Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
What makes us come alive in times such as this, as we participate in the world as it is? Or, as Cynthia asks us in her foundational book, The Wisdom Jesus, “Could our own lives become such a perfect fusion of infinite love and finite form that light would pour from our being as an actual physical radiance?” (102). What does this radiance of being look like and feel like? How do we walk the Jesus path from the inside?
These are just some of the questions we will engage together as over 90 people from around the world gather this week in small groups under the spiritual care of eight seasoned Wisdom leaders. All the book circles will meet together on the same Tuesday of each month, across different time zones, countries, and continents, all engaging in synch together. This is our third in a series of foundational Wisdom book circles, building on a framework that is envisioned as a two-year, four-book cycle, using Cynthia’s core Wisdom books to guide us.
Last January 2020, just before the pandemic upended so many things, we began our first six-month book series with The Wisdom Way of Knowing, already utilizing Zoom to include a global community. Each time we gathered, seasoned facilitators prepared ourselves and our groups to receive Wisdom, yearning to know with more of ourselves available and attuned, engaging Wisdom practices anchored in three centers of knowing, through chant, body prayer, and group Lectio Divina. We continued in the fall of 2020 with a three-month cycle leaning into the book Mystical Hope. Over 125 people gathered across 5 groups, basking in the warmth and resonance of the field of Mercy, divine love itself, as we labored in challenging times.
As we now continue in Epiphany, the veil still thin, and move toward Lent and Easter, the teachings and mysteries of Jesus will be our guide. What is being birthed as new life within us, both as individuals and as community? As Cynthia highlights in The Wisdom Jesus, who or what in us recognizes Jesus, not as an idea we believe in, but as a quickening in our heart, a knowing that magnetizes and draws us deeper?
Jesus beckons us to “come and see” (John 1:39) and Cynthia adds: “As we actually taste the flavor of what [Jesus] is teaching, we begin to see that it’s not proverbs for daily living or ways of being virtuous. He’s proposing a total meltdown and recasting of human consciousness, bursting through the tiny acorn-selfhood that we arrived on the planet with into the oak tree of our fully realized personhood.” (27) This is a profound invitation that is best grappled with in community.
So, for those of you joining us for the first time in these Wisdom book circles, be at ease. You are right where you need to be and no one is ‘ahead’ of you. For those returning, remember how far afield we can all get with ideas and beliefs, and be reminded that the basics are fresh each time we return. They are our portal in, where we recognize Jesus through our own heart connection. We are all invited to come with beginner’s mind, an open heart and a settled body. If you are not joining a group, but would like to read along with us, know that we can all meet in the imaginal realm, with all our yearnings held in the infinite love of God.
In preparation for this deep dive together, I invite us all into a slow reading of The Wisdom Jesus, Lectio Divina style. Allow yourself to take your time, be impacted, savor, notice what surprises you, what sparks your curiosity, and what makes you uncomfortable. Continue in daily Centering Prayer or another meditation practice you are drawn to. If music or chanting emerges, carry those words and vibrations in your heart throughout the day. And care for your body. Allow for rest and relaxation. You may have a yoga practice or breath practice. You may be practicing with sensation and attention through some of the Azize exercises from the Gurdjieff lineage. If you are inclined, I offer this body prayer (below) as one you can incorporate into your day. In these ways, we are attuning to all three centers of knowing. On a daily basis, we are interrupting our automatic and mechanical ways of doing and we are nourishing our centers in ways that create space to “know with more of ourselves” available. We participate in the slow work of God, becoming acquainted with our inner knowing. We come alive, we love.
“Here I am, as I am”
(Lightly stamp right foot while doing gesture of putting down a staff/walking stick in the right hand and say first phrase above. Repeat movement with left foot/hand saying second phrase)
Feel your presence on the ground in the moment with each movement and the words.
“In the world, as it is”
(With your right arm, make a horizontal circle in front of you, palms open, saying the first phrase, repeat with the left hand saying the second phrase)
See/feel/hear the world around you.
“Supported by the earth”
(Hands together in prayer like position in front of your heart)
Sense the same pressure between your hands as you do the pressure between you and the earth under your feet.
“Floating in the cosmos”
(Prayer hands move up over your head)
See yourself from the perspective of the moon, standing on the earth, under the earth.
(Prayer hands to level of forehead)
Sense an alert glow between your eyes.
“To my state of Being”
(Prayer hands to heart level)
Feel your current state of being, sensations of your being.
(Let it all go with a whoosh and bow of release)
~Wholeness in Motion, a body prayer from Babette Lightner shared by Lisa Persons and Heather Ruce~
Welcome to a monthly series of posts from the leaders of the Northeast Wisdom/ Wisdom Waypoints Book Study Group. On January 26th the class will begin The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—A New Perspective on Christ and His message by Cynthia Bourgeault. Stay tuned for the next post in the Wisdom Waypoints Wisdom Jesus Book Circle series!
Won’t you join us? Please note that the Book Circle is now full. We encourage individuals and groups of all kinds to take up this study, and follow along with these monthly postings through June 2021, and would love to hear your reflections about this post and the book in the comments below. Thank you!
Images from the top: Living Desert Sculpture, Broken Hill, Australia, courtesy of author Trevor McKinnon, Unsplash, cropped; Healing Journey by Havi Mandell, courtesy of the artist. You may visit her at her website at Havi Mandell, Visionary Artist, Creativity Shaman; Falling, courtesy of author Ian Dooley, Unsplash, cropped.