Cynthia Bourgeault

Engaged and awake

When a person is poised in all three centers (mind, heart, and body), balanced and alertly there, a shift happens in consciousness. Rather than being trapped in our usual mind, with its well-formed rut tracks of issues and agendas and ways of thinking, we seem to come from a deeper, steadier, and quieter place. We are present, in the words of Wisdom tradition, fully occupying the now in which we find ourselves.

This state of presence is extraordinarily important to know and taste in oneself. For sacred tradition is emphatic in its insistence that real Wisdom can be given and received only in a state of presence, with all three centers of our being engaged and awake. Anything less is known in the tradition as "sleep" and results in an immediate loss of receptivity to higher meaning. To return to that favorite Wisdom metaphor, it is like the disciple Peter suddenly sinking beneath the surface of the waters.
~ Cynthia Bourgeault from THE WISDOM WAY OF KNOWING

A hope that can never be taken away

In the practice of conscious love you begin to discover...a hope that is related not to outcome but to a wellspring... a source of strength that wells up from deep within you independent of all outcomes... It is a hope that can never be taken away from you because it is love itself working in you, conferring the strength to stay present...
~ Cynthia Bourgeault, in LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH

In the contemplative journey

In the contemplative journey, as we swim down into those deeper waters toward the wellsprings of hope...the hidden spring of mercy deep within us is released in that touch and flows out from the center...In plumbing deeply the hidden rootedness of the whole where all things are held together in the Mercy, we are released from the grip of personal fear and set free to minister with skillful means and true compassion to a world desperately in need of reconnection.

~ from MYSTICAL HOPE: TRUSTING IN THE MERCY OF GOD by Cynthia Bourgeault

Our hope shifted away from outcome and back to source

The greatest reassurance--and I admit, frankly, surprise--came for me in our times of spiritual practice and in a Sunday morning Eucharist which palpably exploded with the presence of the risen Christ...While the courses of action that emerge from each one of us may differ, what was eminently clear to each of us was that this protective field of tenderness and responsive concern to our planetary anguish is alive and well, and that we can and MUST turn to it...daily, hourly, with our very best. In the best of Wisdom fashion, our hope shifted away from outcome and back to source.

~ Cynthia Bourgeault

Silence isn't an emptiness

It is becoming more and more clear to me that silence isn’t an emptiness. It isn’t so much an IT as a THOU. Let’s see if we can deepen our own life of prayer by moving beyond thinking that silence is an emptiness, a backdrop or a condition, into thinking and actually experiencing silence as a mode of relationship with the infinitely present Beloved.

~ Cynthia Bourgeault

We are knee-deep in a river, searching for water

"We are knee-deep in a river, searching for water," writes Kabir Helminski, a contemporary Wisdom teacher in the Sufi lineage, using a vivid image to capture the irony of our contemporary plight. The sacred road maps of wholeness still exist in the cosmos...But to read the clues it is first necessary to bring the heart and mind and body into balance, to awaken. Then the One can be known—not in a flash of mystical vision but in the clarity of unitive seeing.

~ Cynthia Bourgeault in THE WISDOM WAY OF KNOWING

I am the string in the concert of God's joy

As Jacob Boehme puts it, "I am a string in the concert of God’s joy."... We need to experience our own personal aliveness as part of that greater cosmic aliveness...When I become "a string in the concert of God’s joy," I am "sounded through" by the music, and in that sounding, in harmonic resonance with all the other instruments, is revealed both my irreplaceable uniqueness and my inescapable belonging.

~ from THE WISDOM WAY OF KNOWING by Cynthia Bourgeault

Presence is the straight and narrow gate

...real Wisdom can be given and received only in a state of presence...Presence is the straight and narrow gate through which one passes to Wisdom.

~ ~ from WISDOM WAY OF KNOWING by Cynthia Bourgeault

The first great contemplative experiment

Contemplative prayer reflects a long and noble lineage of Christians who have attempted to "put on the mind of Christ" ... through a radical transformation of consciousness that produces the Kingdom as its fruit. Applying Jesus' teaching that "a house divided against itself cannot stand," they have striven to heal their own divided and warring consciousnesses and bring their lives into an inner alignment through which it becomes possible to actually follow the teachings of Christ (which are in fact pitched to a level of consciousness higher than the egoic) and to live them into reality with integrity and grace. Ever since that first great contemplative "experiment" in the deserts of Egypt and Syria, the goal has been radical transformation of the human person in service of the Kingdom. It doesn't require an "introverted temperament"--only honesty, commitment, and a good sense of humor. From these three raw ingredients, great saints can be fashioned.

~ from CENTERING PRAYER AND INNER AWAKENING by Cynthia Bourgeault

It is the nature of love to flow

No separation between God and humans . . . a complete, mutual indwelling: I am in God, God is in you, you are in God, we are in each other. "I am the vine; you are the branches. Abide in me as I in you." . . . There is no separation between humans and God because of this mutual interabiding which expresses the indivisible reality of divine love. We flow into God--and Go into us--because it is the nature of love to flow. . . . The whole and the part live together in mutual, loving reciprocity, each belonging to the other and dependent on the other to show forth the fullness of love.

~ from THE WISDOM JESUS by Cynthia Bourgeault
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