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Center for Action and Contemplation

Course Description

A 14-week online course exploring the Christian Wisdom way of knowing and its relevance to our realities today. Cynthia Bourgeault blends teaching with contemplative practices to help students engage in their conscious work on an embodied level—aligning the mind, body, and heart.

Introductory Wisdom School will introduce students to the Christian Wisdom path and is designed to increase your capacity to know. Knowing in this tradition does not mean an increase in intellectual understanding but knowing more deeply, more intuitively, and with more of yourself.

Wisdom isn’t something you get from a guru or as a reward for performing certain actions. Wisdom is about inner work and transformation and is caught more than it is taught. This embodied form of knowing includes your intellect as well as an active awareness of your intuitive knowing. Students will learn exercises and practices to increase conscious awareness in their body and engage with this form of knowing. Cynthia Bourgeault offers an invitation to awaken to your yearning for a different kind of presence and to develop the skills, knowledge, and actions for our own transformation. This is the Wisdom way of knowing and growing.

Learning Objectives

  • Cultivate a Wisdom rhythm in your daily life through reflection and engagement with contemplative practices and teachings
  • Expand your awareness of the Christian Wisdom path and its relevance to our realities today
  • Develop a contemplative practice to engage and embody these teachings
  • Connect and learn with other spiritual seekers

“Through Cynthia’s teachings, I have a sincere and real interest in learning more about who Jesus really is.”

— Mary F.

Course Schedule

Below you will find the course schedule for all upcoming offerings. You can register or sign up to be notified of an upcoming course by clicking the buttons below.

Course Details

Introductory Wisdom School is a 14-week online course. Students should expect to invest 4–6 hours of work each week on course material, reading assignments, online discussions with other students, and time for personal reflection.

  • This course is taught in English.
  • There are no pre-requisites for this course.
  • Learn more about the technical requirements for taking this course.

Students will have access to course content for the duration of the course. Course content will be available four weeks after the course ends.

No prior experience with Cynthia’s teaching is required; however, some students may find it beneficial to have some familiarity with Cynthia’s books or talks. This course serves as the prerequisite to The Divine Exchange.

Financial Assistance

To apply for financial assistance, please complete the online Financial Assistance Form at least 1 week before registration is scheduled to close. Please do not register for the online course until your request for financial assistance has been processed.

This is a sample video from the course.

Course Overview

Each week students will explore a new topic of study through an introduction (including an inner task and chant for the week), teaching material, a contemplative practice, and student discussions. Students can progress through each week at their own pace.

This 14-week online course is designed so you can bring the teachings, contemplative practices, and conscious work into your own routine and deepen its impact on your life.


  • Week 1 — Welcome and Introduction to Wisdom School
    This week sets the stage for this Wisdom School with an overview of how you can implement the teachings and practices in your life through the course.
  • Week 2 — Three-Centered Awareness
    Cynthia presents the Moving Center, the Intellectual Center, and the Emotional Center, then how to integrate them. She ends with an introduction to Conscious Practical Work, a way to bring focus to the Moving Center, one we tend to neglect in Western Culture.
  • Week 3 — Introduction to The Gospel of Thomas and Logion 1
    This week entails a short history of the Gospel of Thomas and why it has a central place in this Wisdom School. It explores why this Gospel was important enough (along with others) to be hidden in an urn for later discovery and use.
  • Week 4 — The Great Benedictine Monasticism
    The Rule of Saint Benedict has been a template for inner transformation for centuries and this week goes through how and why that is so. The Divine Office and Lectio Divina are also part of this week’s lessons.
  • Week 5 — Embodiment Week
    A full week of the course is set aside to focus on embodiment because it is a key part of Wisdom Work. Being fully in our bodies can be challenging because society and culture may have encouraged us to lean away from our physicality.
  • Week 6 — Gospel of Thomas: Logion 2, plus Questions and Response
    Cynthia takes us through Logion 2 and how paradigms can fall away, sometime rapidly, leaving one in a free fall as a new paradigm takes shape. A paradigm shift often deepens our capacity of presence and the associated free fall can be an enlivening place.
  • Week 7 — Ora et Labora
    Cynthia goes deeper into Ora et Labora and the three quadrants she hasn’t covered in detail yet: pray together, work alone, and work together.  She concludes by talking about how balance among the four quadrants can help bring balance to life.
  • Week 8 — Gospel of Thomas: Logion 3, plus Questions and Response
    In looking at Logion 3 we find a great deal of what goes to the heart of Wisdom work: knowing from within. A discussion of discernment rooted in the Gurdjieff work plays a big role.
  • Week 9 — Wisdom Tradition as the Way of the Heart
    Cynthia leads students into the heart as an organ of spiritual perception. A powerful, vibrant field within each of us that is, as Cynthia says ” . . . your heart as holograph of divine heart.”
  • Week 10 — Gospel of Thomas: Logia 4, 5, and 6
    More Wisdom from the Gospel of Thomas through Logia 4, 5, and 6 to break us open in new ways. While all three have their own depth, Logion 6 has what can be seen as a life lesson that may change how you show up in the world.
  • Week 11 — Preparation for Eucharist, plus Questions and Response
    Cynthia previews what is in store for us in the Mass on the World by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. The final Question and Response covers how to form a container without identification, what inner awakening looks and feels like, and how to trust what is inside you.
  • Week 12 — The Heart as an Organ of Spiritual Perception and Seat of Nondual Personhood
    In what might be labeled “Part Two” of Week Nine, this teaching is on how to learn from our emotional ups and downs so the light from the heart is not dimmed, which allows seeing clearly.
  • Week 13 — Three Core Tenets of Jesus’ Path
    Jesus is presented as a Wisdom Master through his Three Core Tenets: kenosis, abundance, and singleness.
  • Week 14 — The Eucharistic Celebration
    Experience this Eucharist and join in the chants and other aspects of this celebration as you are called to. Cynthia weaves a final teaching into this service.
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