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.
Some of the practices on the tree link to further information–either on our website, or on Wikipedia.
© The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Concept & design by Maia Duerr; illustration by Carrie Bergman
- Pilgrimage to areas where social justice issues are highlighted
- Work and Volunteering
- Vigils and Marches
- Bearing Witness
Understanding the Tree
On the Tree of Contemplative Practices, the roots symbolize the two intentions that are the foundation of all contemplative practices. 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 different groupings of practices. For example, Stillness Practices focus on quieting the mind and body in order to develop calmness and focus. Generative Practices may come in many different forms but share the common intent of generating thoughts and feelings, such as thoughts of devotion and compassion, rather than calming and quieting the mind. (Please note that such classifications are not definitive, and many practices could be included in more than one category.)
Because this illustration cannot possibly include all contemplative practices, we offer a free download of a blank Tree that you can customize to include your own practices. Activities not included on the tree (including those which may seem mundane, such as gardening or eating) may be understood to be contemplative practices when done with the intent of cultivating awareness and wisdom.
Downloading and Reprinting the Tree
You may use the tree for personal, educational, and non-commercial purposes without permission. For example, please feel free to use it to illustrate an academic paper, hand it out to a class or workshop, post it on your blog, or print it out to display it at your organization or institution. The Tree of Contemplative Practices is a copyrighted image. Commercial use of the image, including derivative work, is not permitted without permission. Educational or academic use is not commercial use and does not require our permission.
You can contact Carrie Bergman at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions regarding the use of the tree, or if you would like to share with us how you have used it in your work. We love hearing about how it has been useful to you! Thank you!
- Download a 2.6 MB, 8″ x 10″ .jpg image of the Tree of Contemplative Practices
- Download a 3.3 MB, 7″ x 9″ .pdf image of the Tree of Contemplative Practices
For low-resolution use: Download a 185 KB, 600 x 608 pixel .jpg image of the Tree of Contemplative Practices
A Blank Tree for Your Own Practices
Here’s a version of the Tree with the practice and branch names removed, so you can fill it in however you wish.