Conversations of the Heart VST Summer School
Cynthia Bourgeault Wednesday 9-15 July 2007

We are finite, contingent, separate, dependent, creatures – this is all a legitimate experience of being human. But, we also have an experience of limitless divinity – “I” cannot be contained.

The two experiences are linked by letting go.

The Trinity is an emblem of Jesus’ experience of reality and an icon of our own experience of reality.

Three statements of Jesus capture his experience:

  1. Abba, Pater – Jesus had an intense sense of himself as the son. This was not exclusive. This feeling of son related to the experience of contingency which is absolutely necessary in this realm in order to do what we have to do in all realms.

tangere – to touch – contingency. We are touching something. We are in relationship. It is a necessary part of being human to experience the pole of contingency.

Father and Son are not substance; they are a relationship. Can’t be a father without having a child. Terms don’t designate stuff but experience of contingency.

  1. I and the Father are One – no separation.

Perichoresis extends to the whole of creation. The current of life. Father and Son are pure relation; the terms are correlative. Don’t get hung up on differences between persons. Grasp the relationship directly.

It is a mistake to separate out persons. Grasping that the persons are a co-relative relationship is the only thing that matters.

  1. It is good that I should go – he is not an “I” but the thou/beloved of an “I”. This requires letting go because I am one with the source in so far as I act as source making everything I receive flow again.

I am one with the Father, not as a noun but as a verb. This is not about attaining to a state of divinity, but that there is constant exchange and what the Father is is an act of bringing into being by letting go; this is a continuous respiratory process. There is no final stage/hierarchy. God is inter-abiding. We have that emblem of the microcosm in us. We become God as we act like God and we act like God as we release.

No act of kenosis is ever separate. Any act of kenosis immediately connects you to the Trinitarian Pleroma (fullness). In the act of letting go, you ener into the fullness of the dance. Everything is connected through kenosis.

Thursday 12 July 2007

We will educate the person to whatever we consider the person to be. In the west we have an atrophied view of the person.

Becoming more educated does not necessarily make you more civilized. So much education simply produces more successful competitors.

Education often just numbs the intuitive instinct for what it means to be human.

Many people go into contemplative practice with the erroneous belief that it will reduce stress and give them a little bit of silence.

The real contribution of contemplation is that it changes how you think, how you perceive life.

In the west what we have called our rational mind is in fact the egoic operating system. The egoic operating system is wired to perceive by differentiation, dividing the world into subject/object and inside/outside. Binary thinking is inherently competitive. We perceive ourselves as being divined by our uniqueness.

We can no longer afford to identify our personhood with the sense of self that emerges out of the egoic operating system.

The mystical traditions say we can up-grade our operating system to heart perception that perceives in a whole different way. The heart is a transrational faculty that allows us to orient and receive information from the field. It allows us to get our bearings.