Friend of Silence's blog

Wisdom School 2016 with Cynthia Bourgeault and Deborah Longo: Audio Files

04-19-2016 | Friend of Silence

The Force of Attention by William Segal
Parabola, Volume 15:2, pp. 332-333

Attention is the quintessential medium to reveal man's dormant energies to himself. Whenever one witnesses the state of the body, the interplay of thought and feeling, there is an intimation, however slight of another current of energy. Through the simple act of attending, one initiates a new alignment of forces.

Maintenance of a conscious attention is not easy. The movement, the obligations of day-to-day existence, completely distract. With no base of operations no home in one's organism, the attention serves random thoughts, feelings, and appetites that conflict and tyrannize each other.

The Transmission of Wisdom

03-03-2016 | Friend of Silence

A sharing delivered by Cynthia Bourgeault on November 13, 2016 to a group of "Wisdom interns" preparing for the Wisdom School at the Kanuga Episcopal Conference Center in North Carolina.

Listen to this story from Kabir Helminki in Living Presence about the  transmission of wisdom:

A Sufi came to a remote village where he knew no one. After meeting some people he found that those of this village had an unusual hunger for spiritual knowledge. They invited him to share his knowledge at a gathering they would arrange. Although this Sufi was not yet fully confident that he could transmit spiritual knowledge, he accepted their invitation. Many people attended that gather and the Sufi found his audience to be extremely receptive to what he had to say, and most significantly, he found that he was able to express the teachings he had received with an eloquence he had never before experienced. He went to sleep that night feeling very pleased.

The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three: Audio Files for Wisdom School 2014 with Cynthia Bourgeault

11-24-2014 | Friend of Silence

This excerpt from the Saturday morning teaching left us all breathless. The Saturday teaching continued an exposition of the mystical insights of Jacob Boehme, that Love and Light emerge from striking the fiery ingredients of Desire, Agitation, and Anguish. Cynthia is also referencing the fourth "striving" mentioned by Gurdjieff in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson: "The striving from the beginning of their existence to pay for their arising and their individuality as quickly possible, in order afterwards to be free to lighten as much as possible the Sorrow of our Common Father."

The Zen of Kettlebells

08-19-2013 | Friend of Silence

No matter how many years I've attended, or how easily I slip into the familiar, beloved rhythms of the days, the gifts of pilgrimage are always new and surprising. Case in point:

Rick Wigton and I had talked a couple of times since the 2012 pilgrimage about kettlebell training, which is an important part of my life (when I'm not retreating, of course). He had recently purchased a kettlebell and a training video, and when he and Melissa arrived at pilgrimage, he asked me to help him with his technique--there were some things he wasn't understanding from the video, and both of them wanted to make sure he wasn't doing something that would end up injuring him.

I'm always very happy to teach (and prevent injury!) so on my next trip home, I loaded up about 125 pounds of kettlebells into the back seat of my longsuffering SUV and hauled them up the mountain. We cleared out the side patio of Stillpoint, laid down yoga mats, and got to work.

For Christ plays in ten thousand places

08-18-2013 | Friend of Silence

Peace Pilgrimage Reflections for August 18, 2013

Just one of the many wonderful things happening at this year's pilgrimage is the way the sessions help us draw so many connections between scripture, story, poetry, and memory. It is a rich tapestry we are weaving!

During the discussion of the resurrection story, Stefan recalled the beautiful lines from Gerard Manley Hopkins' "As kingfishers catch fire:"

... for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

That, in turn, reminded me of another poem, by American poet Virginia Hamilton Adair, which for me drew together so many of the day's themes and connections: playfulness, tears, calling, vision. It is one that I long ago committed to memory, so that I am never without its blessing. Enjoy!

Games with God
by Virginia Hamilton Adair

Gurdjieff for Christian Contemplatives: Audio Files for Wisdom School 2012

12-01-2012 | Friend of Silence

Incredible.  Simply incredible.  Click on read more to access the audio files for the Wisdom School. 

Poorer, Poorer. Smaller, Smaller. Slower, Slower.

02-25-2012 | Friend of Silence

"Be anything you want. Be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form. But at all costs avoid one thing: success." - Thomas Merton

As my extended family gathered around the Thanksgiving dinner table before the market crash in 2008, conversation with cousins flowed about friends making big money with technology start-ups: "more, more; faster, faster; bigger, bigger."

A hail of laughter greeted me when I quietly muttered that my ambition was, "poorer, poorer; slower, slower; smaller, smaller."

When Sojourners started in 1970, I was 23 years old. Seven young seminary students pooled $100 each and used an old typesetter that we rented for $25 a night above a noisy bar to print 20,000 copies of the first Post-American.

The Man Watching

02-14-2012 | Friend of Silence

By Rainer Maria Rilke

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared

Syndicate content