After a short hiatus in her series of reflections, Cynthia Bourgeault continues with a new post drawing upon Jean Gebser’s Ever Present Origin and his perspectives on Integral consciousness.
Go Beyond the Mind, LESSON 13
When I say that the ability to access and sustain the Integral structure of consciousness is developmental, I mean just that: it is fundamentally a question of physiology, rather than of moral virtue or mystical yearning. We cannot think, pray, meditate, or conceptualize our way to it. It is fundamentally a matter of preparing the entire body to receive it. To embody it.
The Abkhazian-born Kebzeh teacher Murat Yagan once commented: “Spiritual practice is fundamentally about strengthening the nervous system.” I believe he is 100% correct here, and that the failure to recognize the full implications of his observation has been the largest single impediment to would-be-integralists trying to till the inner ground for this emergent new structure of consciousness. As in the classic case of the word “repentance” (metanoia in the original Greek, noia being “mind” and meta being “greater than” or “beyond”), what’s actually being asked for here is not to “think differently,” but to “go beyond the mind.”
… what’s actually being asked for here is not to “think differently,” but to “go beyond the mind.“
Cynthia’s newest reflection is part 13 in an unfolding series. You can find links to all prior posts in this series at the bottom of the page here.
Jean Gebser (1905-1973) was a German-Swiss philosopher, linguist, and poet, best known for his theories on how humans transition through particular ‘structures of consciousness’. Cynthia recommends the book Seeing Through the World by Jeremy Johnson, as helpful introduction to Gebser’s foundational work.
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Cynthia in British Columbia: Plans for The Contemplative Society to host Cynthia on Vancouver Island Canada are still on hold until the pandemic restrictions are eased. Stay tuned for updates. NOTE: TCS members will be the first to be notified – to become a member find details here.
Cynthia honored as one of the 100 most spiritually influential living people of 2021!
Congratulations Cynthia for recognition on the prestigious Watkins List! View the full Watkins list here.
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In this potent and engaging conversation, Cynthia Bourgeault is hosted by Paul Smith (author of Integral Christianity) and Luke Healy of the Integral Christian Network. Together they offer deep insights and personal experiences to illuminate the emerging scope and potential for Christianity.
The dialogue is infused by their shared appreciation and revelations inspired by Jean Gebser’s seminal work Ever Present Origin. As the conversation unfolds their reflections and transmissions provide a glimpse into how the Christian Mystical/Wisdom path is poised for full expression at this crucial time, through the multi-dimensional structures of an Integral consciousness.
“You feel Gebser’s deep mystical love for Christianity and for Christ. It’s as powerful as Teilhard’s actually, and it winds up saying very much the same thing: that there is something so intrinsically whole, beautiful, real, and sacramental in the path of emergence as it filters through Integral in a Christian mode. And not only is it absolutely necessary for the full realization of Integral, but there would be no full realization of Integral without it.”
– Cynthia Bourgeault
“God can be beyond us… and God can be as us, and also God wants to be near us as a personal connection.”
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If you’re considering the multiple online course opportunities with Cynthia that are coming up, she provides this message to the Wisdom community and offers some additional input for consideration.
It occurred to me that people may want a little guidance as to how to pick and choose among the sudden embarrassment of riches of Cynthia Bourgeault online course options currently opening up for registration. Here’s a bit more information to help you make your selection(s).
Spiritual Gifts of the Imaginal Realm
I would love to have as many hands as possible on deck for the Spirituality & Practice e-course, Spiritual Gifts from the Imaginal Realm, which will launch February 18 and run through the six weeks of Lent. This is my pilot online course unpacking the material in my recent book Eye of the Heart. I’m trying to lay out the basic building blocks in a way that is broadly inclusive (even if you haven’t read Eye of the Heart) and practical, based in actual practices that people can do to help our entire planet through the perilous eye of the needle we’re collectively facing. If we could get a thousand people on this course—anchored by seasoned Wisdom students —we could change the world. No kidding. It’s a pretty easy pace: two-emails a week, with an accompanying spiritual practice, text for reflection, and 24/7 access to the Practice Circle, plus two zoom conferences, dates to be announced. Full details and registration here.
Introductory Wisdom School
If you haven’t yet taken an Introductory Wisdom School, here is your window of opportunity: the Online Introductory Wisdom School offered by the Center for Action and Contemplation, now open for registration with a March 1 launch date. This twelve-week course is a carefully crafted remake of the original course brilliantly filmed by Robbin Brent at our on-the-ground Wisdom School in North Carolina in 2015. It’s both comprehensive and interactive and will cover all the material you would have covered in an on-the-ground school with a powerful flavor and ambience of the original still remaining. It’s the usual prerequisite for all further Wisdom Study, giving you both the basic concepts and the basic practices you need to get started on the right foot. It will also be offered again in the second half of 2021, so that may be a factor in your course selection. Find out more and sign up here.
The Divine Exchange
I’d like to call your special attention to The Divine Exchange, opening for registration on the CAC site on March 3, with a launch date on June 16. This course is actually “Intro Wisdom, part II.” It’s a deep dive into the notion of exchange—i.e., giving and receiving—both as it shows itself as the linchpin of Jesus’s teaching and as it emerges as the cornerstone of Christian Wisdom metaphysics in the notion of “exchange between the realms.” It’s the tie-rod connecting The Wisdom Jesus with Eye of the Heart, and laying out a powerful pathway of healing and practical action in our world today. If you’ve taken an Introductory Wisdom School, this is your next step. Details here (registration not yet open).
If you haven’t yet taken an intro Wisdom School course …well, you can still do both courses consecutively if you’re up for a Wisdom marathon this summer…or you can take your chances and leap into Part II, then pick up part I in the fall. I think this is actually manageable since the CAC course is so well shepherded and interactive, and I’d put it out there for your serious consideration.
EXCHANGE really does hold the key to how so many pieces of our broken world fit back together again, and the more of us that can be thinking in these terms, the more we can begin to articulate—and start walking—a visionary path of action, grounded in the Christ heart.
I hope to meet you on one course or the other…maybe all three! Blessings, Cynthia
“The wound is the place where the light enters you”
Dear contemplative friends,
Rumi’s words are a reminder that in 2020 we’ve felt deep wounds in the body of the world. Just like we await the birth of the Christ light in this shadow time of year, the world is aching for healing Light amid its myriad wounds. The Light is manifested as radical hope in each of us and shines as divine love in all our global body. Cynthia Bourgeault reminds us:
“Hope’s home is at the innermost point in us, and in all things. It is a quality of aliveness. It does not come at the end, as the feeling that results from a happy outcome. Rather, it lies at the beginning, as an impulse of truth that shines forth. When our innermost being is attuned to this impulse it will send us forth in hope, regardless of the physical circumstances of our lives.” (Mystical Hope, pg 87)
The Christian wisdom tradition is well equipped to resource us with all that we need to live into this hope, and to awaken to the ground of divine love that sustains us. We are so blessed with teachers like Cynthia Bourgeault who help us reflect us on our spiritual unfolding and with eloquence and lived wisdom guide us on our spiritual journey.
This Christmas season, starting on Dec 22 2020 and lasting for 20 days until Jan 11 2021, we are offering a 20% reduction on our MP3 digital downloads, to give you access to all of Cynthia’s audio recordings, and those of other teachers who are part of our audio library. We hope you will check out these valuable MP3 resources by following this link to our Audio page. And when you order, use the coupon code “gratitude2020” to get the 20% reduction.
Wishing you all a most blessed Christmas and aliveness of Hope and Love in the coming year.
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Writing just after the November 2020 US election, Cynthia Bourgeault shares this:
“Well, the oasis of grace miraculously opened, and now it’s time to roll up our collective sleeves and get on with the healing work! I know that my own first assignment has something to do with helping to expose— and hopefully defuse— some of the reactivity and sanctimoniousness that boils just below the surface in my immediate peer group, the spiritual liberal intelligentsia.”
What unfolds is a series of blog posts where Cynthia provides reflections and insights being revealed through the writings and legacy of Jean Gebser (1905-1973).
Gebser was a German-Swiss philosopher, linguist, and poet, best known for his theories on how humans transition through particular ‘structures of consciousness’. As a starting point Cynthia recommends the book Seeing Through the World by Jeremy Johnson, which provides an introduction to Gebser’s foundational work. She writes “I could see that Gebser—through the brilliant eyes of Jeremy Johnson—was handing me exactly the tools to see where I’d been pinned for so long now, both personally and culturally . . . If you’re up for joining this exploration, I encourage you to buy Jeremy Johnson’s book and explore it firsthand.”
https://www.contemplative.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/seeing-through-the-world-731x1024-1.jpg1024731TCS Adminhttps://www.contemplative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CS-logo-300x100.pngTCS Admin2020-12-04 22:16:082021-01-28 11:22:48AN INVITATION TO BEGIN THE HEALING WORK – A Blog Series by Cynthia Bourgeault
In this two-part interview, Cynthia Bourgeault speaks with Encountering Silence hosts on her practice of silence, and thoughts on navigating through the particular challenges of our current times. From this interview:
Our own personal and collective fear of death is what’s holding us on one side of the divide, and if we could just get through that, we’d have a whole new set of tools in our grab-bag for rebuilding the planet on the other side of COVID.
Cynthia Bourgeault joins Terry Patten to explore what it is to live and imagine from the “eye of the heart” in a seemingly apocalyptic world. They reflect on how each of them is relating to death and also discovering new strength and guidance by keeping the company of saints, sages, and our courageous ancestors — one of the most important spiritual fruits of awakening into the “imaginal realm.” Cynthia suggests we aspire to “live the laws of the next world”, like those who began building great cathedrals they knew they wouldn’t live to see completed.
Some questions explored include:
Can we become so intimate with our inevitable death, that we become impartial, courageous, and more profoundly alive?
How can we “keep the good company” of the great contemplatives and our now-deceased mentors during times of darkness?
How can we “live the laws of the next world” and become the “strange attractors” of wisdom to which others can gravitate?
Cynthia joins the Goop team to discuss key existential questions that come forth for many of us, including:
Are we all just irrelevant specs?
Does our life actually have meaning?
According to Bourgeault, while humans are not the center of everything, our actions have profound influence on the well-being of the planet (and a system that extends beyond it). She says that a lack of consciousness has led to much of the mess we’re currently in, and she explains how we all play a particular role in amending the damage. Cynthia talks through how our fear of dying is problematic (and what a different approach to death could look like), what it truly means to live virtuously, and whether or not she’s hopeful for the future. (Spoiler: Mostly, she is).
Cynthia Bourgeault speaks with Science and NonDuality (SAND) hosts, providing an overview of the Imaginal Roadmap, offering a much broader perspective on our planetary situation at this point: a map which renews hope while at the same time ratcheting up the demand for personal spiritual transformation.
This groundbreaking book shares the evolution of Cynthia Bourgeault’s spiritual journey and offers a new map to understanding energy and our collective reality.
In Eye of the Heart, Cynthia Bourgeault investigates the imaginal realm–an energetic realm well known to the mystical traditions but often forgotten in our own times. It is invisible to the physical eye, but clearly perceptible through the eye of the heart.
“A brilliant synthesis that both situates the imaginal world and gives it more meaning that it has previously had… [Bourgeault] is a true representative of the Western spiritual tradition.” – from the afterword by A. H. Almaas
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This groundbreaking book shares the evolution of Cynthia Bourgeault’s spiritual journey and offers a new map to understanding energy and our collective reality.
In Eye of the Heart, Cynthia Bourgeault investigates the imaginal realm–an energetic realm well known to the mystical traditions but often forgotten in our own times. It is invisible to the physical eye, but clearly perceptible through the eye of the heart. The imaginal realm has long been associated with the personal world of dreams, prophecy, and oracles, and it also points toward a higher vision of our human purpose that is both evolutionary and collective. Bourgeault explores both aspects of imaginal reality and shows readers how we can cooperate more fully with its guidance in our lives. Expertly blending her own lived experiences with research on the imaginal realm, Bourgeault explores how her personal relationships have helped to bring these teachings into sharper focus and the role this realm plays in Christian and other mystical traditions. She delves into the connections between our inner consciousness and what happens in the world, exploring the transformative energy and governing conventions that make the manifestation of this realm possible.
“A brilliant synthesis that both situates the imaginal world and gives it more meaning that it has previously had… [Bourgeault] is a true representative of the Western spiritual tradition.”
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I am very grateful to Joseph Azize for his willingness to make five of the Gurdjieff exercises available to us within the cyber confines of our Wisdom School Community. These exercises are powerful tools of healing, cleansing, and clarity, and even when practiced individually or in small groups, they have a power to significantly shift our present planetary atmosphere. They are something you can actually DO: to steady yourself and ready yourself for the deeper energetic work that actually connects us and empowers us as a human species to do the alchemical work we were placed on this planet to do…
Learn more in Cynthia’s new publication, where she expands on her instructions at length:
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