Recent Blog Posts Visit Blog Archives

“To Midwife Third Force”: Creating Law of Three Midwife Groups

Marcella Kraybill-Greggo attended her first full Wisdom School in the fall of 2014 at the Claymont Society in West Virginia. Cynthia Bourgeault offered a week long retreat, "Gurdjieff for Christian Contemplatives: An Intensive Exploration of the Holy Trinity and the Law of Three". As the date approached, Marcella was receiving guidance in her dreams to become more grounded physically. At Claymont, with its emphasis on the Gurdjieff movements, study would include daily experience in the moving center, as well as in the feeling and intellectual centers. Cynthia says that an essential fruit of contemplative practice is the ever widening capacity to midwife third force. Speaking to the potential of conscious attention, she repeated a concept during the retreat which intrigued Marcella; that third force is more midwifed than taught. The archetype of 'midwifing' (as being with, to bring into being or bring to birth) is central to the spiritual direction Marcella both teaches and practices. In her field, 'midwifing' refers to a way to both witness and stay the course while a person does their work, offering markers, reminding people of what they already know, while holding an awareness of how Spirit can work. This meeting of spiritual direction and

Continue reading...

Wisdom Group Leadership Training

This is the first in a series of four articles by Bill Redfield about the Wisdom Group Leadership Training offered November 29 ~ December 3, 2017. This practical training in skillful post-holding, including ‘embodying the wealth of Wisdom's vision' and developing group skills for greater integration, will take place at Hallelujah Farm in Chesterfield New Hampshire. Before I begin my pitch, allow me to introduce myself and our team to you. The Wisdom path started for me when I met Cynthia 27 years ago and when I began a practice of Centering Prayer. As an Episcopal priest and clinical social worker, I have long been interested in the intersection of spiritual development and psychological development. I reconnected with Cynthia ten years ago and since then have been a participant in her Advanced Wisdom group. Having spent a chunk of my adult life leading groups of various kinds and teaching group process and group development in several graduate social work and graduate education programs, the upcoming training in leadership skills for Wisdom groups represents for me a confluence of life interests. [caption id="attachment_566" align="alignleft" width="150"] Lois Barton[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2581" align="alignright" width="150"] Deborah Welsh[/caption] I have had the great good fortune of

Continue reading...

2nd Annual Maine Wisdom Ingathering is Less Than a Month Away!

Our Second Annual Maine Wisdom Ingathering is now only a little more than a month away! This e-letter comes to bring you all up to date about how this year’s event is shaping up—and to announce that there are still places for a few last-minute recruits if you’re willing to arrange your own housing. Our program this year, June 4-11, 2017, will have two tracks. In the morning we’ll be continuing our work with Teilhard de Chardin, this year with a specific focus on what he might have to say to a world suddenly thrust into volatile and perilous circumstances. The title of our exploration is “A Survivor’s Guide to the Galaxy: Teilhard for Troubled Times.” We’ll be considering the ways in which his expansive evolutionary vision and deep mystical hope offer surprising new insights and resources for a world which all too often nowadays find itself steering rudderless. And speaking of rudders… In the afternoon, we’ll be exploring our local Celtic seafaring saint, St. Brendan the Navigator, by way of an original mystery play I created in his honor about twenty years ago. I’m envisioning this afternoon track as creatively staged lecture-discussion-scene study drawing us deeper into that perennial Wisdom

Continue reading...

The Lord is Risen Indeed? Alleluia? A Reflection on a Holy Week Retreat and Easter Lived in the Tradition of Wisdom

A Poem: "Take Off Your Shoes" by Adwoa Lewis-Wilson. Take off your shoes, In fact, remove all your coverings – The cloak of achievement, adornments of knowledge,      Every false veil of ‘self’. For the place you stand is holy ground. Here is where I will burn away all that is not real. Here is where you remain aflame with my Spirit’s fire. Take off your shoes, Yes, all your coverings. For here you have found the baptismal fount. You may not enter this sanctuary other than naked,      Vulnerable           Exposed. Available. Then will I wash you and you will find your part with me. Then clean and pure, will you abide as a beacon of my Light. Like the bush you will not be consumed. For this soul of yours is holy ground. And see? You will not, naked, drown. For by my presence, from your very soul Has flowed springs of living water. [caption id="attachment_2510" align="alignright" width="243"] Bathsheba at Her Bath, Rembrandt[/caption] Bare yourself and come near. In your soul you will find me:      A fire’s power,      A cleansing stream.      A perfect refuge,      An endless union,      A boundless bliss, Unknowable Revelation, Unshakable Peace. Here I wait, for you to arrive,

Continue reading...

Substituted Love

In honor of Holy Week, I wanted to share with you an excerpt from my "Becoming Truly Human: Gurdjieff's Obligolnian Strivings" e-course, just now winding down. “And the fifth: the striving always to assist the most rapid perfecting of other beings, both those similar to oneself and those of other forms, up to the degree of the sacred ‘Martfotai’, that is, up to the degree of self-individuality.” It’s one thing to be willing and able to help a fellow being: to send them strength, reassurance, even an energetic boost. But is it possible to actually change places with them so that we take the weight on our own shoulders and they are permanently set free? Definitely not, most spiritual traditions say. In the words of my Sufi teacher, a butcher’s son: “Every mutton hangs by its own leg.” Assistance, yes; baraka, blessing, clarity, counsel, and strength: in all these ways we can help. But spiritual liberation itself is non-transferable. You can’t become conscious unconsciously, by someone else doing it for you. It is the fruit of your own inner work. I raise this point, obviously, because we are now less than a week out from the beginning of Holy Week.

Continue reading...

Conversation and Flow: A Spiritual Practice

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about conversation and the necessity of paying attention to the flow of our words. Since, as Christopher Fry* has said, “Affairs are now soul size,” it seems that our conversations should be the same. It’s like a dance really, and if well done, can become an embodied spiritual practice emphasizing the three modes of attention, surrender and compassion. I took a social dancing class in sixth grade in order to prepare for school dances and to be ready for successful adulthood in the days when dancing with a partner was more than rocking back and forth or just jumping around in time to wild music. Our first attempts were very concentrated. Counting one, two, three to the music and making our feet move in a box-step pattern as we looked down at them generally kept us from stepping on our partner’s shoes. As the rhythm moved inside of us and we began to really feel the movement, our minds relaxed, our attention to our partners increased and enjoyment took the place of tension in our bodies. I remember vividly as an adult the time I waltzed at a parish dance with the father of

Continue reading...

Why “Wisdom & Money”?

"Wisdom & Money," continues the signature work of its predecessor Harvest Time: to engage with money as a doorway to spiritual transformation. For more than a decade participants in Harvest Time circles have met to share their money stories together, “get naked” with their finances, playfully welcome obscure parts of themselves to Levi’s Table, and support one another in risking money experiments. This work has always been grounded in spiritual practices drawn from a variety of traditions. But one set of practices has emerged as strongly attractive and life-giving in the way of transformation. These practices were drawn from the tradition of Wisdom Christianity. Why Wisdom? “Wisdom” identifies the mystical stream within all major religious traditions that recognizes a reality beyond the world of appearances and our human capacity and desire to be united with that reality. The teachings and practices of the wisdom path lead us – subtly, gently but reliably – out of the “sleep" of our habitual ways and into an awakened consciousness of our authentic being. Across religious traditions, especially in their monastic forms, the practices that enable this transformation are remarkably similar. Among them are forms of silence, sacred chant, meditative movement, and reflection upon inspired writings. Such practices may well have

Continue reading...

“Conscious Circle” Ingathering

I watched them disappear this morning into the snowstorm, making their way home through the Maine winter after an extraordinary weekend of prayer, tears-and-laughter, teaching, stories, and conversation. My tiny, plucky ‘conscious circle…how it tugged at my heart to see them go. I had called them all together, impromptu, about a month ago: a baker’s dozen of the most experienced and steady folks in the Wisdom network, to join me for a weekend here in Stonington (in February, utter madness!) to see if we could collectively begin to discern what the cosmos seems to be up to in the wake of that traumatic election upheaval and what Wisdom might expect of us in response. The conversation around this topic has of course been flowing nonstop on the social media since well before November 8, but so much of it has been at the horizontal level, driven by historical and political analysis—and of course, from the perspective of the now duly-chastened secular intelligentsia. Shock, trauma, disorientation, and/or denial have been the dominant modes in the circles I mostly travel in, a still-dumbfounded inability to fathom what happened and why. In times such as these, it is a traditional practice in the

Continue reading...

Ken Wilber’s “Trump and a Post-Truth World: An Evolutionary Self-Correction”

An overview and critique by Cynthia Bourgeault. Now that Ken Wilber’s paper on “Trump and a Post-Truth World” is officially posted and making its rounds on the internet, I feel at liberty to share my initial “cliff notes” and comments a bit more widely. My comments below were generated originally (and somewhat hastily) for a group of senior Wisdom students who are already working their way through this tract. It is still to be regarded as primarily a “working draft” for limited circulation, not a formal response to Ken’s thesis. The first part is a quick overview of the main points of Ken’s argument as I understand it. The second part raises a few points for feedback/critique/further reflection.   THE ARGUMENT IN A NUTSHELL Ken Wilber’s wide-ranging and fundamentally hopeful monograph is an analysis of the recent presidential election from the perspective of levels of consciousness as developed primarily according to his own Integral Evolutionary Theory. The powerful contribution he brings here is to move us beyond the reactivity gripping both sides of the political spectrum and offer a much broader perspective. He proposes that Trump’s upset victory reflects an “evolutionary self-correction” necessitated by the fact that the leading edge

Continue reading...

Inauguration Day Moment of Silence and Program for Wisdom Gathering

An invitation to join in spirit together on January 20, 2017. You are invited to participate as friends of Wisdom gather for a moment of silence at noon on January 20 as Donald J. Trump is sworn into office as President of the United States. This practice has been envisioned as "a pause to create a 'dwelling place for Wisdom' on behalf of our nation, and a prayer from our hearts for our world." "As we learn to open ourselves deeply to this mysterious Source, help will always come, for the Source 'leans and harkens towards us' with a tenderness of love that is both the medium and the message." ~ Cynthia Bourgeault In addition to this moment of silence, and in response to Cynthia’s timely call for the “deep practice” of “collecting our hearts so as to be more directly and acutely in alignment” with Wisdom, Marcella Kraybill-Greggo has created a template for a two to two and a half hour Community Gathering on January 20, 2017. You are invited to work with this outline (printed below with links to resources) individually and collectively in gatherings on Inauguration Day. Cynthia’s impulse with this call was to follow Wisdom’s way and

Continue reading...