Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Spirit in Practice: An Adult Program for Developing A Regular Practice of the Spirit


The things that are holy and sacred in this life are neither stored away on mountaintops nor locked away in arcane secrets of the saints. I doubt that any church has a monopoly on them either. What holiness there is in this world resides in the ordinary bonds between us and in whatever bonds we manage to create between ourselves and the divine.
—Patrick O'Neill, Unitarian Universalist Views of the Sacred

For our Unitarian Universalist congregations to reach their potential as spiritual homes, we need to provide rich and meaningful opportunities for spiritual development. The Eight Spheres of Spiritual Growth is one model, one structure upon which such an integrated program might be built. Inspired by the Eight Gates of Zen training developed at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, New York, Spirit in Practice articulates eight spheres in which one can develop his/her spiritual life.

You can think of the eight spheres model as a spiritual analogue of the USDA's "food pyramid." To be well balanced in nutrients, you must eat from all of the different food groups in the food pyramid, yet not every meal need include food from every group. Similarly, engagement with each of the eight spheres over time can lead to a well-balanced spiritual life. To continue with the "food pyramid" analogy, our Unitarian Universalist tradition will not tell you specifically what foods you should eat, but the collective wisdom of the world's religions and the insights of modern psychology do point to a general outline of a "healthy diet" for spiritual well-being.

This opening workshop introduces the Spirit in Practice program and the concept of the eight spheres.


This workshop will:

  • Familiarize participants with the scope of the Spirit in Practice program
  • Convey the value of regular spiritual practice for adults' spiritual development

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Recognize the multi-faceted nature of spiritual practice
  • Discuss the "eight spheres" of spiritual growth