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“The Secret Embrace” with Cynthia Bourgeault: Join a Spirituality and Practice Course—Beginning Now

What Matters

Only the Divine Matters,
And because the Divine Matters,
Everything Matters.
 

Join us, and Spirituality & Practice, for an online retreat with Cynthia Bourgeault, a crystallization of her work with Father Thomas Keating’s final gift to the world—a small collection of poems created literally in the last year of his life. These words are offered out of his own experience in what Cynthia names as “the last stage of Thomas’s own spiritual journey as he emerged fully into what he liked to call ‘unity consciousness.'”

In the first session email yesterday, Cynthia articulates three reasons why this collection is significant: for what he is giving us to see, through both his knowing “belonging,” “suffused in this oneness;” and the cost, what was taken, when he entered into the dark night of a “wilderness journey.” In regard to the importance of the poems for their relevance to us today, Cynthia speaks to how they illuminate the path Fr Thomas Keating lived as he walked with the transformative fire—words that can accompany us as we walk into and through the upheaval, unrest ...

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Representing Mecca: The “Four Ideals” Exercise, Part VI, C

Sharing from my notes on Tuesday morning during the Imaginal Wisdom School at Valle Crucis in North Carolina, Cynthia offered an inner task for the day:

 

In a place outdoors and completely alone, take off your mask and draw ten precious conscious breaths of air. Taking in that clear fresh air, standing in our fractured biosphere where we have over sanitized and over protected, engage through your breath—homeopathically—the immune system of our collective body and earth, and on the outbreath offer your own precious gift of breath back to the world.

This morning, Cynthia offered a live transmission of the first part of the “Four Ideals” exercise in morning prayer; and you will find a taste of what she shared there in these pages of the “Four Ideals” commentaries.

This is the third post on the “Four Ideals”—the last of six exercises Cynthia offered as “Pandemic Homework” to strengthen and stabilize our being in service to these times—and part a series of posts which began in March 2020. We suggest you begin the “Four Ideals” with the first and second of these Part VI posts, which you will ...

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Four Persons, Not Four Principles:
The “Four Ideals” Exercise, Part VI, B

We recommend beginning your reading about the Four Ideals with Cynthia’s post “Preliminary Remarks: The ‘Four Ideals’ Exercise, Part VI, A” found just before this one on the home page. In it she introduces elements of the exercise, and offers guidance for us to find our own way into the actual practice of them. It is not necessary for you to be familiar with the Pandemic Homework, this series of blog posts and the Gurdjieff exercises, in order to receive the taste and fragrance of them through these commentaries. There is much to ponder here and you will find more practical information at the bottom of this post.

Yesterday, at a retreat happening in North Carolina and online, Cynthia spoke about the Imaginal World and how these exercises help us to grow and stabilize our ‘beings’ in order to gather and hold the grounded presence required to experience, and then offer to this world, a glimpse of connection with a new way of being. Beautiful work, that is challenging and so needed for our world. The Four Ideals is the last exercise in a set of six, and the most complex. Check out the entire ...

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Preliminary Remarks: The “Four Ideals” Exercise, Part VI, A

Cynthia’s opening remarks at her first on the ground retreat in the United States since the issuance of the pandemic stay at home guidelines, took place last Sunday, August 17 2020, in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. She referred to the work of individuals and small groups, across the country and world-wide, who are taking up these Gurdjieff exercises, emphasizing that she felt the embodied heft of their contribution, and the gift of these practices to bear the fruits of the spirit. Cynthia encourages each of us to take our own steps into these exercises gently—and seriously—listening within for the preparation and timing that serves us. More specifics follow below!

The Four Ideals is the last exercise in the Pandemic Homework series; links to Cynthia’s commentaries on the other exercises and to the book can be found at the end of this post. We welcome your voice in the comments section below. Now, let’s hear what she has to say as she introduces the Four Ideals exercise:

The Four Ideals Exercise is complex and demanding. It will draw on all the practices you’ve been working with in the exercises to date, then up the ante still another ...

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Here and Now: You, Me and Northeast Wisdom

Yesterday, my feet hit the dirt road that leads to the trail to White Rocks and Hunger Mountain as the dogs tumbled out and my sister rose from the stone wall which was our meeting point. The morning cool, clear; pierced by the deep blues and greens of the season. There are still certain things we can count on. August still rolls around. It has been particularly hot already, but that which signifies August is still comforting—the suddenly cooler nights, the trees crowned with a mature green; material, substantial. Solid and dark.

The orientation of the light has changed. I imagine it is part of the breathing rhythm of the physical material earth with light—the outside air, the space around the bodies of things, is saturated with a light that both beats down and subtlety wanes. As if the earth is drawing the light to itself, drinking it in. In the Spring of the year it is as if it pours up and out as nature awakens, light radiating from the leaves themselves as they utter forth, light finding form in new leaves and tree flowers, shining from within the substance of earth as she populates herself with new ...

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Northeast Wisdom Welcomes Bob Sabath: Calling the Helpers

What follows is a recent portrait of Bob Sabath, offered through his invitation to us to practice with him, and through sharing the heart of his experience in a recent practice circle. In September of 2019, Bob joined the Wisdom Council. He was already serving as a much beloved consultant to the Council’s questions about how to update the website. This discussion centers around who are we and who do we serve? What do we bring to the Wisdom community and how can the website best reflect that? Beyond that, Bob brings to the Council his deep insight and experience, born from his earnest work with the Fourth Way of G.I. Gurdjieff, intentional community and spiritual practice for all of his adult life.

Only a few months after he joined the Wisdom Council, Bob learned he was “taking a new class, from Dr. Burkitt, of Burkitt’s Lymphoma.” What follows are notes from his path, and an invitation to practice that Bob offered to the Wisdom community as he was facing the aftermath of treatment, at the end of May 2020. In his words:

June 1, 2020

This past Thursday, May 28, was the final ...

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Excerpt from The Alchemical Transformation of the Wisdom Passage:
Based on “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

“‘How strange Africa is,’ thought the boy. 

“He was sitting in a bar very much like the other bars he had seen along the narrow streets of Tangier. Some men were smoking from a gigantic pipe that they passed from one to the other. In just a few hours he had seen men walking hand in hand, women with their faces covered, and priests that climbed to the tops of towers and chanted—as everyone about him went to their knees and placed their foreheads on the ground. 

“‘A practice of infidels,’ he said to himself. As a child in church, he had always looked at the image of Saint Santiago Matamoros on his white horse, his sword unsheathed, and figures such as these kneeling at his feet. The boy felt ill and terribly alone. The infidels had an evil look about them. 

“Besides this, in the rush of his travels he had forgotten a detail, just one detail, which could keep him from his treasure for a long time: only Arabic was spoken in this country.” 

Like most people, Santiago is skeptical of people he doesn’t ...

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The Seeing Heart and the Tools of Wisdom:
Chapters VII, VIII & Epilogue of The Wisdom Way of Knowing

WRITTEN BY HEATHER RUCE & SUSAN LATIMER

Welcome to Chapters VII, VIII and the Epilogue, in our continuing series of posts focusing on Cynthia Bourgeault’s foundational work, The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart; where Wisdom postholders have shared, chapter by chapter, their experiences with this little book. You will find the links to previous posts in this series at the end of this post, along with a place to share your comments.

Heather Ruce opens with her comments about Chapter VII, while Susan Latimer closes this post with her summary of Chapter VIII and the Epilogue.

 

Chapter VII: Seeing with the Eye of the Heart, with Heather Ruce

Each morning we wake to find ourselves on a river upon which we have never been, we proceed in uncharted waters, and we do not know where we are headed. As Wisdom students we’ve learned that it is not so much about needing to know where we are going but rather knowing where to see from and how to find our way in unknown waters.

At this time, we are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, economic fragility ...

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The Luminous Gospels: An Online Retreat (6/9-11)

Dear Wisdom Community,

Interested in an introduction to (or a refresher on) the Gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene, and Philip?  If so, join us for a three-day online romp through these “Luminous Gospels”—next week!  We’ll be gathering twice a day at 10:00 and 2:00 EDT, Tuesday-Thursday, 6/9-11.  These three Wisdom Gospels came to light in the mid-20th century and give us new insight into the development of early Christianity, the metaphysics undergirding Jesus’ teaching, and the apostolic authority of Mary Magdalene.

We’ll begin by exploring Jesus as Master of Wisdom and Master of the Heart, and then unfold that vision Gospel by Gospel.  Used as essential texts within our Wisdom School community, these gospels offer a coherent and luminous map of the journey from timelessness into time, and finally into integration and conscious union–a journey that unfolds within what Jesus calls “the bridal chamber” of the human heart.

How does one become a “complete” or “fully” human being?  What is the “kingdom of God”?  How do we awaken the heart?  Come join us as we ask these questions, chant, pray, and learn ...

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Vertical Exchange:
“Web” Exercise, Commentaries Part V, F

In response to the growing awareness around the globe that we are in the midst of a time of profound planetary readjustment, Cynthia began to teach in what we are calling the Pandemic Homework Series. She says: This is a permanent and collective reset of our collective human conscience and will resolve itself only as a few more of us become willing and able to step up to the plate to live a different reality. On Pentecost, Cynthia invited us to the “Web” saying, “I wonder if our casually joined atmospheres could indeed “warm the earth” on this day of cosmic arising.” May it be so, as we move into our days with the tender ardor of this Pentecost’s fire burning in our hearts.

You will find links to the whole of the series and to the book from which the exercises are drawn, as well as an opportunity to share your comments and questions, at the end of this post. Coming soon is Cynthia’s windows on the “Four Ideals” exercises, and her Pentecostal message.

We welcome you now to the last of the “Web” exercise commentaries.

One final ...

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