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: DS8201W

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Proposing College: Whitley College

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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

Foundational unit for WHT spirituality awards; Prohibited combination: DS9201W Art of Contemplative Practice 1


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

Indicative Bibliography

*= set texts recommended for purchase

  • Benner, David G. Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010.*
  • Binz, Stephen, J. Conversing with God in Scrpture: A contemporary approach to Lectio Divina. Frederick, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 2008.
  • Edwards, Denis. How God Acts : Creation, Redemption, and Special Divine Action. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.
  • 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, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2003.
  • Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See. New York: Crossroad Pub. Co., 2009.
  • Small, Simon. From The Bottom of the Pond: The forgotten art of experiencing God in the depths of the present moment. Hants, UK: O Books, 2007.*
  • 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 (%)
Book Review 2000 30.0
Essay 4000 70.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 17 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2022-07-15 09:33:05 +1000