Center for Spiritual Imagination

Ways of Belonging

© Matt Veligdan

There are three ways of belonging to our community: the “exploring” way, the “companion” way, and the “vowed” way.

The exploring way is an entry point where people are introduced to our practices and way of life. Those who have engaged in the exploring way and feel a calling to a more committed way of belonging to the community are invited to discern becoming a companion of our community. The third way, that of a vowed way of belonging, is for those who aspire to make a new monastic commitment and continue their formation in order to become a teacher of engaged contemplative spirituality. 

Those interested in either the Companion Way or the Vowed Way should begin by applying for Candidacy Program. There is no application necessary for the Exploring Way.

Our Community has members from all five times zones in North America. We are a dispersed community that meets primarily online, with several in person retreats. You are welcome to apply regardless of your location--but keep in mind that our programs happen primarily in the evenings in the Eastern Time zone.

Reach out at for more information.


© Matt Veligdan

In the exploring way, you are welcome to join any of our public programs and pray and study with us through our public offerings and liturgies.

This is a great way to experiment with the prayer practices we teach in order to see what speaks to your sense of spirituality and how you experience God in your life. At this level of belonging, you are simply engaging with our community and its teachings on your own terms. You can view our public offerings on our events page.


© Matt Veligdan

In the companion way of belonging, you can begin to more seriously engage with our rule and rhythm of life. You may speak with one of our community members who can help you adopt practices that suit your individual needs.

This way of belonging requires a commitment to daily prayer and a desire to grow spiritually by adopting some version of our Rule of Life. Companions must first complete our candidacy program, which involves completing our course on the Incarnation Method of Prayer, committing to regular attendance at our weekly meditations, attendance at two or more of our public events, and writing reflections and journal entries on your experience. Applications for the 2024 Candidacy Cohort are now open.


© Matt Veligdan

Those who feel especially attracted to a vowed new monastic life are invited to explore the possibility of joining our community.

Vowed members of our community go through a comprehensive process of discernment, integral spiritual formation, monastic immersion and in-depth study before being invited to take seasonal vows and commit to “ongoing conversion of life,” which eventually may result in permanent vows. Our formation emphasizes deep practice, a solid theological foundation, and an overall understanding of spiritual journey, especially the dry seasons of prayer life, the need for one-on-one mentoring, and the importance of an honest and heartful community of accountability and mutual support. We also emphasize the integration of contemplation with action and justice making, and a cultivation of aliveness, celebration, and joy as promises of spiritual life.

For more information on timeline and deadlines for entering the vowed way, please read our detailed Vowed Way of Belonging page. Then you can submit an application for our next Candidacy program using this link.

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