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My Post-Apocalyptic Blog

Dear Wisdom friends,

Winter IslandI want to make very clear to all of you that the “keep calm and carry on” tone of my earlier (immediately post-election) post does not imply that I’m feeling sanguine about the course of events now facing our country and our world. Quite to the contrary, I believe over the next several months we’re in for some hard reversals, probably harder than most Americans born post World War II have ever seen in their lifetime.

I’ve been out here on Eagle Island for a few days of Advent deep listening, trying to second-guess myself. But the premonition remains.

And it’s still Wisdom’s hour. Because I believe that those of us seriously committed to walking the Wisdom path have something to bring to the mix which most of our culture—either secular or spiritual—is simply not going to be able to get at. And it’s the missing piece, I believe, where clarity and resolve are to be found, if at all.

As you know, the two main influences on my overall metaphysical bearings are Teilhard and Gurdjieff. From Teilhard I get the reassurance that deep hope takes place over deep time. So much of our human terror and horror comes from trying to compress the timescale too tightly, insisting that coherence must be found over the course of only a few generations, or at best a few centuries. That’s like a pressure cooker without a steam valve; it will inevitably blow up.

From Gurdjieff, I’ve come to understand that all planetary evolution operates under the sway of the Law of Three—and that once again, we must look beyond immediate “good and bad”//”winners and losers” modes of thinking in order to see the deeper lines of causality actually directing the unfolding from within a still-coherent field. What looks in the short range to be unmitigated catastrophe can prove in the longer range to be addressing serious systemic malformations that need to be confronted and corrected before the evolutionary mandate can truly move forward.

Long roadIt’s exactly this kind of long-scale and impartial visioning that we need to bring to these up-ended times.

My stubborn foreboding is that in the upcoming months we will witness the substantial dismantling not only of the past eight years of Obama progressive liberalism, or even the past eighty years of New Deal social welfare, but something far more resembling eight hundred years of the Western intellectual tradition—all the way back to the 13th century, when the rise of scholasticism and the secular university began to displace the hegemony of the faith-based dogmatism in favor of free inquiry based on rational empiricism.

And the centerpiece in this domino chain of destruction is of course democracy itself, whose whole foundation lies in the sanctity of the above-mentioned principles.

Faced with threats—already underway—to what most of us still take for granted as the unshakable foundation of our national life—freedom of speech, freedom of the press, civility of discourse, and a commonly agreed on factual data base —I believe that the great American liberal progressive establishment will almost inevitably lose heart. I am seeing it happening already: people simply too numb and disoriented to even know what’s hit them. The possibility that democracy itself might fall victim to the collective insanity now massing on its horizon is too devastating even to ponder; we either dig in our heels, give up in despair, or distract ourselves in a dwindling oasis of “business as usual.”

Let there be no mistake about this: what has just come to pass is a serious blow to the foundations of Western Civilization. To name it at a lesser degree of magnitude is to set ourselves up for mere reactivity rather than understanding. We need to name it for what it is and be able to hold our footings as the edifices of post-Enlightenment culture reel and tumble in this seismic shift.

And yet I think it is precisely at this scale—i.e., eight hundred years—that we can discover the real ley lines of the Law of Three at work, in the situation, and we can understand more powerfully, impartially, and strategically what needs to be done as we hold the space for the course corrections which have necessarily arisen. This is not the destruction of consciousness, but a legitimate and ultimately propitious reconfiguration. We must not lose sight of that hope. If nothing else, we need to keep saying it, so that it does not vanish from the face of the earth.

I invite all who feel so moved to join me in the work awaiting at this other scale of magnitude. It will involve a combination of deep practice and wider reading and thinking.

The deep practice is about collecting our hearts so as to be more directly and acutely in alignment with “the conscious circle of humanity”—those of all ages and faiths who help hold the bandwidth of compassionate and wise presence around this fragile earth. It is in this imaginal bandwidth that wisdom comes magnificently into her own, but only as our own hearts grow wide and gentle and calm enough to receive her.

Beelzebub's TalesThe deep reading: for starters, we need a small group or groups who are seriously willing and able to take on Gurdjieff’s sprawling cosmological masterpiece, Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson. If you doubt that our own times are already brilliantly encapsulated there (including an eerily accurate portrait of our POTUS-elect), have a close look at chapters 25-28.

The other three which are part of my nightly bedtime reading for this retreat and these times: And There was Light by Jacques Lusseyran; Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban’s iconic 1980 post-apocalyptic novel; and of course, The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnus.

CandleOver the next few months I will be listening further into how our work wants to take shape “on the ground:” independent small groups? A new round of Wisdom retreats? Online learning formats? Officially rebooting the Omega Order? Road not clear at this point. But I do know that the real Wisdom step is not to pre-design the format, but simply to put the heart out there and see how it seeds itself.

So that’s what I’m doing here, dark and cold time of the year, commemorating this weekend Advent III and the 21st anniversary of the crossing over, into that conscious circle, of Rafe, in all things my teacher and lightholder.

Let me hear from you if you’re in.

Blessings and love,

Cynthia

 

 

 

Cynthia Bourgeault

 

 

Comments (66)

  1. I do not feel quite adequate to participate in this program, but, I would like to participate where I can. I am so terribly concerned about our country and the person who is going to lead it. . .

    1. The “New” Human Love Story. A Star has come to guide us to the Birth
      of God’s Child. Our Human Family surrounds us but the Birth of Divine
      Cosmic Love must be Humbly and Wholly Accepted. This is the Glory of God.
      We are all God’s Children. Equally and Completely Loved. Each and every one of us.
      It is Time to K(NOW) This in every cell of our Physical Body. Humbly and Wholly Human… God’s Child.
      I Am Loved. I Am Loved. I am Loved. I AM LOVE.

      Love Longs to be Known. Humanity Longs to Love. It is time to be Single/Unified and Universal in our Divinely Human Love. Pass it On!

      1. I am love strongest in consciousness,
        I am love strong in faith,
        I am love weaker in hope,
        I am love in body in weakness.
        Even in body I am love.

  2. Living in Iraq during the war I came to understand that God breaks open our lives as individuals, as a people and as a world and asks us “Who are you, what do you love?” We answer that question with our lives. For me that is the question this election brings–directed at each of us. I don’t know how we build a world in which all are valued, in which we see each other through the eyes of God but God does. So I am quietly strengthening my resolve as I remain attentive to what God is asking of me in this time. Teilhard certainly is a source of strength–that he could experience the suffering of the trenches of World War I and still see God’s dream through it all. I am in for reading Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson if it can help me see more clearly how to help midwife the new arising. For that is surely what is happening.

  3. CB wrote: “the next few months I will be listening further into how our work wants to take shape “on the ground:” independent small groups? A new round of Wisdom retreats? Online learning formats? Officially rebooting the Omega Order?”

    I would appreciate having foundational Wisdom schools run again to help newcomers to Cynthia’s work get up to speed. I personally don’t find on-line courses as helpful as face to face events because they lack the human connection that so often sparks deep exchanges and growing between participants who are gathered together in person.

    I would include in Cynthia’s suggestions to have leadership start/continue meeting with other Wisdom groups, such as Richard Rohr and his Center for Action and Contemplation, Shalem folks, Friends of Silence, the Oriental Orthodox Order in the West, Contemplative Outreach, and others, to share and learn from each other. Sufi and Buddhist groups would also be a source of insight. This kind of networking has the potential to create a “federation” of Wisdom communities that can help to keep us all grounded in Wisdom practices and perspectives as we discern how we each will personally take action, while not becoming reactive, cynical, and full of despair. Lusseyran himself joined forces with a bigger underground movement, which amplified his own efforts tremendously.

  4. I’m in. I’ve read some of Beelzebub and And there was Light. I’m seriously concerned and am also seriously appreciative of the call to contemplative action by Cynthia.

    Somehow I deeply felt by the third debate that he would win. After the election, I wasn’t overwhelmed like so many of my friends but felt this was almost meant to be in order for us, especially me who doesn’t like to dabble in politics, to get with it. My question though was who would guide us. Cynthia is the best person I could have dreamed of as one of great wisdom, courage, and organizational expertise and so much more. Thank you, Cynthia.

  5. I’m in. I want to continue this path of Wisdom now that I have discovered it. I thought I had just found something that was missing in my life. Now Wisdom is becoming a way of life and I want to have and offer companionship along the way.

  6. I so appreciate this wisdom and encouragement Cynthia to stay faithful to the journey. I was brought to tears the other day by the truth that “deep hope takes place over deep time.” I’ve been crushed by the realization that we are only in the incipient phases of the changes I thought were well underway. Pressure cooker indeed! I look forward to watching our path unfold and I will be on the journey with you.

  7. I’m inc Cynthia! I’ve just downloaded all 3 books onto my Kindle. Even though I’m Canadian, I recognize that this election will have huge global significance. As for formats, on-line activities permit more people to participate, and with the right kind of adjunct social media connections, can connect people pretty deeply.

  8. Yes, I too want to participate. And as Gail E. said, I do not feel adequate.
    I knew on election night that life as we know it is over. But I did not understand that this would shake the foundations of Western Civilization. I am grateful, Cynthia, for your “long-scale and impartial visioning”.

  9. I’m in. I found an emerging church in my town! I will be hosting a small group in my home on Richard’s new book. I am eager to see your suggestions for small groups going forward. I am grateful for you and your forward vision! Bill Brennan

  10. Cynthia, I’m in. For the deep practice, for the deep reading. Reach out to me if I can be of support or assistance. I’m in the SF/Oakland.

  11. Writing from the UK, there were so many similarities with what happened with our referendum vote: I went to bed hopeful and woke up in shock on both occasions. Thank you Cynthia for distilling so much wisdom from Gurdjieff and Teilhard (for people like me who don’t have the wit or will to do it for myself), and for offering a hopeful way of working with so much global trauma. I have at times felt despairing, and yet it has also provided the wake up call, which in responding to your post, gives me hope. I would love to continue to participate through deep practice and deep reading, looking to find the third way to deep action from a different place than knee jerk fear or guilt. Yes, I’m in.

  12. Hi all. We are starting a small group in the Alexandria VA area to explore Gurdjieff from a Wisdom perspective. I see this as a long term project. We live in a time of mid-wiving. I don’t expect that which is coming into the world to arrive in my life-time. But what we do matters, and I think deepening our understanding of Gurdjieff will make us better mid-wives in whatever action we take in the world. We are two now but welcome others. If you are interested in joining us, email me off-line at mbartel@bartelassociates.com. We are looking at a January start–details to be worked out.

  13. Dear Cynthia, I am so often inspired by your clarity and courage, knowing you from the Living School and your work over time.. I am in, although his work has always eluded my deeper understanding. The wisdom path is our hope.

  14. Yes…I am in. I would like to mention that a small group of us have been re-reading “Meditations on the Tarot” It has been incredibly powerful and prescient to revisit this work…….so foundational and helpful during these chaotic times……I sit silently waiting to be led and guided as to next steps and fighting the urges for activism too soon……deep grounding is needed…….I continue to “hold the space”. Love.

    1. Deep practice and deep reading…I’m in. Thank you Cynthia for holding your post and for calling us to hold our own posts, together, during the time to come.

  15. Cynthia, Your words regarding what we are in for reflect some of the despairing thoughts I’ve been having in the last few days. But I had told myself we would cycle out of this moving away from rational thought toward fantasy and conspiracy theories. I had not gone back as far as 800 years in my thoughts yet. So, yes, I’m in… because of age and circumstances, mostly in online course work. You help to give us hope as we journey through these dark times together.

  16. Dear Cynthia — I’m in. I’ve been reading Tarnus’s book, sharing Teilhard’s book in our Centering Prayer group, and looking forward to reading Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson. Thank you for continuing to uplift us and light the way.

  17. I am with you, Cynthia. I already have The Passion of the Western Mind and now I am inspired to tackle Beelzebub’s Tales. Since the retreat in October, I have been gently spreading Teilhard’s idea of deep hope. At a certain point in my life, I consciously chose deep hope. I knew nothing of Teilhard and wasn’t sure that I wasn’t kidding myself. What a relief to know I’m not alone. Thank you.

  18. How grateful I am for your sharing of heart and wisdom. I think I’ve hungered to hear it. Have been feeling so undone – discouraged, confused, and numb. Issues of abandonment and desolation arising in waking and sleeping dreams. But I’ve also been starting to regather myself, and your words on a faith based in a broader timeline are helpful. I rest this morning with this: What appears to be is not all there is. Deep forces are at work, and deep listening needs to be renewed. Would love to attend another wisdom school. Maybe in the southeast? And please tell me more about Omega. Seems it’s time for “all the broken-hearted people living in the world” to agree….or at least come together with open hearts.

  19. Thank you Cynthia. I am headed toward a 28 day deep winter silent retreat in high desert country in Colorado this January. Perhaps my reading companions have arrived as well. God grant us wisdom, a clear path and courage to walk it.

  20. Hi, Cynthia, from U.K. part of the world again. I am in. Willing, ready and grateful to be guided by you.
    Have read Beelzebub, and There Was Light is a Christmas present for my Beloved.

    I am in and ready. Love. X

  21. Hello Dear Cynthia,
    Blessings to you in the Advent sacred quiet of Eagle Island
    Thank you for holding your post and helping us to embody and ground our own in each place on the earth where we have been called at this time. In Canada here there is also concern with the unfolding events in our beloved neighbours country.

    I am reminded in our dialogue here of what Mary Magdalene – La Maddalena – wrote and taught while holding her post between the eternal and the embodied realms… her deep presence, witness, compassion, and love in the face of the unknown and faith, deep unwavering faith. Her teaching and her commitment to holding the ‘tether’ and the eternal light here inspire and inform my days.
    her voice calls to us down the ages;
    ~ ~~ ‘those who would be in the light must hold the light’…

    Luce luminoso a tutti,
    Susan

  22. I’m in – in any way that’s possible for me. I’ve been longing for a way/s to play the part I’m called to in this momentous upheaval. For starters, you’ve given us some reading to do! I’ve also felt a need for a group in my area to be close enough geographically to meet for prayer – even if it’s just once a month – until we cam get to another Wisdom School. Thank you for all you do Cynthia!

  23. I am in. Right here in the Napa Valley in California. I have ordered all the books and would love to get a study group going and be involved in online classes with you, Cynthia, thank you for your leadership in speaking truth about our harsh circumstances.

  24. Dear Cynthia and All,

    I am all in – swallowing a strong dose of humility to cope with the sense of personal inadequacy.
    Thank you.

  25. with palms joined… bowing to the morphogenic field.
    with heart bursting…singing a hymn of I Am in-ness.
    with forehead smiling…thanking you, Cynthia.

    in reverence,
    Sabina in Gilroy, Ca

  26. I’m in. Feeling strongly pulled toward this work and I’m ready to do what it takes to get up to speed. Would like to connect with others here in Colorado and, Cynthia, if you do a leadership training, I would like to be included. It has been my response to almost everything the last few years to look at the big picture. It seems the only way the world makes sense. These last years, I’ve been studying, either by cd or by retreats with Richard Rohr, James Finley and Ward Bauman. Also, Non Violent Communication and similar programs and the Christian Mystics, especially John of the cross. On Gurdjieff, I acquired a copy of Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous many years ago. It’s like a magnet for me, I read it again every few years.
    Something in me is hungry for much deeper work now. So, here I am.

  27. I’m in. Needing a tangible sense of other beings reaching for the light, finding the next step. Needing also to put what’s happening in the world at the moment in a wisdom context, and needing to be lifted up by the knowledge of the many souls who are transforming what is possible in the human heart. Will revisit Beelzebub directly.
    Thank you all,
    Alani

  28. Count on Cherry Log Christian Church. We have 2 groups formed and will be staying aware together, doing what we can individually and together, praying together, writing letters. Together with the Unitarian Universalist Church in our rather remote area, we plan to hire a bus to take us to Atlanta to join in a protest.
    We are meeting Jan 5 for our first small wisdom gathering and will introduce Beezlebub as an option to begin our study together.
    We are with you and thank you for your wisdom and leadership in these escalating days.

  29. Yes, I’m in! I would love to do in person wisdom retreats, though live in the Midwest, not the Northeast, so online may be more doable at this point… Yes, to deep practice and deep reading. Thank you, Cynthia!

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