where Many Rivers Meet. Washington: Many Rivers Press. 2004


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

2,000 report on a Contemplative Circle

2000 25.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

2,000 word tutorial paper

2000 25.0

4,000 word essay

4000 50.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:51 +1000