The Tree of Contemplative Practices illustrates some of the many contemplative practices used in education and secular organizations.

For almost two decades, this image has been the most popular way to demonstrate a variety of forms of contemplative practice.

The Tree of Contemplative Practices

© The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Concept & design by Maia Duerr; illustration by Carrie Bergman

Suggested citation for this version:
CMind. (2021). The Tree of Contemplative Practices [Illustration]. The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. https://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree

For printingDownload an 8" x 9" .jpg image of the Tree of Contemplative Practices

For low-resolution useDownload an 800 x 890 .jpg image of the Tree of Contemplative Practices

 

Here's a version of the Tree with the practice and branch names removed, so you can fill it in however you wish.

Download a 7" x 9" .pdf image of the blank Tree of Contemplative Practices

Understanding the Tree

On the Tree of Contemplative Practices, the roots symbolize the two intentions that are the foundation of all contemplative practices: cultivating awareness and developing a stronger connection to God, the Divine, or inner wisdom. 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 the different groupings of practices. For example, Stillness Practices focus on quieting the mind and body in order to develop calmness and focus. Generative Practices come in many different forms (i.e. prayers, visualizations, chanting) but share the common intent of generating thoughts and feelings of devotion and compassion, rather than calming and quieting the mind. Please note that these classifications are not definitive. For example, mantra repetition could be considered a Stillness Practice rather than a Generative one.

 

What About My Practice?

We understand that your personal practices may appear on this illustration. The particular practices on this Tree were mentioned by members of our network as being particularly useful to them in organizational and classroom settings. This does not mean that practices which don't appear on the illustration aren't "contemplative." A more comprehensive representation might have thousands of branches!

Any activities not included on this Tree (including those which may seem more mundane, such as gardening, eating, or taking a bath) may be considered a contemplative practice when done with the intent of cultivating awareness or developing a stronger connection with Divinity or one's inner wisdom.

We offer a download of a blank Tree so that you can customize it and include your own practices.

 

Downloading and Reprinting the Tree

Yes, you may use the tree for personal, educational, and non-commercial purposes. For example, please feel free to use it to illustrate your academic paper or dissertation, pass it out during a meeting or workshop, post it on your blog or social media account, or display it in your organization's meditation room. However, the Tree of Contemplative Practices is a copyrighted image, so unauthorized commercial use, including derivative work, is not permitted.

If the tree is published or presented per non-commercial usage, please give credit to "CMind" or "The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society" (contemplativemind.org; Instagram: @contemplative_mind).

For academic uses, you can also cite the image like this:

CMind. (2021). The Tree of Contemplative Practices [Illustration]. The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. https://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree

 

Please contact Carrie Bergman at carrie@contemplativemind.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.

Thank you!

Watch a Webinar with Maia Duerr, creator of the Tree of Contemplative Practices