I never know where my Lectio Divina meditations are going to take me.  Once in a blue moon, I make it to the contemplatio part of my four steps. Often I just do what I call the chain Lectio (someone may have another term for it). This is a series of half hour periods I do Lectio during the day, all centered on my only Lectio, Phil 2:5.  Last night, about three in the morning, I woke up thinking about my Scripture passage and got this thought. Wonder if you take God stuff, the Church, all notions of Religion completely out of the picture when you try to answer the six questions every human has to answer, sooner or later, like it or not. For me, the answer is going inside myself using Cistercian spirituality and contemplation. It is the one place no one likes to go, the unprotected and defenseless place of your mind and heart, where they dual sometimes over what is meaningful and what is superfluous.

This is a facinating source of mental inquiry, having spirituality for atheists and agnostics, but it does makes sense, if you think of contemplative spirituality as going inside to find the answers to those six questions.  By the way, they are:

  • What is the purpose of life?
  • What is the purpose of my life or what is my center?
  • What does reality look like
  • How does it all fit together and make sense?
  • How do I love fiercely?
  • I know I am going to die, now what

I actually wrote a book entitled The Six Thresholds of Life about these six questions.  I think I have figured out some of the answers, although just when I think I know something, I find a much deeper meaning that was not there before.  That is why I like Lectio Divina so much. You can order this book in the Store section of this blog. (shameless comerce).

I want to make a book that is a journal and the opportunity for atheists and agnostics to reach into the depths of their self (whatever they consider that to be) and find answers to these six questions.  It is an Internet Retreat book with URL resources to look up, if they want. There are no right or wrong answers. There is no God stuff that I push. There is only the assumption that those who take this private and personal retreat do so using the resources within them.

I was so enthused with this idea that I outlined a cover for it already. Here is an exerpt on the front and back cover.


The Center for Contemplative Practice shares


 A Lay Cistercian reflects on how contemplative spirituality addresses the six questions every human must resolve.

 An Interactive, Internet Journal Retreat

Michael F. Conrad, Ed


A Lay Cistercian reflects on how contemplative spirituality addresses the six questions every human must resolve.

Can Atheists, Pagans and Agnostics be spiritual? Depends. In the way I use spirituality, especially contemplative spirituality, since I am a Lay Cistercian, the answer is an unequivocal YES. All humans are spiritual, in the sense that they have within themselves the ability to find purpose and meaning in life and take time to look for it. What that purpose and meaning is might be different. One thing I noticed about finding the answers to life’s challenges are, they are all contained within us (mind, heart, will), using our intelligence and reason. (As a Lay Cistercian, I also add Faith.)

I asked myself the question, “Given the assumption that there is no God, how would I answer six questions every person must answer before they die?” The six core questions are:

  • What is the purpose of life?
  • What is your purpose of life or what is your center?
  • What does reality look like?
  • How does all reality fit together?
  • How do you love fiercely?
  • You know you are going to die, now what?

This is a workbook about how you answer these questions using contemplative spirituality, your definition of what that means. There are Internet URLs to look up, if you like. The one thing not in this book is any reference to God or church or religion. I encourage you to stay away from that topic. Don’t use the word “God” at all. Actually, that is the only rule or assumption I ask you to observe. What does life look like for you? The answers I came up with are quite amazing and give me hope in our culture of political hatred and jealousy.

I invite all those who consider themselves to be spiritual, but not in the “churchy” or “prescriptive” approach to what is meaningful, to use this opportunity to open you up to the ontic possibility of the manifestibility of all being. I don’t want to convert anyone except myself to exploring my inner self and discovering the wonders of what is.


One thing I have noticed about being a Lay Cistercian, my mind goes into hyperdrive, when I do Lectio Divina and place my heart next to the heart of Christ. It does not seem like anything is happening, then, all of a sudden, I have so many thoughts about so many wonderful things that my mind can’t keep up.  It is like taking a drink of water from a fire hose, or drinking conscentrated orange juice or Cuban coffee (whew).  I can’t account for where these ideas come from.  All I say is, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”

What I am trying to promote, until I no longer can, does not cost money, but it will take everyTHING you have to pay for it. Did you catch the THING part?

Stay tuned for this private retreat book. If you like any of this or want to be a part of moving some of this forward, I have zero money but a wealth of ideas. I would enjoy some help.

Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –-Cistercian Doxology.


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