Turning to The Mystics with James Finley


Turning to the Mystics is a podcast for people searching for something more meaningful, intimate and richly present in the divine gift of their lives. James Finley, clinical psychologist and Living School faculty, offers a modern take on the historical contemplative practices of Christian mystics like Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, John of the Cross among others. Leaning into their experiences can become a gateway to hope, healing and oneness. Together with Kirsten Oates from the Center for Action and Contemplation, they explore listener questions and examine their own paths as modern contemplatives in this beautiful and broken world.

Recent Episodes
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Recent Reviews
  • Creole one
    Fellow mystic
    I have found someone who knows. May God guide you and keep you. Merci beaucoup Angella
  • giggle lips
    Such depth and articulation
    Having someone like Jim to listen to is so helpful. Such a difficult task to articulate the extremely subtle and delicate world of God with us and the process and experience of this journey. For me, Jim is so good at this and though his comments can be so particular and focused like separating “bone and morrow” their laser focus tell me Jim is describing something he has seen and experienced, not something theoretical. This gives me confidence in his guidance. Thank you Jim.
  • God Herself?
    Its good to listen in and pick up insights on the saints and mystics. I’ve listened on and off for a while now but every time a I take in an episode I walk away more enlightened. Mystical experiences are not easy to explain or describe to the extent that the teller is satisfied with the description of what they experienced but when one hears James Finley describe those moments it helps one to recollect - he’s very good at relating those moments. Anyway, it’s wonderful to see God experienced so intimately!
  • nomoresilence
    Lectio Davina
    I feel so blessed to find this podcast. Long story short, today is Thursday, March 3rd, 2022 day after Ash Wednesday. My religion growing up is Catholic but I have learned so much from the Mystic Teachers. In researching Lectio Davina's practice, to deepen my relationship with God, I listened to the session on Lectio Davina and went back to listen to the very 1st episode to binge-listen. I am so grateful to you James and Kristen for being so vulnerable and willing to share so much wisdom. I relate to both of your stories. I'm listening from California and I can not express my gratitude enough for this Podcast.
  • finding joy in learning
    Monastery Without Walls
    Thank you, Jim and Kirsten, for this lovely gift. I love starting my days with you.
  • super blessed and loving life
    So informative and helpful along the spiritual journey. Jim is extraordinary with his explanations, interpretations and experiences! Kirstin does a fantastic job of asking practical questions so the layperson can really understand. Jim Finley is no doubt a mystic in his own right. Great pair. Wow - THANK YOU!!
  • salem blue sky
    Like sitting at the feet of a mystic
    What a gift to be the presence of Jim as he offers lectio. The dialogue is always enlightening. I am so grateful for this podcast.
  • rozelynn20
    A treasure
    I am so deeply grateful for the beauty of this podcast. I feel strengthened and encouraged. It is like finding an oasis in the desert. Thank you.
  • Gingernpaprika
    Directly speaks to me
    Bonus episode this Advent as if has been all throughout dedicated to me.
  • bdpetie
    Life changing
    Thank you Dr Finley for these deeply moving meditations, you are a true spiritual healer, and thank you for being a living witness to the fruit that is born when we are faithful to contemplative path.
  • Family shared - Nik
    Wonderfully done contemplative podcast
    After experiencing a few of Jim’s mini-sermons via CAC, and also being drawn to mystical paths in the Christian lineage (and Lectio Divina), I found this podcast to be a wealth of inspiration. I have only been able to do John of the Cross in real-time but will go back to Theresa of Avila and look forward to more! Since I’ve always been inspired by Merton’s words it’s great to be guided by one who actually studied with him.
  • rpcvguyana
    Thank You, Dr Finley! What a helpful and and thoughtful Podcast.
  • Normie41
    Turning to the Mystics
    In the quiet places of ourselves we often find the answers. Jim Finley has explored these regions in himself for a lifetime and through this series he gives the listener a taste of what such quiet really signifies. He is a guide to the inner world and his lens is beautifully shared with us through his expositions of important mystics like Merton, St Theresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. I am mesmerized and “still” in the presence of this podcast.
  • JKBS779521
    This podcast is profound in its wisdom. It is a thing of beauty. It could save us all. Thank you CAC and James Finley. Blessings to all who are a part of its production and audience. It is radiant.
  • Diletente
    The wisdom of the mystical traditions elucidated here have been a lifeline for me, especially during the pandemic. Thank you.
  • Catherine Ruth
    Great series on the Mystics
    I’ve so enjoyed this podcast series and am grateful to the CAC, James Finley and Kirsten for these sessions. I’ll go back and listen again because there is so much packed in— but I’m sure I’ll learn more and deepen my appreciation and understanding for St. John of the Cross.
  • WalterMcG
    Thank you
    I am so grateful for James Finely’s guidance through these mystics. I am very often moved to tears of recognition and joy. And Kirsten’s questions, reflections and humility as well as Kirsten and James’ laughter together make me feel so softly held. Thank you.
  • Qu/rk!
    I need to listen again.
    I’ve listened to this whilst weeding in a shady flower garden bed. Many times I’ve stopped to rewind and listen to Mr. Finley’s idea repeated. I will need to listen yet again when I can write some things down. Much like the teachings of Fr. Richard, this is just what I need.
  • E Fox7
    I am so grateful for CAC and James Finley and everyone that brings these amazing podcasts to us. Bless you all❤️🌹
  • trad01
    Warm and inviting
    This podcast is a gift as I seek a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. I only wish that the podcast can begin with a moment of prayer.
  • Yona61
    Turning to the mystics
    I discovered James Finley’s talks through CAC right as Covid began and soon after he lost his beloved Maureen. He has been the perfect person to listen to as we walk through so much grief and uncertainty. I am consistently comforted by his soothing voice, depth of knowledge and incisive wisdom. I hang on his every word about his personal life because he is so intimate, real and inspiring. He tells his story to illuminate our own and he helps us viscerally touch God. Not to mention how much he has taught me about Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, and now St. John of the Cross. Thank you for these life-changing podcasts and for the unique way you remind us of our connection to God and each other.
  • goddessrocks
    Touched w God
    I am so grateful to the CAC and all those involved in creating this podcast. Jim Finley you are amazing… I listen to this every single morning as I’m still drifting out of deep sleep as I feel like the information goes into my subconscious… I have noticed a shift in my experience of God in a way that I haven’t felt in many many years… Your view and study of the mystics completely resonates with me… I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a deeper more intimate experience of the divine God presence💞💞💞It like I feel my soul being gently and lovingly massaged!!! I want more!!!!!!!
  • less politics
    No doubt the Holy Spirit guided me to your podcasts. I can’t remember how I found them. They have been absolutely enriching and informative. As you recommended, I listen to each one two to five times depending on content and learning nuances. I love James Finley’s soothing, humble voice and his humor. Prayers for the loss of your wife. And Kirsten asks good questions and provides relevant stories. May our good Lord continue to guide and bless you!
  • Misscarr
    Love this podcast!!!!
    I’m so excited this is back for another season!! I absolutely love this podcast!!! I have learned so much about contemplation from this podcast.
  • peace seeker52
    Praying with the Mystics
    Like the reviewer before me I mistakenly entered 1,2,3,4 before the all important 5 star rating I intended. This is a wonderful podcast for anyone who is drawn to contemplation.
  • Kaki Honey
    A necessary daily companion
    I’m sorry that I touched all the stars in making my review. I have never rated anything before. So the 1,2,3,4 stars were my error. So sorry. If I could fix it and remove those stars and keep only the 5 star rating, I would. Can I do that? I rely on Jim and Kirsten for daily devotion. I listen over and over to the podcasts since they are so dense, and I need to grow into the understanding they teach. They give me hope, a way to go, in my own search for a deeper connection with the Divine. I love the combination of Kirsten and Jim. Together they bring a whole experience. In a way Kirsten stands in for us, the listeners. She is a very good guide along the way. And Jim is a treasure. May God give him the courage and the will to continue as our teacher even in the midst of his deep grief at the loss of his wife, Maureen. We are counting on you both. Thank you so much for your gracious and thoughtful teaching.
  • Vegan in the Region
    Beautifully done
    Looking forward to this journey.
  • S. Lutz Allen
    Turning to the Mystics
    Amazing, life changing podcast for pandemic life. Drew me to a place I’ve longed to explore for a long time, the depths of my own soul. I also took Jim’s class Fall of 2020 on St. Teresa’s Interior Castle, which took me deeper and wider. Highly recommend it for those drawn to this path.
  • Mark1224361357
    Thank you
    Thanks to everyone who puts together this podcast. This podcast really touches me. Blessings
  • kjsullivan
    Beautiful and important meditations
    Thank you for the layers of sensitivity in which this wisdom is considered and spoken. Kirsten and Jim are a thoughtful team whose conversations help us puzzle out the application of deep truth in our daily lives. Thank you and blessings to all who are part of the wonderful community.
  • Am I a Mystic
    Priceless and can’t thank these two enough. Listen every day
  • Jujutide
    Thank you for the opportunity to hear Jim share his deep connection and insights about the mystical journey with St Teresa. And Kirsten, you questions really help clarify. Deep gratitude for this companion on my walks.
  • Whitney Kats
    Great- if only I could hear it!
    I’m so bummed about this podcast because I know I would love the content, but I can’t hear what the main guy is saying. He starts all of his sentences loud, but then by the end of the sentence it’s like he’s talking under his breath and I have no idea what he said. It’s frustrating to keep adjusting the volume, and impossible to hear the muttering at the end of his thoughts/phrases.
  • Cayjordan
    Just beautiful
    I am so thankful to the CAC, James Finley, and Kirsten Oates. This podcast is such a gift from God. It has taught me so much about my own faith. It has reaffirmed so many things that I thought I was alone in thinking. I am so thankful for the transcripts of every episode. I hope one day I can thank James Finley properly for all that he has done.
  • ParadoxFilms
    Calming, beautiful, and true
    This podcast has become a daily practice of contemplation for me. I find myself finally being able to quiet my thoughts in the moments of meditation here and being able to find the divine in the ordinary but beautiful natural world. Thank you, James Finley. And much love and prayerful thoughts to the CAC.
  • Akcinebskx
    A Pandemic Game Changer
    I walked hundreds of miles with James Finley in my ear and it has reacquainted with God. I loved the St. T info so much, I did a deeper dive with the class that Jim offers with Mirabai Starr. That’s also awesome in its own right. If you are a spiritual seeker longing for the truth of who we are, look no further. It’s all here: Thomas Merton, St. T, John of the Cross & Richard Rohr, just to name a few.
  • LBkirkwood123
    James Finley’s voice
    I so want to listen to this podcast, and have tried several times, but the fact that everyone else but James talks at a normal tone/volume makes it very difficult to listen. James talks so quietly, so deep and low, that if I turn up the volume so I can hear him (and sometimes still cannot hear when turned up all the way), every other voice is jarring. Same thing recently with James on Another Name for Every Thing... the bonus episode. Very frustrating. It just seems like whoever is taping these should be addressing the sound quality coming from each person and if someone insists on talking in hushed whispers, like James does, they should jack up their mic or something. Or for James to be instructed to speak louder??? With podcasts, sound is all we have as an audience. Please make more of an effort to get across what I am sure are lovely valuable conversations. Please. Thank you!
  • Mark-Alexis
    A Wellspring of Light
    This podcast has dropped into my life - and ears - like manna from high above. It is a wellspring of light during dark, tumultuous times. James Finley’s insights and intonations are at once soothing balms and quickening calls to action, inspiring us to take up the sacred practices of prayer, meditation, and contemplation. He reminds us, through his reflections and commentaries on the ancient and modern mystics, that the most essential journey in our lives - though it is often equally as painful and rigorous - is the one that leads us within. “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21nor will they say, [f]‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is [g]within you.” Truly inspiring, reassuring, life- and faith-affirming.
  • Dvid Salmon
    Interior Castle
    This is an extraordinary podcast by an extraordinary teacher dealing with some of the deepest concepts of Christian mysticism. I absolutely love this and can't wait to study John of the Cross in January. It simply does not get any better than this.
  • Doug from Oak Park
    Theresa of Avila discussion
    I have listened to several presentations on Theresa of Avila but none better than this discussion between James and Kirsten. James is a wealth of knowledge; Kirsten, a relatable seeker, often asking the same questions I had rolling around in my head! This is an excellent source of knowledge of St. Theresa’s mystical philosophy presented in challenging but accessible language in a conversational setting. I highly recommend.
  • BuzKl
    This has been a terrific journey for me. One of the things that impresses me is how Kristen has settled into a facilitating role to help unpack what Jim is saying. It has been clear from her questions that she understands the material well and this makes Jim’s teaching all the more accessible. Gracias!
  • jimijamzen
    Deepest appreciation!🙏♥️
    I just wanted to thank you Jim and Kristen for such a wonderful enlightening podcast... I’ve been a follower of Merton and the mystical experience for quite a few years now. I just turned 60 in March and I guess my quest of mystical experience began early on in my teens not really realizing it! Centering prayer within being God conscious has been my solace through these difficult times and your podcasts has soothed my heart and soul to no ends... From my savior Jesus to the study of Zen to Rumi to Merton and now onto Teresa onto John of the Cross, I am deeply moved and thankful to you! Also my heart goes out to you Jim for the loss of your wife, may you be blessed with inner peace*🙏♥️🕊 Sincerely, James Dormire
  • cmcseeker
    Two Sages
    Wow! Listening to these two guys discuss Theresa of Avila and interior spirituality was such a joy! Thank you both for sharing your wisdom and experience with us. Ever think of teaming up to do more podcasts together? Thanks so much!
  • abfsalerno
    Great teacher
    This is a great podcast, especially for someone like me who is new to reading mystical writings. We’ve been led through Thomas Merton and now Teresa of Avila. Those writers can feel obscure but with Finley‘s guidance are very understandable and relatable. During this time of sheltering in place I’m feeling grateful for this podcast and it is helping me with my interior journeys. Thank you!
  • livinginthedance
    I have so appreciated theses podcasts on turning to the mystics. James Finley teaches and demonstrates humble wisdom and authentic Divine connectedness. As I have been exploring and beginning to immerse myself into a contemplative view he, and the mystics he reflects upon have been a great guide and inspiration.
  • leafciel
    Morning Gratitude
    Continuously thankful for James Finley and Kirsten Oates and the Center for Action and Contemplation for making this podcast. Your words have been a reliable ground for me to come back to when I feel myself drifting, a teacher for me when I desire to go deeper, and encouragement on this path. Thank you for your experience and love and willingness to share in this way!
  • FarmerCain
    Great fertilizer!
    Really fixing my soil!
  • Allison19845
    so grateful
    I have deeply appreciate James Finley ever since encountering him in his book Merton's Palace of Nowhere, many years ago. More recently, listening to him via Audible, I discovered the depth of healing and gentle love which, it seems, streams through his voice, through my device, and straight into my heart. So I was very pleased, to say the least, when I encountered these podcasts, and they do not disappoint. He has good chemistry with his co-presenter, and of course the material he is working with, Merton, Teresa, is so good. I am just very grateful.
  • LivingACIMCo
    The art of listening
    I have been listening to this series from the beginning 1st Mansion and find James’s insight and devotion to God inspiring. He is incredible bright and knowledgeable. I feel the depth of his experience of God through my heart and in Christ. However, he interrupts Kirstin frequently and doesn’t allow her to finish her thoughts. It’s starting to turn me off from the whole thing. I feel if you are so absorbed by your own understanding of God and can’t allow others to share theirs then you have learned very little about the Christ expansion. I have seen this sort of self-absorbed passion for God from many spiritual teachers. I imagine they are unaware of it and many may never transcend it.
  • KPD1958
    My wife and I have been following Mr.Findley and the center for Action and Contemplation for many years. We have stalked him through three seminars and retreats from California to Albuquerque and back to Ohio. For anyone who wants to know more about the mystical tradition but who is afraid to dive in , Mr Findley leads us into the gentle waves and then out of the shallows into deep water before we know we can even swim. We swim int he language and weir tings of the mystic and soon are exploring into the ocean of wisdom and tradition of many faith communities. Mr. Findley starts with his spiritual muse Thomas Merton and then takes us through the language and writing of other mystics of the past who are called to know God in a personal and often romantic way. Please join our contemplative community and we will have a liturgy of the hours as people from many time zones and faith traditions learn more about the Divine Presence in the present moment. Keith
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