Poetry as a Spiritual Practice

This course will look at how poetry can be used as a tool to develop habits of introspection and awareness that can lead to a deeper sense of connection with the world in all its aspects: human, natural, and spiritual. We will work thru a series of writing exercises aimed at developing habits of intentionality and mindfulness. Altho’ we will be talking about religion and God, the work will be open, inclusive of all faith traditions, as well as skeptical and active non-believers. The idea is to develop a regular practice that uses poetry to cultivate the discipline of personal empowerment.

Each class will run for two hours and include a brief check in, mini-lecture, three writing exercises, and voluntary sharing. The topics for each session are laid out below. These eight sessions will cost $120, and will be scheduled according to the group’s needs and wishes. Because continuity is crucial to this course, it is not possible to sign up for individual sessions.

If you are interested, please join the group associated with this class so that we can contact you.

  1. Defining your Practice: a. A Personal History of Religion; b. Current Orientation; c. Wishes and Dreams.

2. Developing Mindfulness: a. Defining Mindfulness; b. Practicing Mindfulness; c. Using Mindfulness as a Tool.

3. Articulating experience: a. Remembering our Story; b. Signposts; c. Walking the Way Forward.

4. Reincarnation of Purpose: a. Making a Vow; b. Future Success; c. Humility and Forgiveness.

5. Praying with Gratitude: a. What is Prayer?; b. Practicing Gratefulness; c. Future Gratefulness.

6. Reiterating Surrender: a. Self-forgiveness; b. The Necessity for Faith in Grace; c. Surrender as the Companion of Happiness.

7. Integrating all parts: a. Looping; b. Creating the Big Picture; c. Integrating Feedback.

8. Sharing & Wrap-up

About Instructor

Douglas Bishop

As a teacher, Douglas has more than four decades of experience with students ranging in age from 1 to 90, but now works virtually at the Online School of Poetry and with the Lowell Poetry Wheel. As a poet, he has performed in a variety of venues, from Glasgow to Guatemala, but now he’s found primarily on Facebook at the Untitled Open Mic, where he is the co-host for an ongoing Zoom series. He recently finished a doctorate in education, looking at the development of literate identity in young writers, and continues to work with teen poets as an organizer for Freeverse!, Lowell’s youth poetry group. In addition, he has followed a mediation practice for more than forty years and studied in a number of traditions, ranging from early on at the Shree Siddha Peetha in India, later serving as co-director of the Quaker center Woolman Hill in Deerfield, MA, and more recently at the Insight Meditation Center in Barre, MA. He is also a visual artist working in a variety of mediums. Samples of his work, from visuals to videos, can be found at douglasbishoppoet.com.

3 Courses

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Open Registration

Course Includes

  • 8 Lessons