Contemplative Spiritual Direction Training

~ a year-long program with three residencies at The Alcyon Center ~

Cohort I: Mar 2016 – Sept 2017 cohort is now full and underway

Cohort II: Nov 2016 - April 2018 cohort is now full and underway 

Now forming:  Cohort III: March 7-11, July 11-15, and Nov 7-11, 2018   Download 2018 application and full information here.

Please note: Participation in one of the Silence and Heart Trainings is a pre-requisite to the Training in Contemplative Spiritual Direction (CSD). Formerly the first module of the training, it is now a stand-alone training, and introduces the foundational practices that will be used in the CSD Training. See website for dates and description.


Grounded in contemplative practices with silence and the heart, and informed by the ancient traditions of 'spiritual companioning'--we seek to bring spiritual direction out of the prayer room and into the world.

Living deeply into unfolding world events, we feel the growing need for contemplatively grounded practical spiritual leaders. We have been working towards new language and forms to meet the spiritual hunger and cultural grief of our times.

This Contemplative Spiritual Direction Training is open to all, particularly those seeking to work with young people, veterans, recovering addicts, change-makers, and the dying.

Residential site

The Alcyon Center is a small practicing contemplative community offering programs, trainings and retreats. Known for the beauty of its cove and trails and the wide embrace of its hospitality, it offers a unique setting for intensive study and deepening practice. Participants share comfortable double rooms and participate in some of the daily tasks of community life.

Overview of Training

Spiritual direction is an ancient tradition of “companioning” a person or group of people on their spiritual journey. Training in Contemplative Spiritual Direction involves the study and practice of exercises, rooted in the contemplative tradition, that enable one to develop the capacity to listen in order to help others discern and respond creatively to the promptings of the spirit. Hence our program does not so much train “directors” but “guides” who can help others listen inwardly to the “speaking silence” of the world.

At the most basic level we do this by entering silence and cultivating heart awareness. Heart awareness, or presence, brings us into an intimate and receptive resonance with both the natural world and with other human beings. Fostering this ‘infinite intimacy’ is at the heart of healing the duality of our present world, in which we feel alienated from earth and from each other. As such, it is eminently practical and can be applied to virtually any activity or situation.

Training in Contemplative Spiritual Direction requires immersing oneself in a matrix of spiritual formation including practices, personal inner work, and the experience of group and individual spiritual direction. Complementing that experiential work, teaching modules focus on traditions, historical figures, sacred texts and poetry—allowing us to elucidate the themes and issues that arise in both individual and community spiritual life and identity.

Our program, though non-sectarian, is indebted to the inner contemplative tradition of Christianity and to Spiritual Psychology. Spiritual Psychology, as developed by Robert and Cheryl Sardello, draws from multiple sources, including phenomenology, depth psychology and Anthroposophy.


Pre-requisite Silence and Heart Introductory Intensive:  March 9-12 or June 8-11 or Nov 9-12, 2017. 

Cohort III: March 7-11, July 11-15, and Nov 7-11, 2018

Download 2018 application and full information here


Background Information from Letter of Inquiry for Grant from The BTS Center Innovation Incubator

In early June 2016 we received a $20,000 grant from the The BTS Center’s Innovation Incubator to help us “continue to think boldly about practical, grounded and visionary scholarship, research and training to inspire and form spiritual leaders working at the most vulnerable edges of our culture.”

The grant recognized that our inaugural Training in Contemplative Spiritual Direction, with 13 students, is the seed of a comprehensive and visionary model for forming spiritual leaders for contemplatively grounded and prophetic ministries. With this grant we will form this seed vision into an annual program and related trainings. We are grateful and honored to be part of this first granting cycle.  Our Letter of Inquiry (PDF) for the grant describes the background, vision and preparation for this training.