Dr. Cliff Knighten Lecture Series | Mindfulness and the Sacrament of the Present Moment

Oblate School of Theology

Originally Published on OST.EDU

September 14 @ 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Recurring Event (See all)$30.00

Wednesdays, September 14, 21, 28, 2022 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM Central Time | IN-PERSON AND ONLINE OPTIONS AVAILABLE

Perhaps the most ‘spiritual’ thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.
[From Jon Kabat-Zinn. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life]

In the classic spiritual text, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, Jean-Pierre De Caussade argues that the present moment is sacred because it is the school of Divine Wisdom. In non-reactive and open-hearted presence to our experience, as it is happening, we encounter the Divine Reality. Too often, however, we are either lost in thought or overwhelmed by difficult emotions. Mindfulness helps us break our over-identification with thoughts and work skillfully with overpowering emotions. Rooted in the Buddhist tradition, Mindfulness is simply the practice of coming home: coming home to what is happening underneath our thoughts and emotions, coming home to the intuitive wisdom of the body, and coming home to grounded and spacious moment-by-moment awareness.

This three-part lecture series will introduce the theory and practice of Mindfulness. Each session will include a lecture, guided meditation practice, and Q&A.

In this series, you will learn to:

  • Work with the four “foundations” of Mindfulness
  • Befriend the breath and the body as reliable anchors to present moment experience
  • Learn to work skillfully with afflictive emotions, including anxiety, fear, anger, and grief
  • Detach from the ego’s need to manipulate and control people and events
  • Develop a greater capacity to bear compassionate witness to the suffering of others
  • Recognize the unhealthy phenomenon of “spiritual bypassing”
  • Differentiate life’s necessary “pain” from unnecessary “suffering”
  • See the beauty and inherent goodness in even the most everyday activities
  • Experience God’s presence and purposes here and now

The spirit of this series is  captured in a beautiful poem by David Whyte:

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.
[From  David Whyte, Where Many Rivers Meet]


Cliff Knighten, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Spirituality at Oblate School of Theology where he also directs the Master of Arts in Spirituality degree program. Cliff ‘s primary research area is the impact of modern secularity on contemporary spiritual practice with a particular focus on the writings of Charles Taylor, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Raimon Panikkar. Other research interests include early Modern spiritualities, mysticism, the phenomenology of religious experience, contemplative practice, and Buddhism. He is also an active spiritual director and a member of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, and Spiritual Directors International.

Lecture Dates

All lectures will take place on Wednesday evenings, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Central Time.

September 14, 2022
September 21, 2022
September 28, 2022


Individuals can register to participate online, via Zoom Webinar, or in person, on the OST campus/WTC 101.

To Participate Online:  $30    ZOOM WEBINAR REGISTRATION

Fee includes cost for entire 3-week series. This event will be recorded and will be available for viewing, through October 12, 2022. Online participants will receive an automated email 24 hours after the conclusion of each lecture with instructions on how to re-watch recordings.

To Participate In-person: $30 (purchase in the ‘Tickets’ section below)

In-person participants are encouraged to bring a light jacket or shawl, a writing pad and pen, and a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug.

Fee includes cost for entire 3-week series. This event will be recorded and will be available for viewing, through October 12, 2022. In-person participants will receive emails prior to and after the conclusion of the series that will include instructions on how to re-watch recordings.

For information or to register by phone, contact Associate Registrar, Victoria Rodriguez, at vrodriguez@ost.edu or (210) 341-1366 EXT 240.