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Center for Action and Contemplation

The Beatitudes: Weekly Summary

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Beatitudes

Summary: Sunday, April 16-Friday, April 21, 2017

This week guest writer and CAC faculty member Cynthia Bourgeault explored Jesus’ eight blessings known as the Beatitudes.

Only through a point of nothingness can we enter the larger mind. As long as we’re filled with ourselves, we can go no further. (Sunday)

Only when we have dealt directly with our animal instincts, and the pervasive sense of fear and scarcity that emerge out of our egoic operating system, are we truly able to inherit the earth rather than destroy it. (Monday)

Jesus promises that when the hunger arises within you to find your own deepest aliveness within God’s aliveness, it will be satisfied—in fact, the hunger itself is a sign that the bond is already in place. (Tuesday)

Mercy is not something God has so much as it’s something that God is. Exchange is the very nature of divine life; all things share in the divine life through participation in this dance of giving and receiving. (Wednesday)

When your heart becomes “single,” when it can live in perfect alignment with that resonant field of mutual yearning we called “the righteousness of God,” then you “see God.” (Thursday)

When the field of vision has been unified, the inner being comes to rest, and that inner peaceableness flows into the outer world as harmony and compassion. This is what we mean by contemplative engagement. (Friday)


Practice: Surrender into Love

Cynthia Bourgeault reflects on the power of Jesus’ spiritual practice—which is our power, too!

Jesus’ life is exemplified in Kabir Helminski’s quote, “Whoever makes all cares into a single care, the care for simply being present, will be relieved of all care by that Presence, which is the creative power.” [1]

With that realization, we penetrate right to the heart of the kenotic mystery, tingling in every cell of our body. Self-emptying is not about giving up things we want or rolling over and playing dead. It is about connecting with an energy of sustenance so powerful and vibrant as it flows through our being from the infinite that all else pales in comparison. It not only flows through our being; it is our being.

The core secret we are coming to understand is that the act of letting go, spiritually understood as a cosmic energy exchange, is the power by which Jesus could live and remain true to his path. It is the power through which he healed, the power through which he forgave, and the power through which he meets us now. It is not only his power, uniquely bestowed on him, as part of his prerogative as the only Son of God. That same power is hardwired into our own hearts and souls, and in that moment of complete surrender an explosion of presence goes off within us that is simultaneously an encounter with the wisdom master himself.

Life provides plenty of opportunities for this practice; in fact, sometimes it seems as if life is comprised of a “twenty-four/seven” surrender immersion! The problem is, most of the time we’re not aware of it and “fall asleep,” as it’s called in wisdom work: when we brace and tighten and get thrown back into that smaller self. We go unconscious automatically.

But if you stay alert and grounded in sensation and are willing to wake up as soon as you realized you’ve started bracing or clinging, then you can use all the adventures and misadventures life throws at you to strengthen and deepen your heart connection—and your Christ connection.

Gateway to Silence:
Create in me a pure heart, O God.

[1] Kabir Edmund Helminski, Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigee, 1992), 26.

Adapted from Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—A New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Shambhala: 2008), 181-182. 

For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—A New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Shambhala: 2008)
Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, and Richard Rohr, Returning to Essentials: Teaching an Alternative Orthodoxy (CAC: 2014), CD, MP3 download

Image credit: View from the Mount of Beatitudes, between Capernaum and Gennesaret, Israel.
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