The Tree illustrates some of the contemplative practices currently in use in secular organizational and academic settings. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list. Below the Tree you will find links to descriptions of many of these practices as well as a more in-depth description of the Tree and image files for downloading.
We hope to soon offer more information and resources on all of the practices listed on the Tree. Thank you for your patience!
© The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Concept & design by Maia Duerr; illustration by Carrie Bergman
Understanding the Tree
On the Tree of Contemplative Practices, the roots symbolize the two intentions that are the foundation of all contemplative practices: cultivating awareness and developing a stronger connection to God, the divine, or inner wisdom. The roots of the tree encompass and transcend differences in the religious traditions from which many of the practices originated, and allow room for the inclusion of new practices that are being created in secular contexts.
The branches represent the different groupings of practices. For example, Stillness Practices focus on quieting the mind and body in order to develop calmness and focus. Generative Practices come in many different forms (i.e. prayers, visualizations, chanting) but share the common intent of generating thoughts and feelings of devotion and compassion, rather than calming and quieting the mind. Please note that these classifications are not definitive. For example, mantra repetition may be considered a Stillness Practice rather than a Generative one.
Any activities not included on this Tree (including those which may seem more mundane, such as gardening, eating, or taking a bath) are a contemplative practice when done with the intent of cultivating awareness, or developing a stronger connection with God or one’s inner wisdom. We offer a free download of a blank Tree so that you can customize it and include your own practices.