Beholding Divine Beauty

And God Saw That It Was Very Good

Special Series

In 2024 the theme for our online series will explore Beauty, Goodness and the Act of Creation in all senses, including art, theology and social justice.

The theology of creativity is the theology of the Holy Spirit

Beauty is a name for God

Every year the WCCM suggests a theme for the general reflection of our members worldwide.
Recently we have focused on Health, Unified Consciousness and Metanoia. This has proven enriching and delightful for the contemplative community, no less than for the wider general audience that the online series of ten talks, given by a creative diversity of speakers, has attracted.

In 2024 the theme for our online series will explore Beauty, Goodness and the Act of Creation in all senses, including art, theology and social justice. The sessions have proven popular with many as a way of unifying the year by developing very different aspects of an essential central theme which touches all parts of our personal experience and the challenges of our world at this time.

As we struggle with ecological as well as political and economic emergencies, a deeper understanding of beauty, goodness, and creativity may release both the joy and wisdom we need to stay centred and draw on the most life-giving and positive powers of our shared humanity.

You may subscribe to the whole series at a special rate, and if you miss a session, you may watch it later at your leisure. In this way, a unique and enlightening perspective on our common future will build up during the year and complement the on-the-ground retreats and conferences we will hold at Bonnevaux and London.

Register for the Full Series

£ 140
  • Register for full series (get 10 talks for the price of 7)
  • Opportunity to meditate at the start of each session
  • Time to interact with the speakers
  • Unlimited access to recordings
  • Registration form at bottom of page
  • Schedule of Dates & Speakers

16 January

Charles Taylor

Reconnecting with the Cosmos in Post-Romantic Poetry

Throughout his long career in many fields of thought and action, the philosopher Charles Taylor has remained true to deeper human values and meaning including the spiritual and religious. Most great thinkers are lucky to have one magnum opus. He has two : ‘The Sources of the Self’ and ‘A secular Age’. In this talk in our Beholding Divine Beauty series he gives a characteristically large view and brings in a special interest of his: the role of poetry in pointing to how we can remember what culture has forgotten – and even help us see further than before.

9 April

John Philip Newell
John Philip Newell

Sacred Earth

In this talk John Philip shares his discovery of the Celtic experience of the sacredness of the natural world and how this is a transformative wisdom for all humanity today.

7 May

Inge Relph
Inge Relph

Adventure in Uncertainty - Back to the future

Are you finding it hard to equate ‘ was Very Good ‘ with the great unravelling of the natural and geopolitical world we see about us? What if dissolution is all part of creating the Good. Perhaps seeing the world with fresh eyes, including a lens of Indigenous and feminine wisdom and recovering a sense of awe and connectedness can help us navigate to a more awakened world, taking us back to the future we long for.

4 June

Marco Schorlemmer

Being Naturally Intelligent in a Technological society : Recovering the Axiological and Creative Dimensions

Over past centuries, scientific research and technological development have been the main instruments of human liberation. They have brought increasing creative freedom to individuals and societies. But at the source of our techno-science, there is the intelligence that lies at the origin of all scientific inquiry. Marco says, ‘I shall argue that we need urgently to focus on the values and creative dimensions of this intelligence so that we can tackle the crises facing our technoscientific societies today.

2 July

Mark Cazalet

“One eye sees, the other feels” – drawing as a sacramental act of contemplative engagement

An evening to creatively recover how to see with faithful eyes and learn how to give ourselves over to seeing through the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

23 July

Diane Tolomeo
Diane Tolomeo

“To See a World in a Grain of Sand”

The beauty and goodness of creation can sometimes be forgotten in our daily lives, but the art of poetry, with its use of metaphor and indirection, can assist us in keeping that awareness alive. Poetic language has the ability to connect our inner and outer worlds in unexpected ways and help us to see with newly opened eyes. This talk will suggest some ways we can learn to look outside of ourselves to participate in a larger creative imagination.

3 September

Bernard McGinn

The Goodness and Beauty of Creation in the Eyes of the Mystics

Some people see mystics are “world-deniers,” but this is a grave misconception. Many of the great mystics have written movingly about how God’s good creation, especially as seen in its natural beauty, reveals the soul’s oneness with the Creator. In this talk Bernard will share from his lifelong study of the mystics a few (like, Augustine, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, John of the Cross, Teilhard de Chardin) who can change the way we see mystical wisdom.

15 October

Sarah Bachelard, WCCM
Sarah Bachelard

Consecrated Ground: Realising Earth’s Goodness

‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not’ (Gen. 28.16). How do we realise the goodness of earth? How do we come truly to be at home here? The world’s wisdom traditions teach there’s a necessary journey to be made, a pilgrimage without and within. We must leave a familiar way of seeing and being if we are to know ourselves and inhabit place anew. This ancient wisdom seems reflected in the extraordinary revival in recent decades of pilgrim routes such as the Camino de Santiago. But may it also be painfully undergone by those experiencing forced migration and exile from country? In this talk, Sarah Bachelard, author of ‘A Contemplative Christianity for Our Time’, explores themes of place and displacement, pilgrimage and belonging, wondering how we can learn to relate to earth and stand on holy ground.

12 November

Guy Claxton
Guy Claxton

Teenage Mystics: Educating Our Saviours To Be

Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Children and young people often have moral clarity, creativity, courage and energy that is easily squashed, soured and warped by their education. Older people easily become hidebound by habits and beliefs that make necessary adaptations to our lives look quite impossible. This becomes a condition of paralysis from which we need the young to rescue us – before the end of days swallows us up. There are grounds for true optimism: methods of schooling and teaching are evolving that welcome and strengthen some of young people’s crucial character strengths – whilst also satisfying the examination-monster.

10 December

Robert Johnson

The Mystical Language of Music: Dylan, Son or Daughter of the Sea

How Does It Feel To Be On Your Own, With No Direction Home, Like a Complete Unknown, Like a Rolling Stone. (Bob Dylan)
Dylan’s words express the deepening lostness of our age. When people feel unstable and unsustainable both environmentally and socially, many no longer believe in any ideologies, which are seen as marketing for the wealthy and powerful. Faith in organized religion is suspect.
Confidence in Media, Expertise and Governance is in tatters at present they are not trusted as working for the future of the common good.
It is from this perspective that we will visit the role of music in key periods in social history, and illuminate how often arts, music, poetry, pottery, painting and sculpture rise to the challenge of healing the incoherence of society.

  • What's Included
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Q&A with the Speakers

In each talk, you will have the opportunity to ask questions to the speaker

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Access to Recordings

By registering, you'll be given access to the talks' recordings

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Meet Fellow Meditators

Whatever the stage of your journey meet fellow meditators with whom to reflect and share your thoughts about this series in a safe environment

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Meditate Together

We offer the opportunity to meditate together at the start of each session

Full Series Registration

Single Session Registration​

  • Concessions

The prices reflect the need to achieve self sufficiency. Therefore if you’re able to give a little more we would be very grateful. Please, click here to donate.

If you need a concession please let us know. We do not turn anybody away for lack of resources. Please click the email address to contact us.

  • Registration

Photo of sergio medina on Unsplash

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