What is the Heart of the Mystical Life?
A Silent Gaze into the Face of Love.

Unteachable Lessons
An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom

Hi, I'm Carl. 

I am a writer, blogger, podcaster, and speaker. While I work with words for a living, I love to explore what ultimately cannot be put into words: topics like God, and silence, and love.

The heart of every word is silence, and the heart of spirituality is the mystery of love.

My books — like The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Unteachable Lessons — approach spirituality (and life) in a joyful and optimistic way. I believe spirituality should bring people together, rather than setting us apart. For this reason, my work explores many paths, from Buddhism to Celtic wisdom to Neopaganism — while remaining grounded in contemplative Christianity.

Following a life-changing encounter with the presence of God as a teenager, I studied Christian spirituality at the Shalem Institute, and received formation as a spiritual director through the Institute for Pastoral Studies. I am a life-professed Lay Cistercian (a layperson under the spiritual guidance of Trappist monks) and am scheduled to become a commissioned Centering Prayer instructor in late 2019.

To learn more about me, click here.

What Others Say

Carl McColman gives much wise direction and broad understanding of the field of contemplative theory and practice. Here is your teacher!

Richard Rohr

Carl McColman's first gift is his commitment to write about things that matter.  His second gift is his ability to write about them with clarity and warmth, enticing his readers to go places with him that we might otherwise not have gone.

— Barbara Brown Taylor

If you don’t know about Carl McColman and his work, you should.

— Brian D. McLaren

Latest Posts

“The Settling of the Mind Into Silence” — How a Definition of Yoga also Defines All Forms of Contemplation

The first four lines of the ancient text, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, offer a basic definition of yoga — that might surprise many westerners who ...
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Have We Given Up on “Happily Ever After”?

First, an admission: I have a guilty pleasure in costume dramas, especially the kind that show up on PBS. From Downton Abbey to Lark Rise to Candleford ...
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What’s the Best Church for Contemplative Christians?

A reader writes: Carl, do you think the Catholic Church has more scope to welcome contemplative Christians?  I attend an Anglican church and I'm very ...
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Contemplation and Emotional Intensity

One of this blog's readers wrote to me this past Saturday (February 15, 2020) to ask a question about Richard Rohr's daily meditation for that ...
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Mysticism is a Love Story: A Baker’s Dozen of Contemplative Books for Valentine’s Day (or Any Day)

Simply put, mysticism — at least, Christian mysticism — is all about love. To explore Christian mysticism basically means to explore love. It's an invitation ...
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“For Darkness is as Light to You” — Why Mysticism Isn’t Afraid of the Dark

One of the most powerful images in the Bible is the distinction between light and dark. Light represents God, or Christ, or goodness; darkness, by ...
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Unteachable Lessons (2019)
Invitation to Celtic Wisdom (2018)
Little Book of Christian Mysticism (2018)
Christian Mystics (2016)
Befriending Silence (2015)
Answering the Contemplative Call (2013)
Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader (2010)
Big Book of Christian Mysticism (2010)
366 Celt (2005)
The Aspiring Mystic (2000)
Spirituality (1997, reprinted with new forward 2008))

From 2001 to 2005 Carl wrote books about Neopagan spirituality. Learn about those books here: Eight Pagan Books (by a Christian Author)

Speaking, Teaching and Retreats

Upcoming Events
Invite Carl to Speak at Your Church or Community


Personal Blog (on this website)
Via Mystica (Christian mysticism)
Patheos (contemplative living)


Encountering Silence (cohosted with Cassidy Hall and Kevin Johnson)

Ways to Stay Connected

Patreon: Donate to Support Carl’s Work
Purchase Autographed Copies of Carl’s Books
Carl’s Email Newsletter
Contact Carl

Carl's work is supported by readers like you.