MYSTICAL COURAGE: Commentaries on Selected Contemplative Exercises by G.I. Gurdjieff, as Compiled by Joseph Azize (2021)
When the global pandemic struck in the spring of 2020, spiritual teacher Cynthia Bourgeault sensed an invitation to go deeper than a continuous round of Zoom calls. She turned to Joseph Azize’s newly published collection of spiritual exercises from the Gurdjieff teaching, exercises that for decades had been kept apart from the general public. She invited members of her Wisdom School Community to join her in a rigorous practice with six of these exercises. What emerged over a six-week collective journey was a remarkable series of revelations and reflections encompassing not only the Gurdjieff tradition but her own deep insights into the Christian mystical and Wisdom traditions, together with sagacious tips on practice and a prophetic vision of a post-pandemic future. The fruit of that alchemy—presented here—is a profoundly renewed vision of Mystical Courage, a hope and strength emerging from beyond our own making that is available right now to guide our way.
Cynthia Bourgeault, reflecting on the Lord Have Mercy exercise outlined in Mystical Courage:“When I say, “Lord have mercy,” I am not making a pious devotional statement. It’s not about worthy or unworthy, shame and guilt, blame and punishment. Rather, I am feeling to my very bones that yearning for being and sharing of being that permeates the entire created order. I am implicitly acknowledging that one cannot know without also being known. I am affirming my willingness to stay awake, to endure the vulnerability. I am actively engaging humility—not obsequiousness, but a recognition of the scale of things, the depth of the suffering and the yearning that binds the created order to the uncreated light.”
MYSTICAL COURAGE: Commentaries on Selected Contemplative Exercises by G.I. Gurdjieff, as Compiled by Joseph Azize, by Cynthia Bourgeault
Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm (2020)
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.” – from the afterword by A. H. Almaas
Published by the Shambhala Publications.
How I Found God in Everyone and Everywhere: An Anthology of Spiritual Memoirs (2018)
How I Found God in Everyone and Everywhere captures for a general audience the spiritual shift away from a God “up there” and “out there” and towards an immanent divine right here. It’s built around the personal journeys of a close-knit group of prominent contributors. Their spiritual visions of immanence, sometimes called “panentheism,” are serving as a path of spiritual return for a growing number of seekers today. In addition to Cynthia Bourgeault, contributors include Ilia Delio, Deepak Chopra, Richard Rohr, Rupert Sheldrake, and Matthew Fox.
Published by the Monkfish Book Publishing Company.
Love is the Answer – What is the Question? (2018)
This book is a collection of writings birthed in the immediacy of the moment. Cynthia Bourgeault engages in direct call and response with the reader, the world, and these tender and tumultuous times. Setting the stage with Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of love as “a geophysical force,” and her riveting encounter at Tintern Abbey––where Wisdom revealed guidance and direction from which we can all take heart––Cynthia responds to the questions, needs, and opportunities brought to the fore in 2017. In remarkably diverse and myriad approaches––from the practical, personal, and social to the infinitely sublime––she invites all of us to participate in the conversation.
In the midst of a deeper paradigm shift, with all the hopes and fears that surface in times of change, Cynthia’s voice is that of a spiritual teacher who knows the territory from the inside out. Her call is to embodied practice: to listen, do the work, and see ourselves for what we are, no more, no less. To attend to an evolving consciousness that can bear the greatest joy and the deepest sorrow. To connect to a sense of rhythm and proportion, to live with humility and humor, to beat as a heart within the Divine Heart of Hearts. To take part in the creation of a new body of humanity. To live our lives fully.
“Cynthia’s teaching and her writing is her conscious work, and she lives primarily to both share and activate what comes through her heart. These recent writings by Cynthia represent the depth of her Wisdom teaching as it is applied to the times in which we are currently living. Stretching from the autumn of 2016, just prior to the US Presidential election, through the fall of 2017, they touch what is deepest on our own hearts and minds. Ponder them carefully and see where they lead you. Then act.” ~ Bill Redfield, Episcopal priest, Wisdom teacher, and president of Northeast Wisdom
Published by the Center for Action and Contemplation.
The Heart of Centering Prayer: Christian Nonduality in Theory and Practice (2016)
Centering Prayer is the path to a wonderful and radical new way of seeing the world. It is not, as is sometimes thought, simply an act of devotional piety, nor is it a Christianized form of other meditation methods. Cynthia Bourgeault here cuts through the misconceptions to show that Centering Prayer is in fact a pioneering development within the Christian contemplative tradition. She provides a practical, complete course in the practice and then goes deeper to analyze what actually happens in Centering Prayer: the mind effectively switches to a new operating system that lays the foundation for the perception of nonduality. With this understanding in place, she then takes us on a journey through one of the sources of the practice, the Christian contemplative classic The Cloud of Unknowing, revealing it to be among the earliest Christian explorations of the phenomenology of consciousness.
Cynthia’s illumination of the Centering Prayer path provides compelling evidence of how important the practice has become in the half-century since it first arose among American Trappist monks, and of its maturation and refinement over the ensuing years of sincere study and practice. It will resonate with beginners on the Centering Prayer Path as well with seasoned practitioners.
“A masterpiece of spiritual wisdom firmly rooted in the Christian mystical tradition. A brilliant analysis of nondual Christianity in theory and in practice and a major contribution to the Centering Prayer movement and to interspiritual dialogue.”~ Thomas Keathing, author of Open Mind, Open Heart
Published by Shambhala Publications.
Love is Stronger Than Death (1997, 2014) – Recently re-released version, with new foreword by Cynthia Bourgeault
Essentially a powerfully moving love story of two aging individuals, Love Is Stronger Than Death: The Mystical Union Of Two Souls by principal teacher for the Contemplative Society and spiritual retreat authority Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, is drawn from the life and experiences of Brother Raphael (Rafe) Robin, an Episcopalian priest, author and a Trappist hermit. The ability of human and spiritual love to transcend death and open the way to joyous bliss is superbly presented in this highly recommended and heartwarming tale of building an emotional, personal, and loving relationship for the future that transcends all earthly limitations.
“A profound and moving love story of original insight, written at the frontier of life and death.”~ David White, author of The Heart Aroused
“A lucid, brave, and significant contribution to the two deepest questions being asked by all seekers now: What really happens after death and how can human relationships help us to achieve an initiation into divine human love? Another dimension which this book opens up is that of the real place of eros in Christian mysticism and the act of living mystical experience.”~ Andrew Harvey, author of Son of Man
Published by Monkfish Publishing.
The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three: Discovering the Radical Truth at the Heart of Christianity (2013)
Just as she’s done in her previous books, Cynthia Bourgeault asks us to take a look at an idea from traditional Christianity—this time the formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—as though we’re looking at it for the first time. And as usual, she reveals it to be something we hadn’t expected at all. She finds in the idea of the Holy Trinity a striking vision of the nature of reality. What she claims, in a nutshell, is that embedded within this theological formula that Christians recite mostly on autopilot lies a powerful metaphysical principle that could change our understanding of Christianity and give us the tools so long and so sorely needed to reunite our shattered cosmology, rekindle our visionary imagination, and cooperate consciously with the manifestation of Jesus’ “Kingdom of Heaven” here on earth. She looks to the history of Christian theology, to her own years of contemplative practice, and to the ideas of G. I. Gurdjieff. Her tone is, as ever, as accessible as it is compelling, and it’s a wild ride. “I will do my best to make the ride as smooth as possible,” she says, “but in the end, my commitment is to getting there, because I know beyond all personal doubt that there is indeed a ham radio concealed inside this Trinitarian tea cupboard. And in the midst of this long winter of our Christian discontent, when spiritual imagination and boldness are at an all-time low and the church itself hovers at the edge of demise for lack of an animating vision, perhaps now more than ever the time is ripe to remove the packing boards from this tea cupboard and release its contents.”
“The Christian Doctrine of the Trinity is upheld by some as a border checkpoint to restrict access, while it is disparaged by others as extra baggage to be left behind. Cynthia Bourgeault peers into it with the heart of a mystic and the mind of a philosopher and rediscovers it as a kaleidoscope of inspiration and a key to understanding … everything. One of the most fascinating, humbling, and awe-inspiring books I’ve read in years.” ~ Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/activist
Published by Shambhala Publications.
The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity (2010)
Mary Magdalene is one of the most influential symbols in the history of Christianity—yet, if you look in the Bible, you’ll find only a handful of verses that speak of her. How did she become such a compelling saint in the face of such paltry evidence? In her effort to answer that question, Cynthia Bourgeault examines the Bible, church tradition, art, legend, and newly discovered texts to see what’s there. She then applies her own reasoning and intuition, informed by the wisdom of the ages-old Christian contemplative tradition. What emerges is a radical view of Mary Magdalene as Jesus’s most important disciple, the one he considered to understand his teaching best. That teaching was characterized by a nondualistic approach to the world and by a deep understanding of the value of the feminine. Cynthia shows how an understanding of Mary Magdalene can revitalize contemporary Christianity, how Christians and others can, through her, find their way to Jesus’s original teachings and apply them to their modern lives.
“It is light bursting over the waters beneath a heavy clouded sky– it is a woman speaking out into the clear air after the heart’s years of secret conversing–it is, as David Whyte once said; The opening of eyes long closed–deep seeing into the true image at the core and resolving back to our origin. I sense an energetic symbiosis of your mind and hers until I am not sure who is speaking and that is the amazing anamnesis you have achieved. The book is magnificent; another writing to live on- to love through” ~ Rev. Robert Pynn, poet and Dean Emeritus of the Anglican Cathedral, Calgary, Alberta
Published by Shambhala Publications.
The Wisdom Jesus (2008)
If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. Cynthia Bourgeault is a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teachings for yourself.
“There are few spiritual teachers who give us genuinely fresh insight, but even fewer who give us the tools so we can come to those insights for ourselves. Cynthia Bourgeault does both, and does them very well!”~ Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Director of TheCenter for Action and Contemplation
“A masterful work. Cynthia Bourgeault invites us to follow Jesus’s path of self-emptying love, and she describes wisdom practices that we Christians can use every day to transform our own minds so that we too can see with the eyes of Christ.”~ Jim Marion, author of Putting on the Mind of Christ
Published by Shambhala Publications.
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (2004)
Practitioners of Centering Prayer are known for the great enthusiasm they bring to the practice of this ancient discipline. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening is a complete guidebook for all who wish to know the practice of Centering Prayer. Cynthia Bourgeault goes further than offering an introduction, however. She examines how the practice is related to the classic tradition of Christian contemplation, looks at the distinct nuances of its method, and explores its revolutionary potential to transform Christian life. The book encourages dialogue between Centering Prayer enthusiasts and those classic institutions of Christian nurture—churches, seminaries, and schools of theology—that have yet to accept real ownership of the practice and its potential.
“Probably the best on practical prayer I have ever read. I am finding myself quoting you more and more, and cannot thank you enough for your using of God’s clear gift. I will be publicly pushing the book–as all of them–whenever I find a crowd ready for such inner work and brilliance.”~Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Director of TheCenter for Action and Contemplation
Published by Cowley Publications.
The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming An Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart (2003)
“Drawing on resources as diverse as Sufism, Benedictine Monasticism, the Gurdjieff Work, and the string theory of modern physics, Cynthia Bourgeault has crafted her own unique vision of the Wisdom way in this very accessible book, nicely balanced between concept and practice.” ~ Gerald May, senior fellow, Shalem Institute, and author, Addiction and Grace and Will and Spirit
“The spiritual wisdom and practical suggestions in this lively and beautiful book will be helpful to many who find themselves setting out on the interior journey.” ~ Bruno Barnhart, a Camaldolese monk and author, Second Simplicity: The Inner Shape of Christianity
“Cynthia Bourgeault’s book is a valuable contribution to the much-needed reawakening of spiritual practice within a Christian context. Her sincerity, good sense, metaphysical depth, and broad experience make her a source to be trusted.”~Kabir Helminski, Sufi Shaikh, the Threshold Society
Published by Jossey-Bass.
Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God (2001)
At a time when people are yearning for good news, Cynthia Bourgeault’s new book invites us to find our way to the hope that does not disappoint or fail. In five interwoven meditations, Mystical Hope shows us how to recognize this hope in our own lives, where it comes from, how to deepen it through prayer, and how to carry it into the world as a source of strength and renewal.
Published by Cowley Publications.
Chanting the Psalms: A Practical Guide with Instructional CD (2006)
The pointed and shaking finger of our adamant inner schoolteachers often accompanies calls to engage and stick with ancient (read: tried and proven) spiritual practices. Not so with Bourgeault’s impassioned invitation to chant the Psalms. With a blend of Christian and Eastern mysticism running throughout, as well as recognition that learning to chant may be difficult, she gently guides readers through the “whys” and then through the “hows.”
Published by New Seeds.
Holy Week Liturgies – by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault with Ward Bauman and Darlene Franz
Contemplative Liturgies created for Holy Week 2011, with introduction, liturgy and music.
Published by Episcopal House of Prayer.