Re-Learning Trust

with Cynthia Bourgeault and Heather Ruce

From September 25-29, 2022, The Contemplative Society hosted a Re-Learning Trust Retreat facilitated by Cynthia Bourgeault and Heather Ruce at Bethlehem Retreat Centre. The video recording of this in-person and online retreat is now being offered as an E-Course.


This E-Course will walk you through the four-day retreat, divided into 2-8 recorded video sessions per day.


To our usual psychological way of looking at things, trust must be earned; it is called forth in response to demonstrated trustworthiness. But there is another way of approaching trust, which has always been the way of the great saints and mystics. From this other angle of approach trust, is not earned so much as bestowed—from a fathomless strength and freedom which lies latent in every human soul, flowing like a wellspring from the heart of God.

Anchored in strength rather than gullibility, and impervious to manipulation, this trust is itself a transformative force, flowing into a broken world to bring courage, healing, and reconnection. This e-course retreat will be a deep immersion into this other way of working with trust. With the mystics looking over our shoulders, we will explore not only the spirituality but the actual practices that allow our hearts to access this hidden wellspring and draw on it skillfully to begin to rebuild trust, not only within our own lives, but within our shattered world. Note that we will be approaching the task from contemplative and esoteric reference points rather than therapeutic ones, so it is recommended that you have an established meditation practice and a willingness to offer yourself on this pathway of conscious service to the whole.

We will also explore contemplative embodiment practices, with a daily session facilitated by supporting guest teacher Heather Ruce.”

Brian Mitchell, a guest writer with The Contemplative Society, shares his commentary on the retreat:

“Here are a few things that I picked up from Cynthia’s retreat on trust. Much more lies behind these few words.

“Trust is not a noun. It’s a spiritual substance, an energetic charge and without it, we calcify. Both we as individuals and our current world are in radical need of it. And it doesn’t need to be earned. At every moment help, in the form of grace, is at hand. As we grow in trust our confidence and competence grow. We come to realize what we can and cannot do. As Cynthia puts it: ‘“We are the priests of our own life. Who and where is the “‘you”’ in you who can consecrate? You can be that priest if you trust that it is in relationship with the Body of Christ.’.” In taking on this work we fulfil our true purpose in this realm: we become cosmic transformers; immortal diamonds in clay vessels.

“Cynthia takes us, in some detail, through Gurdjieff’s Worlds 1 through 196. As we make our way though our normal World 48 we come to realize that we are not alone and that World 24 beckons. We are continually receiving grace from above. As we learn to accept it, particularly through working with sensation, rather than listening to our narrative self’s chattering, we grow the grace bank. As we learn to not judge ourselves but rather simply watch our mind’s scattering we grow in compassion for our selves. Slowly we learn that our striving, urgent self is a mirage. 

“The work is not easy. It’s a struggle but through our constant risings and dyings trust is reinforced. We are continually being called back. We are not, finally, responsible for our self-actualization: Christ is. All we have to do is show up and do our work,  – as Cynthia details when she examines Gurdjieff’s process for ‘“Making Sun and Making Moon’” in ourselves.

“The universe is for us and consciousness is not simply personal bur rather collective. The Mystical Body of Christ is an organic body to which we belong. As Cynthia puts it: “‘I am not I. I am the one who walks beside me. The one walking beside me can receive and give that trust when “‘I’ I” cannot.’” As we begin to trust the reality of our relationship with Christ, more trust comes and we begin to live out the question mark that is each of us. We can forget our stories knowing that we belong. Our individuation is ours simply to give back to the greater whole. We are not alone.

We hope you find this an enriching and beneficial teaching series. For other live recordings of the teaching of Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault and other Wisdom teachers please visit our website at www.contemplative.org for a current listing.