All Things Contemplative

Episode 7: Retreat Practice at 8,000 Feet with Pat Johnson

November 29, 2020 Ron Barnett
All Things Contemplative
Episode 7: Retreat Practice at 8,000 Feet with Pat Johnson
Show Notes

Show Notes 

In 1982 Pat Johnson and family moved to the Lama Foundation in New Mexico and there two months later she met Fr. Thomas Keating. She served then as the Lama liaison for two 16-day centering prayer (CP) retreats that he led at Lama in 1983 and again in 1984. These were the first intensive contemplative practice retreats in the Christian tradition using CP and inspired by Zen shessins he'd experienced.

In 1984 she served an experimental 9-week retreat Fr. Keating led at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, CO where he was a monk. This began the Snowmass CP retreats at the monastery. From 1984 until 2018, Pat served and oversaw these retreats. She has also served as a Board member of Contemplative Outreach Ltd. and was its overall interim administrator for several years. 

 Pat Discusses

- Contemplation as stillness – “the still point”
- Impetus for starting retreats – Lama Foundation history
- Two guiding principles: need determines function, we are not separate
- Importance of deep listening
- First 10 years at St. Benedict’s Snowmass – the “earthy” years, farmhouse living
- Construction of a modern retreat center with hermitages
- Ongoing monthly 10-day silent intensive retreats (with and without teaching)
- Role of silence on retreat
- Minimizing ideation on retreat - the story of Bob her husband
- The value of doing nothing
- Expression of authentic fruits – “amazing magic happens”
- Developing intimacy with others and lifetime bonds
- Who was Thomas Keating? Pat’s recollections and personal testimony
- Generosity, vulnerability, self-protection, and The Good
- Message for difficult times “we are not separate”

References Mentioned

 Contemplative Outreach of Colorado

 Open Mind, Open Heart, Thomas Keating, the practice of centering prayer

Contemplative Outreach Ltd.

St. Benedict’s Monastery Retreat House  

St. Benedict’s Snowmass Slideshow

Lama Foundation

All Things Contemplative Blog