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February 9, 2021 106 min
Cynthia Bourgeault is a modern-day mystic, Episcopal priest, and theologian. For thirty years she worked closely with Fr. Thomas Keating as a student, editor, and colleague and has taught and written extensively on Centering Prayer. She is a core faculty member at the Center for Action and Contemplation and founding director of an international network of Wisdom Schools. In addition to her work on Centering Prayer, she is the author of numerous other books on the Christian Mystical and Wisdom tradition, including The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind--A New Perspective on Christ and His Message, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity, and her most recent, Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm. Websites: cynthiabourgeault.org northeastwisdom.org wisdomwayofknowing.org Other Books: The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three: Discovering the Radical Truth at the Heart of Christianity Love is Stronger than Death: The Mystical Union of Two Souls Main points discussed in this interview: The Imaginal Realm is an objective reality belonging to the spectrums of consciousness within the Great Chain of Being which transcend, surround, and penetrate the denser realities. “Imaginal” does not mean “imaginary”. Heaven and Hell represent opposites on the spectrum of consciousness which runs from freedom and connectedness on one end to constriction and alienation on the other. Both are experienced here, too. Our important task is to become cosmic servants integrated into earthly reality. Our work done in this realm feeds and informs the subtler realms which then process it and pour it back into our realm so that all realms evolve as a single reality. The Kingdom of Heaven can be interpreted as seeing ourselves as wormholes that act as portals into the wholeness of the cosmic matrix. Encountering the Kingdom of God opens us up to the holistic nature of reality that informs and invites us to walk within the congruity of our individual will and the will of the Wholeness that seeks to become manifest. Developing discernment requires equanimity and open-heartedness grounded in humility so that the ego doesn’t take the lead by creating roles that toxify and stagnate the path towards love and understanding. Remaining teachable while being willing to risk self-exploration is essential to balanced development. Creation is God’s way of communicating Love that gives, receives, sees, and is seen. This relational field has as its telos the eternal generation of diversity held together and protected by Love. The great work is to fully show up in the laboratory of our lives and awaken into higher stages of consciousness. We courageously and graciously accept the presence of “tough grace” which comes to us packaged as apparent obstacles and even suffering. From the depth of humility and spiritual maturity, we learn how to appreciate pinnacle spiritual states without getting attached to them. Our emotional transactions have an energetic signature. We can learn how to “sniff the odor” of the energy in events, places, the dynamic between people, and even in concepts and ideas. This “sniffing” is an encounter with the Imaginal Realms. We are in the birth canal of the collective emergence into the integral but the labor is difficult due to divisions between the “structures of consciousness.” We need to honor and re-engage with the magical and the mythical, ritual, the spirit of repentance, a lifestyle of moderation, and heart-centered living in order to create the spaciousness needed for global metanoia. Jesus came to “line the anguish [of our human experience] with love.” The entire cosmos, from the dense to the subtle, is set up to experience burning restlessness—which becomes the driveshaft propelling the ...
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