The Jesus teaching in a nutshell

Posted on

© Cynthia Bourgeault, June 2008 (excerpted from Chapter 8, “The Great Identity Theft,” of my book on Mary Magdalene, forthcoming from Shambhala Publications, July 22, 2010) As we set out to consider the teachings of Jesus as an integrated spiritual method, we are entering territory that is both familiar and unfamiliar. Most people growing up in the Western cultural stream will have had some exposure to these teachings (if only as ethical precepts), but the apparent familiarity of the subject matter can blind us to its radical strangeness and difficulty. Perhaps more than any other spiritual teacher, Jesus requires a real beginner’s mind, a willingness to unlearn what one already presumably knows and start with a completely clean slate. In …

See More

Third force-blind no more, no more

Posted on
cocreation-third-force-swirl

By Christie Walkuski I’m so grateful to have heard Cynthia Bourgeault at ESR’s Spirituality Gathering, and to get to observe her quiet, unobtrusive presence during the day, and later at a dinner with other students and workshop participants.  There’s not one bit of pretension about her, from her calm, one-of-the-crowd presence, to her meal of spaghetti and meatballs.  I admire this.  You can tell a lot about a person from their inter-personal interactions. Bourgeault speaks about things that I don’t hear many other voices in the Church or in the academy talking about (Richard Rohr is another).  There are others I have been reading in my theopoetics class that are also thinking imaginatively about theology in similar ways–John Caputo, our own Scott Holland to name a couple (and …

See More

Learning to Fish

Posted on
bourgeault-300x300

By Cynthia Bourgeault There’s an old saying, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a meal. If you teach him how to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” When most of us begin the journey with Centering Prayer, it’s like being given a fish — “a small vacation from yourself,” as Thomas Keating humorously puts it. It feels like a place you go to — “my place of quiet refreshment” — and you tank up consciously in the face of life’s inevitable tendency to draw you down. But as you really begin to allow the letting go to work in you, you discover that it becomes “a place you come from“: a quiet knack for living in …

See More

What is Practicing Resurrection?

Posted on
cocreation-hands-heart

In my Servant Leadership Class, we embrace a rule of life that includes practicing resurrection in our everyday lives. Each week, we share stories of how we paused and shifted to the intelligence of our hearts or how we moved, with courage, in the direction of deepest meaning and love. Here are some samples of our sharing: A man who volunteers at a local soup kitchen followed his intuition and set aside a decorated cake—instead of cutting it into pieces—as was the usual routine. Later a family came in with four young children and he delighted the family—and all present in the dining room—with this special cake.   A middle-aged woman noticed a teenager with crazy hair and colored shoes at …

See More

Seven Quick Questions (and answers) on Co-Creation 2014

Posted on

Why is the church hosting Co-Creation? The church (Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church) and The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro hold that we are all called to be God’s healing Presence in our world—we are all called to be servant leaders or co-creators of a new loving future where all are welcomed and all respected. Why are the speakers who are coming invited? All three speakers are brilliant and at the “cutting edge” of contemporary spirituality. They bring together the wisdom of our Christian faith tradition and also contemporary and very old spiritual practices that help us usher in the Kingdom of God. What is the hope and goal of Co-Creation? We hope to provide a sacred …

See More

Burnout the Lives of the Faithful

Posted on

By Cynthia Bourgeault Answering Questions at a Centering Prayer Retreat Burnout is an ego phenomenon.  At the root of burnout is the phenomenon Gerald May calls “spiritual narcissism,” which feeds on the fact that we don’t know ourselves very well. Very rarely can we give with purely unmixed motives.  People who burnout are usually responding to programs they don’t know they have.  There is a compulsive quality in some of our efforts to pour ourselves out, that compulsive quality, doing it out of lack and hoping secretly to be recognized, or to be safe, right, virtuous. We are blind to ourselves so we get tired. We need to be able to taste the ego-component in things and relax it. Just …

See More

The Mindfulness Miracle

Posted on

By Jon Wortmann The evolution of the human species is possible right now, if, and this is the most important “if,” for the next century, we decide to use our brains on purpose. You can evolve faster, chart jump nature, if you learn to use your frontal lobes more effectively. Your frontal lobes are the key to mindfulness, and mindfulness is all the rage these days. It should be. It is the art and science of living with intention and being where you are. It is the psychological reality of turning down unnecessary stress by only focusing on what matters in the moment. It is what fMRIs of the brains of meditating monks prove every human can do if we spend a …

See More

What is Co-Creation Anyway?

Posted on

By Harriette Knox How can we make a difference in the world? The answer is as simple – and as hard – as being open to God. “We are all called to be co-creators of a new, loving future where all are welcomed and all respected,” said Ruth Anderson, Director of The Servant Leadership School. The dictionary defines “co” as together, and “creation” as the act of making something. As a business term, co-creation is a strategy by which a company encourages active involvement from its customer. As a spiritual term, co-creation is the concept that we all act with God to create the current and future world. Susan Sherard, Assistant Rector, explained that, “Co-Creation has to do with our …

See More

You Can’t Manage Stress Unless You Do These 3 Things

Posted on

By Jon Wortmann from the Huffington Post At a recent talk I asked the audience to tell stories about how they had managed stress recently.   A good-looking man stood up. He said, “I have been unemployed. I have job interviews coming up, and I keep waking up in the morning feeling like my chest is going to explode.   “I looked up what was happening and realized I was having anxiety attacks. The next morning, as I felt the anxiety coming on, I imagined myself wind-surfing. I’m never happier than when I’m on the water, and I didn’t freak out. I truly felt calm. I’ve been using the technique ever since.”   The man’s story is the model of …

See More

How to Improve at Anything

Posted on

By Jon Wortmann from the Huffington Post When you realize how easy it is to improve your performance at anything you care about, you’re going to be as grumpy as I was.   Maybe you’ve embraced the mindfulness lifestyle and living in the moment is your goal. Maybe you want to be a better executive, play better golf, or beat your brother at the card game he always wins. Maybe you want to be a better parent or partner.   It can be done in minutes, naps, and bites, and we just didn’t know it. New research reported in the New York Times reveals that if you meditate for 12 minutes a day, your attention and working memory improves. These findings by Dr. …

See More