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Wagner, Einstein and Teilhard

Here is a wonderful new blog post from Dr. Rudy Hwa -- an emeritus professor of Physics at the University of Oregon as well one of my one of my senior Wisdom Students, both chronologically (we’ve been traveling this path together for nearly two decades now) and in his recognized eldership in both the scientific and Wisdom communities. This delightful blog seamlessly weaves together his scientific rigor with his passion for music. It's a delight and a privilege to share it with you here. ~ Cynthia At a symposium held many years ago on a day between the performances of the third and fourth operas of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the musical director of the Ring said in answer to a question about Wagner: “Music without Wagner is like physics without Einstein.” That statement struck such a chord in me that I have been exploring its implications ever-since. As a physicist I know Einstein’s work more than I do about the works of Wagner and Teilhard. But my love for music, especially for Wagner’s operas, and my journey in spirituality put me at a place where I can enjoy a panoramic view of all three. My words to describe that view,

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Bruteau Collection Update

It is now closing in on the 2nd anniversary of my transfer of private documents into the Beatrice Bruteau archive at Emory University’s Pitts Library. My prior article for Northeast Wisdom titled Beatrice Bruteau Archive to Reside at Emory University published October 27, 2016 articulated the unexpectedly complicated yet highly rewarding process of procuring Beatrice’s works for the preservation of her legacy. Since her ideas have once more gained traction through the immeasurable inspirations of luminaries as Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault and Sr. Ilia Delio, it may once again be of some value (no matter how limited) in calling attention to how priceless this collection is. As her most immediate disciple and unofficial caretaker over the last year of her life, I absorbed a great deal from Beatrice about the unadulterated power of intentionally channeled presence. Our lineage-transmission process was anchored in a non-hierarchal indwelling of radically subjective love. It was one in which I was instructed to unbind discursive reason and an over-reliance on cognition, in order to make the dynamic boundary crossing over into who she was and what she experienced. This quantum leap into the beginnings of an “I-I” relationship were only first made possible by Beatrice acting

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Where Are All the Young People?

Where are all the young people? This is a question that I have often heard asked among participants at their first Wisdom School. Mostly those who have been pursuing Wisdom for a longer time stop asking the question because they have become so used to seeing the sea of gray-haired folks who usually attend Wisdom events. So, where are all the young people…? While I don’t necessarily have a definitive answer to the question, I do have a recent experience that I’d like to share that may shed some light on the question. The event was my son’s wedding at which I was asked to officiate. I was just coming off my Mary Magdalene and Conscious Love Wisdom School, so for weeks I had been deeply considering the nature and dynamism of love and its central place in an awakened life. The question that confronted me as I approached the wedding was whether I would simply recycle a more traditional and conventional ceremony or take the risk of enacting a Wisdom ritual that attempted to take into account the deeper dimensions of love. While it would be one thing to present this Wisdom liturgy at a Wisdom School, I wondered

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How Do We Stand? Stabilitas and Fidelity, Here, Now, and Glastonbury Abbey

How do we stand in ourselves in these times? What do we draw from? What do we have to give? What is our responsibility as humans, and to what? Twenty-five gathered recently at Glastonbury Abbey, where, as Cynthia says, "in a weekend on the Benedictine virtue of stabilitas we wove together Benedict and Teilhard, considering the meaning of this ancient value in our own world plunged onto instability on all fronts." We traced the presence, and absence, of the ancient and practiced stabiltas loci (stability of place) and stabilitas cordis (stability of heart) of the Benedictine tradition through our individual lives and lived experience to our common cultural experience in these chaotic and fragmented times. Drawing connections between stabiltas and Teilhard de Chardin's fidelity––which he defines as the force within that communicates with the life that faith consecrates–– a sense of aliveness came into the room. Through this deep dive, together with Teilhard's observation of evolutionary complexification, emerging consciousness and convergence, moving towards the Omega point, I felt the growing awareness of an already embedded body of experience rising to meet my deepest questions these days. A felt sense of the potent healing and the inevitable alchemy generated through a

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The Offering of Emptiness

As members of the Wisdom community and the Glastonbury Abbey community prepare to meet with Cynthia Bourgeault for a weekend retreat entitled, "Stabilitas: That Forgotten Virtue," Marcelle Martin shares about prayer and silent retreat. Cynthia and Marcelle will join forces with Paulette Meier for a Quaker meets Wisdom retreat at Pendle Hill in 2019. Marcelle writes: Perhaps the easiest prayer is the prayer of gratitude. It is often an undercurrent of my life, rising up at moments throughout my daily activities. In the evening, when I take time to review my day, I notice that blessings come as frequently as every breath I take, and I give thanks. It is nearly as easy to pray for what I want. In childhood I began the habit of silently, inwardly, expressing my needs and desires to God, including my desire for the well-being of my family members. Later in life, as I grew in faith, I began to accompany these kinds of prayers with an acknowledgment that the divine plan is beyond my ability to completely understand and might not include the particular thing or event I desired. “If it be your will” has become an amendment to the prayer of asking. Gradually it

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Change is Afoot

Change is always happening, but sometimes its unfurling patterns become particularly noticed. That would seem to be true of this moment. There are two changes of which I am a part that I would like to share. The first change has to do with the work of the Northeast Wisdom Board of Directors. While we are not abdicating our responsibilities as a board, in response to Cynthia’s desires, we have evolved into a Wisdom Council with additional charges and callings. Here is how I expressed it to those assembled at the Ingathering in Stonington in early June: As the sponsoring organization of this mostly Annual Ingathering, we welcome you. While we’ve committed ourselves to utilizing the time to meet together as a Board, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time with and among you. Just a word of who and what we are. Along with Cynthia, we are six—Guthrie, Laura, Marcella, Mary Ellen, Matthew, and myself. Formed originally as a board of directors, we now function more as a Wisdom Council around Cynthia. The term “think tank” may not be just right, but it also may not be too far afield. Being Northeast Wisdom, we are both particular and very local.

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Whur Are We Going?

Tucked away in the charming lobster fishing town of Stonington, Maine, a group of about 100 students gathered this past week for this year’s Wisdom Ingathering, exploring together with Cynthia Gurdjieff’s five Obligolnian Strivings in the mornings, and the 8 conversation-starter points that Cynthia recently published in a blog (“Whur We Come From”) on the key components of what comprises our Wisdom “lineage” during the afternoon sessions. Sprinkled throughout our time together was the usual rhythm of teaching, conscious work, and prayer that marks all of our Wisdom work… but this particular gathering carried a unique energetic signature that felt decidedly different. As all mothers can attest to, the signs of a growth spurt are usually evident in the preceding days in an angsty, unusually sensitive child. Suddenly they’re waking up at night, tossing from the discomfort of physical change that is often achy… but lack the self-awareness to be able to name what it is that they’re sensing. I’ve been living this recently with my five-year-old son Rowan. For three nights in a row he woke up, stumbling into my room, restless and uncomfortable… half asleep and unable to communicate clearly except for a moaning jumble of half-words of

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Christophany and the Holy Trinity

An earlier version of this article first appeared at Contemplative Journal Happy Feast of the Holy Trinity, Wisdom Community! Today is the day the Christian calendar dedicates to the Dance of Life, God as Lover, Beloved, and Love Overflowing—the divine dynamism unfolding creation as the disclosure of the Heart of God. As we contemplate this mystery, I’d like to share with you some thoughts inspired by a teacher our Wisdom lineage claims: the late Raimon Panikkar, easily one of the most significant Christian thinkers of the past century. Born in 1918 to a Spanish, Roman Catholic mother and an Indian, Hindu father, interreligious dialogue was in Panikkar's DNA. In 1946 he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, and in 1954 made his way to India to explore more deeply his Hindu roots. Years later, he would joke “I left Europe as a Christian; in India, I discovered I was a Hindu; and I returned as a Buddhist—without ever having ceased to be a Christian.” That gives you a sense of his expansive spirit. Panikkar coined for us the word “christophany.” Like “theophany”—a manifestation of God (theos)—christophany literally means “a manifestation of Christ.” Panikkar uplifted christophany as an alternative to

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Come Holy Spirit! The Pentecostal Fire

Dear Wisdom Community, I was asked by our own dear Laura Ruth if I’d share my Pentecost sermon from St. Gregory’s in Woodstock with our community here. Of course! I’m copying the text below; you can also listen to an audio recording here, if you’d prefer that. And here are the Scripture readings for the day. If you’d like to explore a bit more about the roots of Pentecost in Judaism, as well as my own reflection on this particular feast day’s relationship to our contemporary interspiritual movement, check out my article Pentecostal Fire, which first appeared over at Contemplative Journal. Come Holy Spirit, set our hearts on fire, Matthew I speak to you in the Name of the Holy Spirit, the holy Breath of God who breathes in all things, giving life, shaping justice, and calling us all into the fullness of love. Amen. Happy Pentecost, Church! Happy birthday, Church. Happy Feast of the Holy Spirit. Today is the day when the disciples of Jesus—that’s us—when the disciples of Jesus, scared and waiting and in prayer, keeping vigil in the Upper Room, bereaved of their Jesus, today is the day when they are charged with the Holy Spirit, set

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Holding the Post: Leadership Skills for Wisdom Practice Circles

What Cynthia has initiated is nothing short of remarkable. By crisscrossing this continent (as well as planting seeds all over the world) in a couple of short decades Cynthia has built the foundation of an emergent Wisdom community. But where do we go from here and how might we assist in this process…? My sense is that at this juncture in time the propagation of Wisdom may best be spread by the further proliferation of Wisdom Practice Circles. These “at home” groups give participants the opportunity to share and deepen Wisdom practice. For some this affords the opportunity to put a toe in the waters of Wisdom in order to see if a Wisdom School might be the next step. For others who have had the experience of attending a Wisdom School, a Wisdom Practice Circle offers a chance to solidify, stabilize, and integrate the learnings that have taken place. But besides how Wisdom Practice Circles might serve our individual development, they also serve to promote community. They become the gathering lights around which Wisdom students can be drawn and nurtured. Thus, community by community, we are gradually establishing Wisdom outposts that dot the landscape. And these Practices Circles are

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