What is a Wisdom School?
Wisdom Schools have two purposes. The first is to make available to Christians the breadth and depth of their own Christian heritage, paying particular attention to new resources and insights that come to us from the Near East and our own Western mystical tradition. Our goal has been to recover the true catholicity of the Christian tradition by returning to our own wellsprings.
The wider tradition is unanimous, however, in its assertion that the deeper Christianity cannot be known by the mind alone; it requires a transformation of the entire being. That is our second…and in fact, primary…purpose. From time immemorial there have been wisdom schools to raise human consciousness and transform society, and we work with the core practices that sustain the transformation of consciousness: meditation, contemplative prayer, lectio divina, the language of sacred gesture, and the daily practices of mindfulness, inner observation and surrender.
Introductory Wisdom School provides a pioneering opportunity for experienced meditators to begin to allow the transformation of consciousness inevitably set in motion by this practice to open the gateways to a wider and deeper understanding of the Christian Wisdom tradition. Each day will include teaching sessions, periods of meditation, mindful work, sharing, discussions, and simple contemplative liturgy.
Advanced Wisdom Schools are for those students who have completed an introductory Wisdom School. They are free to pick and choose among a variety of “special topics” advanced wisdom schools and wisdom retreats that are offered around and about a growing worldwide wisdom school network. It is expected that ordinarily the next step in the learning sequence will be The Divine Exchange Wisdom School, which completes the conceptual foundation for all further Wisdom work.
The Wisdom Leadership School, offered periodically as the need dictates, is a two-session training program opened to seasoned Wisdom students seeking to become more confident teachers and facilitators of Wisdom Work. It is expected that prospective students will have participated in a number of advanced wisdom schools and will also be actively involved in facilitating a local contemplative practice circle or Wisdom reading group before applying to the Wisdom Leadership school.
Wisdom Retreats are intended to deepen meditation practice and to offer participants an immersion in the profound transformational energy of the Christian liturgical year, particularly around its high points in Holy Week, Advent, Ascension-to-Pentecost, and All Saints. These retreats are open to all without prerequisites.
Practice Circles are smaller, ongoing, and typically member-led groups that form locally to deepen spiritual practice and to share teaching and community. There are also quarterly regional circles that gather at Hallelujah Farm under the leadership of Bill Redfield and/or Cynthia Bourgeault. These are open to all on a first come, first served basis.
THE WIDER PICTURE
Wisdom Northeast is a microcosm within a larger Wisdom macrocosm. Beyond the geographical boundaries of our region, Wisdom schools are happening all over North America — and all over the world — at a variety of levels and on a variety of topics. Below you’ll find a quick summary of Wisdom schools and Wisdom retreats with Cynthia Bourgeault for 2016 beyond our immediate region. For a complete listing of all Cynthia Bourgeault events, go to www.contemplative.org/events
2016/2017 (hold these dates, more information to follow)
- 9/19-9/24, Mesachie Lake, BC, Canada “The Mystical and Visionary Thinking of Teilhard de Chardin”*
- 10/16-10/21, Glastonbury Abbey, Hingham, MA “Teilhard de Chardin: Living in an Unfinished Universe”*
- 1/7-1/12, Tuscon, AZ, “Teilhard-Living in an Unfinished Universe”*
* Advanced Wisdom School; requires prior completion of an Introductory Wisdom School
** Leadership Training School; by application only