Chuck Dunning has over three decades of experience as a practitioner, advocate, consultant, and facilitator of contemplation. In his career in higher education and mental health, in Masonry, and with other groups and individuals, he facilitates and teaches mindfulness, meditation, and imagery to enhance peoples’ experiences of life in many ways.
Contemplative Masonry: Basic Applications of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Imagery for the Craft, was Chuck’s first book, published in 2016. In 2018, the readers of Fraternal Review, the magazine of the Southern California Research Lodge, recognized him as among the top 10 authors in Masonic esotericism. In 2019, he received the Thomas W. Jackson Masonic Education Award at the College of Freemasonry in Rochester, New York. He is also a contributing author in The Art & Science of Initiation, published by Lewis Masonic in 2019. Chuck has been a Master Mason since 1988, and he is a Full Member of the Texas Lodge of Research. In the Scottish Rite, Chuck is a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, Director of Education for the Guthrie Valley in Oklahoma, and a Class Director for the Fort Worth Valley in Texas. In 2012, he became the founding Superintendent of the Academy of Reflection, a chartered organization for Scottish Rite Masons wanting to integrate contemplative practice with their Masonic experience.
The Contemplative Lodge: A Manual for Masons Doing Inner Work Together
The Contemplative Lodge continues the work of C.R. “Chuck” Dunning, Jr. in providing thoughtful, practical, and accessible guidance for everyone interested in the utilization of contemplative practices, such as meditation, breath work, chanting, and visualization, within a Masonic setting and context. This book specifically addresses the needs of Masons seeking to facilitate or participate in group practices, learning, and support. Brother Dunning hands readers the working tools required to develop themselves as skilled contemplative practitioners, facilitators, teachers, and mentors. He provides many detailed scripts, exercises, and instructions that may be used by Masons in their Lodges or within private group settings. His three decades of experience provide wise and vital insight into the establishment and preservation of the right environment, the benefits and challenges unique to group work, and the most effective methods and approaches to ensure that participants get the most out of group contemplative practice.
"Brother Dunning's The Contemplative Lodge picks up where his Contemplative Masonry left off, offering guided exercises to engage members in a meaningful lodge experience. His ideas focus on the inner, symbolic, and speculative aspects of the Craft, encouraging members to seek balance and develop an active, meaningful relationship between themselves and ‘the work’. This book provides techniques which transform the theoretical into the practical, showing how speculative and philosophical notions are actualized. Brother Dunning asks us to examine ourselves and our intentions, demonstrating that ritual and reflection (when properly understood and applied) address the needs of the individual, thus contributing to a better society." — Arturo de Hoyos, 33°, Grand Cross, KYCH, Grand Archivist and Grand Historian, Supreme Council, 33°, S.J.
"The Contemplative Lodge is an essential read for every member of the Craft. Brother Dunning shows how contemplation lies at the heart of Freemasonry, providing clear, simple-to-follow instructions for Lodges that want to introduce contemplative discussion, group meditation, silent sitting, guided imagery meditation, and more. This book offers essential guidance to every Lodge seeking to encourage the exploration of its processes, symbolism, meaning, and implications for the life of the initiate. Strikingly, rather than adopting these practices from other systems, Brother Dunning looks within Freemasonry itself to find them." — Angel Millar, author of Freemasonry: Foundation of The Western Esoteric Tradition
"If your desired Lodge experience is limited to a hot meal, a reading of the minutes, and paying bills, then this is not the book for you. The Contemplative Lodge offers the reader a blueprint for a more spiritual, a more meditative, and a more Masonic Lodge. This is a book for those with a hunger to experience the deeper and more meaningful aspects of Freemasonry. In a nutshell, if you care about Freemasonry, buy this book and put it to use. You, and your lodge, will greatly benefit." — Michael R. Poll, author of Measured Expectations, A Masonic Evolution, and A Lodge at Labor
Contemplative Masonry: Basic Applications of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Imagery for the Craft (Revised & Expanded Edition)
Part of the work that has become Contemplative Masonry first appeared on the internet in 2000 as an anonymously authored guide to the exploration of Freemasonry through contemplative practices like prayer, meditation, breath work, chanting, and visualization. Sixteen years later, the original author of that material, C.R. “Chuck” Dunning, Jr., has come forward with a substantially expanded edition for those seeking to utilize Masonic symbolism and teachings in a way that is practical, accessible, inspiring, and profoundly transformative. Contemplative Masonry is a much-needed resource for Masons seeking to undertake the challenging and rewarding work of deep self-knowledge and self-improvement. Brother Dunning provides Freemasons with a unique system of practices derived directly from the Degrees of Craft Masonry, without reliance upon other religious, spiritual, or esoteric traditions. He also shares the valuable wisdom and insights that come from decades of personal experience with contemplative practices.
"I would heartily recommend this book to any Mason who has wondered how he might engage more deeply with the Craft and enhance his quest for light. Brother Dunning has mapped out a practical approach to what he terms contemplative Masonry, which can be practiced by any brother, regardless of his religion or spiritual beliefs. I know of few Masons better qualified to serve as a guide to a specifically Masonic path of spiritual growth." — Jay Kinney, 33°, author of The Masonic Myth and editor of The Inner West
"Chuck Dunning takes us on a wonderful and enlightening journey of what has to occur in a man's body, mind, and spirit for him to actually improve himself in Masonry. He discusses the nature of inner work in Freemasonry, and he is eminently qualified to do so. He enlightens us with his wisdom and offers us a number of exercises which can lead us to the true treasure of manhood. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to know what is hidden in the language of Freemasonry." — Robert G. Davis, 33° G.C., author of The Mason's Words and Understanding Manhood in America