Garry Oak

"...things do not lose spirit simply because they inhabit form… the created world is infinitely precious and valuable in its own right." ~ Cynthia Bourgeault, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three

About St. Brendan

St. Brendan the Voyager

The Contemplative Society

" the heart comes alive as an organ of spiritual perception, we are able to perceive the invisible Kingdom of Love that surrounds us - and live it into being." ~ Cynthia Bourgeault


"Split a piece of wood, and there I am. Pick up a stone and you will find me there." ~ Gospel of Thomas, Logion 77

"Only after the terror of one's own diminishment and annihilation, after the last scraps of clinging to life at any cost have been left behind forever, is it possible to truly live in hope." ~ Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope p. 69


Welcome to The Contemplative Society website. We are an inclusive non-profit society that encourages a deepening of contemplative prayer based in the Christian Wisdom tradition while also welcoming and being supportive of other meditation traditions. We are based in Victoria, BC, Canada and serve a global audience. Our work is conducted by a voluntary Board of Directors and one part-time Administrator.

We offer local retreats, wisdom schools, and workshops led by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault and other teachers of the Christian contemplative path. In cooperation with other similar organizations, we promote the contemplative Wisdom path and offer events in other geographic locations.

On this website you will find instructional and inspiration materials, in both text and audio format, supportive of the contemplative life.


Eye of the Heart – teaching by Matthew Wright

Recorded at a retreat focused primarily on the Gospel of Thomas, Matthew begins by laying out the divergent paths of mainline Roman Christianity (characterised by ascent of and escape from this fallen world) and the more fringe heart-centred Jesus wisdom tradition (characterised by healing a divided soul and faith in a nondual reality as manifested through the diverse faces of God lived out by each individual). Together, we explore the Gospel of Thomas’ themes of attention, non-identified presence, embodiment, and singleness, while the Gospel of Mary Magdalene helps tie these teachings to the heart as an organ of spiritual perception and Teilhard’s writings further illuminate this wisdom tradition in terms of evolutionary thought. Matthew’s approach is meticulous, engaging, and uplifting, showing us the potential of the collective when we all take up the call to incarnate our unique expression of the divine, creating heaven on earth.

Available as a 11-CD set or MP3 download. More details and audios for purchase on the Audio page.

Cynthia Bourgeault

Cynthia Bourgeault

Modern day mystic, Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally known retreat leader, Cynthia Bourgeault divides her time between solitude at her seaside hermitage in Maine, and a demanding schedule traveling globally to teach and spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative and Wisdom path.


We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this year! And one of the main people who deserves our praise and gratitude is Margaret Haines, the first president of The Contemplative Society. Cynthia lauds her as her “mentor and midwife…Virtually everything I have learned, accomplished, and brought into being, I owe to her.”Members of TCS are also indebted to her because it was her belief that the contemplative path ought to be available to anyone seeking it, her work that laid the foundation for The Contemplative Society to become a hub for contemplative practice and learning opportunities. Along with our connection to Cynthia, she’s one of the main reasons we now serve a spiritually diverse global family today.

To celebrate with us, consider giving to the new Margaret Haines Scholarship Fund, our way of ensuring that anyone who is interested in learning about and practising contemplative Wisdom has the ability to do attend immersive retreats. Make your mark on the contemplative future – give the gift of retreat today!

UPDATE: From June 1-30, your gift can help us win $10,000! Every gift through CanadaHelps increases our chances. Donate today!

Thank You to Our Donors

Our work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and the following organizations:


Our last Wisdom School with Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault was made possible by a grant from the Trust for the Meditation Process, a charitable foundation encouraging meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative prayer.

Celebrate our 20th anniversary with us! Learn more about our Margaret Haines Scholarship Fund at or head to our Support Us page after dismissing this message. Dismiss