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About Thomas J. Bushlack

Thomas Bushlack

Centering Prayer and Meditation. Evolved…

Improve Focus, Productivity & Decision-Making.

To Unleash Your Inner Wisdom.

“If you want to learn my proven formula for helping clients to stop their non-conscious reactions that are sabotaging their success and to lead from their center of power and wisdom, then I want you to watch my free master class. I’ll show you the secret that the most inspiring and effective leaders do every single day. It’s simpler than you think; but if you’re not doing it, then you’re missing out on the secret advantage.”

About the Speaker

Thomas J. Bushlack holds a Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics from the University of Notre Dame, and serves as Regional Director of Mission Integration with SSM Health, a faith-based healthcare provider located in four states with over 40,000 employees. Tom works with employees to improve alignment with corporate mission, ethics, and values. He also helps physicians, healthcare providers, and executives deepen mindfulness and meditation practices to reduce stress, prevent burnout, and improve decision-making skills.

In his public speaking, consulting, and coaching programs he enjoys helping leaders in business, healthcare, non-profits, and education lead from their center of wisdom and purpose.

Tom spent ten years as a university professor of Theology and Ethics. He was a founding co-director of the Project for Mindfulness & Contemplation at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN). He served as co-director of the Ashley-O’Rourke Center for Health Ministry Leadership at the Aquinas Institute of Theology (St. Louis, MO). Tom also created the Centering for Wisdom™ assessment (CWA). This tool helps leaders identify triggers that can lead to poor decision-making. Feedback from the CWA is used to teach leaders how to remain centered, focused, and aligned with a higher purpose.

Tom also serves as a Trustee for the Trust for the Meditation Process. He is a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer through Contemplative Outreach, Ltd., and is an Oblate of St. John’s Abbey. He is currently pursuing commissioning in the 12-step Centering Prayer tradition. He lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife and three children.

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“Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, ‘Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you will, you can become all flame.”

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

How Did I Catch This Flame?


Thomas Bushlack Family

At St. John’s Abbey with my beautiful family

Even as a kid I was reading sacred texts, philosophy, and theology from many traditions. And doing yoga poses in my room. You know, normal stuff! My passion for contemplation was ignited by the Benedictine monks and sisters at St. John’s Abbey and St. Benedict’s Monastery in Minnesota. Their example of “prayer and work” ignited within me a gentle but persistent desire for a daily contemplative practice and discipline.


My last visit with Mr. Mark

My last visit with Mr. Mark

In the classroom Sr. Mary Reuter, OSB, introduced us to lectio divina (a Latin phrase meaning “sacred reading”) and Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer (20 minutes twice per day) remains the foundation of my daily practice. Fr. Mark Thamert, OSB, introduced me to spiritual direction, the Enneagram, the mystical Islamic poetry of Rumi and Hafiz, and Rainer Maria Rilke, the Buddhist teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, cooking with enough garlic to kill a village of vampires, and the finer details of tasting Scotch whiskey. Essential life skills!


Sant’ Anselmo, Rome, Italy

Sant’ Anselmo, Rome, Italy

Meditation awakened within me an intense desire for God and communion with others. My daily practice has been a stabilizing force that has kept me (relatively) sane through struggles with anxiety, addiction and 12-step recovery, and commitments to my wife and kids, career, and community activism.

In college I studied theology and art in Rome. I took classes at the Dominican school of the Angelicum and lived in the Benedictine Monastery and College of Sant’ Anselmo. After college I worked in outdoor/experiential education with Voyageur Outward Bound School (Ely, MN) and with a YMCA Adventure Learning Center. I spent one year with the Catholic Charities Volunteer Corps in St. Paul, MN. I briefly considered becoming a monk at St. John’s Abbey, but I felt a strong calling to marriage and family.


Dr. Stephen Parker & Myra Rucker

Dr. Stephen Parker & Myra Rucker

Two more teachers, Myra Rucker (at the YMCA) and Stephen (Stoma) Parker (at the Meditation Center, in the Himalayan yoga tradition) introduced me to the practice of yoga. The embodied practice of yoga – focusing on breath, posture, and meditative focus (Samadhi) – helps get me out of my “head,” and is the best way I have found to deal with severe anxiety.

In August 2017 I attended the New Contemplative Exchange (NCE) in Snowmass, CO. We were gathered together by the “Four Founders” – Thomas Keating, OSCO (Contemplative Outreach), Richard Rohr, OFM (Center for Action and Contemplation), Rev. Dr. Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute), and Laurence Freeman, OSB (World Community for Christian Meditation). They encouraged us to work to continue their work of living and teaching the Christian contemplative tradition among our (younger-ish) generation – outside the walls of the monastery.


Group photo from the NCE in Snowmass, CO

Group photo from the NCE in Snowmass, Colorado

After the NCE I spent 5 days solo backpacking in the mountains. The combined energy of our retreat and deep immersion in nature unleashed an intense desire to share the fruits of my practice. My goal is to make the wisdom of contemplative practices and traditions accessible and practical to persons of any background, for personal growth and professional leadership development. I want to help others live from their Divine Center, so they can feel calm and focus on what matters most to them.

“Be who you were meant to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

– St. Catherine of Siena


contemplation and community

The Contemplative Movement

Recently, I was humbled to be asked to be part of a collection of essays that was published and I am proud to share with all of you. “This collection brings together the diverse voices who have emerged as new leaders of the contemplative movement. Exploring a multitude of themes, such as silence, imagination, meditation, embodiment, community and social action, this volume introduces the new voices who reflect globally on the gifts, challenges, differences and commonalities of Christian contemplation today for communities and people of faith.”

CLICK HERE for more information on Contemplation and Community from The Crossroad Publishing Company.

“In a world desperately in need of wise leadership and decision-making that benefit all people and the common good — including our planet and natural environment — we hope that the CWA can make a small contribution to enhancing this virtue of contemplative practical wisdom.”

(Thomas Bushlack and Tonia Bock 2018, p. 21)

Click here to view the published validation study


I found myself in leadership roles that I didn't feel qualified to have. I knew I needed to release some emotional baggage and build up my confidence and the level of worthiness I felt. I wanted to find the person God created in me before life left its marks. I wanted to live with all the strength, confidence, and victory that had been placed in me by God. Through the process of committing to the meditations (which I haven't missed one of since we started!) and fulfilling the action items, I found that person. I now feel completely empowered to take on the leadership roles I am in. My whole mindset is shifting in how I see myself and how I want to live my life, with confidence and boldness!

Toni Stogdill
Toni Stogdill
Real Estate Agent and Director of Communications
Master Investors' Tribe

As a busy, stressed-out business owner, Tom's workshops have helped me to recognize the value of a centering practice in making better decisions, using my energy efficiently and being more creative in my work.

Aimee Dunn
Aimee Dunn
COO, BGI & Principal
The Coras Group
(St. Louis, MO)

After attempting to piece together my own contemplative practice with little success, I was intrigued and grateful to find the exceptional Centering for Wisdom program. Tom Bushlack's program provided a solid foundation for a lifelong, life-altering centering meditation practice. I appreciated Tom's engaging discourse, and open and organic teaching style, which challenged me, inspired me, and crystallized my desire to continue on this spiritual journey and work on aligning my outer life with my inner compass. Since embarking upon this journey, I’m discovering a new level of peace and compassion in my life.

Michael Wagner
Michael Wagner
COO of Euclid Media Group

At a time when I was most overwhelmed with life, I happened upon Tom Bushlack. He introduced me to the Centering for Wisdom program. My program with Tom helped me slow down, focus, and center my thoughts on a place of openness. While Tom was careful not to overpromise, his guidance knocked down so many levels of resistance. As a result, my work in the program has given me deeper insight into my own behavior, and more compassion and understanding of the behavior of others. Working with Tom was like having a warm cup of tea on a cold day. He is brilliant, insightful and the perfect guide for someone who is looking to accept or manage the chaos of life. I left my program with a clearer picture of what I can do to improve my ability to handle and process stress, increase my patience for others and for myself, and achieve a better and more efficient work environment.

Brandi Unger
Debbie Champion
J.D. Founding Partner, Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion

Organizations + Corporations I’ve had the pleasure of working with

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