Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews, conversations with spiritually awakening people. We’ve done 580 or so of them now. And if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see them all organized in various ways. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. And there’s also a page which has our address and stuff, in case you just want to mail a donation, you don’t feel like working through PayPal. Speaking of previous episodes, my guest today is Cynthia Bourgeault. And Cynthia was on BatGap about three years ago. And I just listened to the conversation we had then, and I thought it was really substantive. And I think today we’re going to talk about very different stuff, at least different enough that you won’t hear any redundancy if you listen to both interviews sequentially. So welcome, Cynthia. Thanks for coming on again. Let me read a little bio of you, for those who may not be familiar with you. Cynthia Bourgeault is a modern-day mystic, Episcopal priest, and theologian. For 30 years, she worked closely with Father Thomas Keating as a student, editor, and colleague, and has taught and written extensively on Centering Prayer. And I also had the honor of interviewing Father Keating some years ago. And in fact, he really seemed to like the interview, because he made a transcript of it, the first chapter of the next book he wrote after that. So that was an honor. Cynthia is a core faculty member at the Center for Action and Contemplation, which is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and which also features Jim Finley and Father Richard Rohr. I’ve interviewed Jim, and I’ll be interviewing Richard at the end of March. And she is 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 of Jesus, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, and her most recent, Eye of the Heart, A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm. And she’ll have a page on BatGap where I will link to all those books. So this book is all about something called the imaginal realm. And what that is and what it does or the implications of it is actually very significant for our world, I believe. So that’s what we’re mainly going to be talking about today. But we’ll see where else the conversation goes. And some questions have come in which don’t relate directly to that, but we’ll try to get those too. So let me just start by asking, Cynthia, what is the imaginal realm?
Cynthia: Well, the imaginal realm is a name. And it’s in one way is a kind of unfortunate choice of name for the next realm out from ours or our closest sort of cosmic neighbor on the classic maps, often called the great chain of being.
Rick: OK, when you say out, what do you mean by out from ours?
Cynthia: Well, like the next planet out, if you want to keep it really simple. The next bandwidth out, the next realm, the next kind of order of reality beyond our own.
Rick: Yeah, but you’re not saying it’s far away like Mars or something. You’re rather saying that it’s sort of subtler or in another dimension, right? Exactly, exactly. The whole idea of trying to depict things that are actually subtler and more within, in terms of maps that hang them up like planets in the outer world, is a convention really that’s done to please or appease our mind. And when Jesus tried to tell people the kingdom of heaven is within you, they couldn’t get what he was talking about. That what they’re trying to say is that time and space are really only bona fide dimensions in this world, and even less and less so in this world. But generally speaking, the old classic roadmaps of the great chain of being, which are there in some form or another in most of the sacred traditions, speak of realms getting more and more subtle when they go in one direction, generally the direction approaching the complete divine incandescence. And more and more coarse and fiery and formal and dualistic and hard-edged and cold, the farther out they get. So that’s what gives us the map that looks like a solar system. But what we’re really talking about is different dimensions of reality that coexist and interpenetrate another.
Rick: Right. So when we say subtle, we just mean that it’s right here, but it’s more refined, more, we could say, fundamental, more causative, more subtle. And the senses don’t necessarily perceive the full range of subtlety that exists in the universe or in the world or in our immediate circumstances. We just sort of get a little sliver of the full range, much like you might see the waves on the ocean, but that doesn’t mean you’re seeing the full depth of the ocean.
Cynthia: Exactly. And one of the things that’s also an operational hazard when you start to try and help people visualize it from that dimension is that they begin to think it’s a little too easy to then equate it with something purely subjective inside.
Rick: Yeah, especially if you use the word “imaginal.” Yeah, like my little inner life or my little inner world or my little imagination. And what the traditions have emphatically existed is that these realms are objectively real. Yeah. And that in each of our individual personhoods, we still participate in and partake of that same objective reality. So the twist nowadays that was really sort of accentuated by Carl Jung and the Jungians to look in it as a map of your own personal psychic being really far too much subjectifies it and individualize it. It’s the mistake in the other direction. It’s subtle, it’s pointless, and it’s also coextensive with everything in the whole universe and objectively real.
Rick: What do you mean by pointless? Well, I mean that you can’t pin it down to time and space. It doesn’t exist in that mode of retrieval.
Rick: So if we can take an example, for instance, there’s a lot of talk in various traditions of angels and other such subtle beings. And some people have speculated that they might be aliens that came and visited the shepherds or something like that. But what we might be suggesting here is that those were subtle beings, not ordinarily open to our direct perception, that the shepherds, talking about the birth of Jesus event, happened to be able to see at that time. Because somehow or other, their vision was open to a subtler realm, at least temporarily. Would that fit with your understanding of what we’re talking about?
Cynthia: Yeah, I would say that that fits very well. I mean, in the Christian tradition, the kind of shaggy remains that we call heaven and hell, very kind of vestigial and bastardized remainder of what was actually a capacity to play a much more farther range instrument. We know ourself that what you might call heaven states and hell states are already in us. You know that when you get in a certain kind of angry, obsessive, compulsive, what the Buddhists would say when you’re in the grip of the bardo of craving, you’re in hell. It’s a cycle. And when you’re in those light and spacious states where you can let be and let go, and things flow naturally into other things without fighting, you’re in a state that more closely appropriates what we call heaven. So there’s a psychological analog in each one of us for these objective states. And so you don’t have to think that heaven is a place up in the sky and hell is a place deep down in the ground. [LAUGHTER] You know, fiery pits. But nor are they just, once again, confined inside my psyche. They’re not just metaphors for my private states. It’s rather that when we enter these states, we participate. We enter bandwidths of conscious reality that are actually empirically, objectively true and universal. And how we move within them and whether we feed them or whether we don’t feed them says a lot about how reality plays out on the planet. I have no doubt that angels were actually seen above the manger in Bethlehem that night because the nature of these realms is that this more subtle realm also has more causal power. So that out of it, what you might call phenomena, from angels to crop circles to messiahs to resurrections from the dead, can actually happen in this world. They can take form. And they’re, again, objective. And so I wouldn’t like to say that the shepherds of the king all sort of shuffled off to Bethlehem and just had nice kind of meditation experiences as they were spearing higher states. I think that they picked up something that objectively happened in the outer realm, but its roots were in a deeper causality in the inner.
Rick: Yeah, that’s great. I think just– well, a couple of points here. One is several shepherds saw the angels. And so I would suggest that here now in the 20th century, whatever this is– 21st? What century are we in? You could collect– >> [INAUDIBLE] >> The governments. >> Here now you could collect a group of people– and I’ve interviewed many, actually– who have subtle perception, who actually do see these things, sometimes pretty much all the time, sometimes just occasionally. And you could get them to get– this would be an interesting experiment. You get them together in the same room and say, OK, what do you see? And test them in such a way to see if there’s a concordance or an agreement among them without letting them tip each other off. And theoretically, it should be possible to see certain subtle phenomenon that are actually there in the room for he who has eyes to see them.
Cynthia: Yeah, it could be. I had a funny little experience of that about– oh, jeez, now it must be 20 years ago almost– when Father Theophane died, the wonderful, rascally, half-Buddhist monk of Snowmass. He looked like Rasputin and acted like Jesus, and everybody loved him. But when he died, they took him through the typical Trappist regalia. They laid him out on a pine board for all to see in the state and celebrated a mass at the monastery around him and sat and vigil. And no kidding, half of the crowd in the room came out with tears in their eyes, saying, this is so sad. Poor Theophane is no longer with us. He used to be so alive, and now he’s so dead. The other half said, that jokester, he was just playing with us all the time. And they actually felt his presence, his laughter, his warmth, his kind of teasing way that you hold it. And so that there were two radically different experiences depending really on the state of the perceiver. And I would say that within that group that perceived him, Jacob Burma, the great 17th century mystic, would say, well, what they did was they perceived him within the tincture. In other words, they perceived within the spirit of his being, the vital energy that was his when he was alive was still there. And so when you try and say, well, did they all see whiskers and had he had a shave before he appeared, you’re going to get different answers. Because by the time you get it that far out into objective reality, it’s lost its shape like a jet con trail. But if you can keep it close to actually– what they were all experiencing in their own way, in their own being, was living energy presence with them and the intention and the will. And that, I think, if you had a machine that could measure it subtly enough, would pick up an objective unity, unanimity amongst the perceivers.
Rick: And what we’re talking about here is not that unusual. I mean, we know that dogs and bats and all kinds of birds and all kinds of animals can perceive very differently from us and can perceive things that we can’t perceive. And so all we’re suggesting is that among human beings, there are varieties of ability to perceive subtler levels or subtler states, and that it’s not unusual that some people can perceive– even among common things like music, some people have perfect pitch, some people can’t carry a tune, some people have really good eyesight, some not so much. And so all we’re saying here is that some human beings have developed or somehow been born with the aptitude to tune in to subtler levels. I’ve talked to a lot of people who, as children, saw angels or auras and things like that and then lost the ability later on. And then maybe regained the ability. So it’s just an ability that we could actually develop.
Cynthia: It’s an ability and it can be developed, but we have to get off on a whole new purpose. We have to get to the next step. Because what we’ve tended to do in the past is to develop them as paranormal phenomena and get all excited by them and say that the more subtle people– oh, I want to have this kind of subtle experience so I can have subtle experiences so I can see more. Well, it’s like, duh, no brainer. These guys are handing you a bucket of water from another realm because there’s a fire on Earth and you’re supposed to stop looking at the bucket and pour it on the fire. And if we have these subtle perceptions, it’s not to make us spiritual hotshots. It’s so that we can do the work that the planet really is set up to do at the scale it’s at that the world is due, which is to transfer and receive and give and mediate energy, which means assistance.
Rick: Yeah, very good point. I mean, I’ve heard people say, I really want to hurry up and have a spiritual awakening so I can quit my day job and become a spiritual teacher. That’s kind of the wrong motivation, and I think the same would apply to this.
Cynthia: Yeah, definitely. We’re all in it for service together, and a person that can render good service, even if they never see an angel floating overhead, but is much more of a cosmic servant than one that sets up a shingle saying spiritual guru because you have paranormal experience.
Rick: Yeah, and I’ve known people who claim to have a lot of subtle experience, and maybe they did, and yet there was still a lot of, you could say impurity, and there’s a section in your book which relates to this, and a lot of ego. And so it became a badge of honor and kind of went to their heads, and they were using it to impress their friends, and who knows where they are today? They could be totally off the deep end.
Cynthia: Exactly, I was having a conversation with a friend merely yesterday who entered a line of religious work because the teacher on the first day just knocked him off his socks with recreating a theoric experience that was so subtle and so vivid that his whole former Catholic soul just broke open and ached for it. But in 10 years of having given everything up to follow this teacher, it became increasingly clear that the guy was a fanatical narcissist, and he was eating his students alive, and they were serving him like house slaves. And so when the capacities are not grounded in humility, they’re gonna result in violent misuse, which I think is one of the reasons which kind of mainstream places like the churches have tended to tell people don’t go there. It’s not because they’re not real. It’s because if you can’t bring enough of an anchor in yourself and your basic ethical training, you’re gonna do harm, and you’re gonna have harm done to you.
Rick: Yeah, so just to put a nail on this point, what we’re saying here is that the ability to perceive some subtler things, some tip to stick a toe in the imaginal realm and perceive things that are there does not necessarily imply that you are a holistically developed human being. You could still be a jerk. And so real spiritual development requires holistic, balanced, multifaceted development.
Rick: Okay, good. Now, you made a very important point, which is that the, I’ll let you rephrase it, but that the subtle realms, the imaginal realms, are kind of the reservoir from which the gross or more concrete realms arise or emerge, and that, you haven’t quite said it yet here, but you said it in your book, that we can serve as conduits of a sort between the subtle and the gross, and help to infuse more qualities of the subtle into the gross if we develop our capacity to do so.
Cynthia: Yeah, exactly, exactly. And I want to say from the outset that it works in two directions, that one of the great shortcomings of so much of what you might call this first axial spirituality is it doesn’t have a proper appreciation for the realm that our planetary bandwidth, our Earth plays in terms of, it’s very coarseness and denseness, all these things that are often seen as problems, illusions to be pierced through or traps to be escaped. There’s actually a powerful role there in allowing anything to manifest and ultimately everything to manifest. So I’m not gonna go into that at this point now, but just to say that we have our part to play, we’re not just on the receiving end. And that’s what makes the whole thing work as a real exchange of love and not merely a sort of nursing at the divine subtle teat. But yes, that from the subtler realms do come into our world qualities that we can’t sustain in and of ourself because they get cross purposes with our basic survivalist instincts. Altruism, compassion, generosity, God forbid, love your neighbor as yourself, beauty, gentle, order, peace, coherence. These are virtues which are desperately needed for our planet to not run on squeaky wheels, but because they’re so beyond what we can do when we’re just in survivalist mode, that we really need the infusion of spiritual, not only teaching, but spiritual presence to feed us and to nurture us and to study us in the good so that we can really do what we must do here on that end, which is to receive from above the love and the help which is coming towards us and to pass it on and transplant it out into the planet in a way that it can actually nurture.
Rick: Yeah, so I think what you’re saying there is that even if a person feels that they are unhappy and empty and lacking energy and lacking joie de vivre and life is just flat and dead, they’re actually sitting on a gold mine of wonderful positive qualities of bliss and energy and creativity and happiness and all that, and it’s just a matter of somehow tapping into that and then those can begin to flow into and through your life.
Cynthia: Yeah, I think that’s fair to say. I mean, that whether you want to put it as a gold mine that already exists in you or a stream that surrounds you and is infinitely accessible, and help flows to us of its own volition. It doesn’t help the cosmos for a human being to just fall apart and die and give up. Every life has already been built. You know. The fact that we’re here at all is a consecration and we’re sacred simply by the fact of being born because we’ve got this chance to be a conscious pixel in form. And everything that ever brought anything into existence wants this little pixel to flourish. But we fight that so hard in ourself. In a way, I think it’s not because we’re selfish in the classic way that it’s understood, but because we’re so frightened, we feel so vulnerable, we feel so afraid, and we only know this small handbag of tricks to protect ourselves, but we feel like if we stop doing them, we’re surely gonna be squashed. And the kind of funny irony is that the help that we need is right there on the other side of giving up the tricks.
Rick: I like what you said a second ago, which is that it’s not in you in the sense of like somewhere in your pineal gland or something like that, but it’s a field and you as a sender receiver, transmitter receiver can tap into that field, which is much bigger than you. So when Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is within you, he didn’t mean it’s like somewhere in your brain or your heart, he meant it sort of, there’s some biblical verse which you can give us, which is that it’s spread everywhere on earth or something like that. What, how’s that verse go?
Cynthia: It’s in the Gospel of Thomas, where you get a lot better teaching. He says in the Gospel of Thomas, the kingdom of heaven is within you and also outside you. And then he says, and yes, that it is spread out over all the earth. It flows from source and consider that each one of us might be a wormhole. We are an inside moving to outside and through us, anything that exists in the great cosmic subtle reservoir of goodness and virtue and beauty and hope can flow and flow out.
Rick: Yeah, so we relate to it in the way that a radio relates to the electromagnetic field. You wouldn’t say the music is not in the radio, but the music can come through the radio by virtue of its ability to tap into that field or pick up on that field.
Cynthia: Yeah, I think that’s really good.
Rick: Yeah, one thing that we’ve sort of touched upon and you elaborate much more in your book is that, this deeper field is much more sort of malleable and also causative. And if we can learn to function from there, then our intentions being aligned with that field and not just sort of selfish individual intentions manifest quite readily. Can you elaborate on that?
Cynthia: I guess the easiest way to go at it is to say that one of the kind of conventions that run our planet is linear causality. And the things that come earlier cause the things that come later. And so when we’re trying to figure out a course of action, we project and we calculate, we figure out alternatives and we wander through from this moment to this moment to this moment in time. Imaginal causality, which is how things work in the other realm, it doesn’t do that. It uses the faculty of seeing and it sees the whole picture at once. And when you tap into that, and it’s not really hard, it’s not something that’s hard to do. It’s just that you mostly don’t wanna do it because you can’t live what you see. But you can see very clearly, the Quakers talked about this. They talked about bringing everything into the light and the light wasn’t just this little Tinkerbell beam inside them that made everything good. The light was this searing coherent ray of imaginal causality that if you sat in the light and looked, you saw how the whole picture hung together. You saw the values, you saw the priorities, you saw the dead ends. And if you could stand to stay with what you were actually seeing, then you would basically save yourself a lot of painful dead ends. Because if you saw a course of action was out of the light, even if you tried to do it and gave it your best shot for five years or 50 years, if it’s out of the light, it’s out of the light. And you know that instantly when you let your heart see it. It’s not quite Calvin predestination, like everything was invented before we came because we do have some dance with it. But the fact is that we make things dreadfully painful for ourselves by persisting in this illusion that anything actually exists in linear causality and that earlier things cause later things and just trying to chug away, seeing what the options are. We have a capacity of seeing from conscience. And if we can see from conscience and act out what we see, we do the right thing. And it’s without conflict, it’s without pain. I mean, we may run into difficulty, but we don’t get ripped apart inside by inner uncertainty, by anguish, by, well, maybe this, by maybe that. And so the ones that are the great spiritual seekers that we put up on pedestals and call saints or avatars or whatever realized mastery in whatever tradition you’re in are the ones that have not fought that capacity in themselves, but have first of all, cultivated it. And there’s only one way to cultivate it, which is by obeying it. In other words, they’ve walked in the light. There’s no other way to cultivate it. If you see and then you act in the opposite direction, you’re gonna lose your power of seeing.
Rick: Yeah, good point. And when you say do the right thing, that doesn’t necessarily imply that your individual intellect has worked out all the details of the consequences that a particular action might have. It really means that you’ve sort of surrendered in a way, tuned into deeply that field that we’re talking about, which possesses a kind of omniscience, and a non-linearity, as you said. And so if we can really go with that flow, then things can tend to work out in ways that we couldn’t have kind of consciously calculated.
Cynthia: Exactly. And I’d like to say rather than omniscience, which can be a scary word if it sounds like power, I would say it has a moral coherence. Its objective nature is, believe it or not, compassionate. And so if we tap into it, it’s not like, well, you just can’t beat the big guy. It’s that there’s a field, it’s a way almost since, you know, there was that wonderful book by Malcolm Gladwell, so many of Malcolm Gladwell’s great books, but he had one called “Blink,” where he talked about how people that were deeply trained in their sport could look at a, you know, they could look at a statue, you know, and say, “That one’s a fraud.” And it wasn’t like they took a time with a manufacturing or a magnifying glass and inspected it. They just knew. So there’s a felt sense to moral conscience, for which to me, smell comes better. It’s the closest way of approximating it. You smell the wholeness before you do anything else, or you smell the insanity. One of the things that’s been so hard for me and many of the wisdom group in the, you know, in the waning months of the last government administration is you could smell the mounting psychosis.
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Cynthia: It has a stench in the country, and you just, and you know that before anything can be solved on a rational, conceptual policy level, you’ve got to dispel the skunk all over the road. You’ve got to bring it back to a place where the energy realms are clear and where the moral coherence has a chance to kick in again. So the seeing we’re talking about is the heart is yearning to give it to you. All you have to do is ask and ask in humility, and you’ll see. But the big kicker is whether you’re gonna then be able to live what you see.
Rick: Yeah, which takes, can take years of refinement and purification and, you know, spiritual practice and so on.
Cynthia: Exactly, and there’s another side to it. It’s that you get resistance from both sides. You get your natural reluctance to do, you know, I mean, I really got to quit my job, but on the other hand, you got something that’s hot to trot in there and wants to take it over by ego and is terribly, terribly susceptible to delusion. You know, the self-importance hungers in you and you say, “Oh, QAnon, my new home!” (laughing) And all of a sudden, boom, you’re off to go because something in you aches, it’s emotional, spiritual libido, you lust for the self-identification that’s had there. So a lot of people, I would say more people do, you know, follow the spirit wrongly because they’re not listening out of equanimity. They, you know, they get excitement in it, they get personal involvement, they get imagination bound up in it, and it knocks them off course. It isn’t, the hearing isn’t true. It’s that they don’t have the maturity of being yet not to screw up the hearing when they hear it by an interpretation.
Rick: Yeah, that’s an interesting point. And a lot of the conspiracy theories that are flying around these days do have an element of truth or something to that like that, but it’s being appropriate or misappropriated and turned into a recruitment tool and something which ends up deluding people quite seriously. You know, I mean, we could come up with examples, but I think maybe people and you know what I’m saying there.
Cynthia: Yeah, I would think so. But in some of the earliest spiritual teaching in the Christian tradition, the beautiful collected sayings of the desert fathers and mothers, I would say that well over half of the teaching, maybe close to 80%, is on the subject of spiritual discernment. that these people have put themselves through, they’ve already indicated with their lives that they’re willing to walk the path of opening the heart. They’ve moved into the desert, they’re living in prayer, asceticism, fasting, but you still have to purify that crazy thing in your imagination that wants to leap on, that wants to, oh, my special encounter, the Blessed Virgin has come and touched me, you know, that wants to take it home and make it all about me. And that part is, as the desert tradition has said, is that’s where Satan gets in. And they realize that that’s part of the occupational hazard of trying to learn to listen more attentively with the ear of the heart, which isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be listening, it’s just that we need wise guides as we do it. We need elders, peers, who can mirror truth back and to let us know when we’re sailing off course.
Rick: I’m so glad you made that point. And I’m really glad to hear that the desert fathers and mothers, you know, 80% of their writings were about spiritual discernment. You know, speaking personally, and just in terms of my own life, having been at this stuff for over 50 years, I really have learned so many times that you really can’t rest on your laurels. You know, it’s kind of like riding a bicycle. You get good at that and it gets to be second nature, but even Lance Armstrong has gone head over the handlebars and as he did in his personal life as well. Padmasambhava, a Buddhist sage, said, “Although my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour.” You can never let your guard down in terms of discernment, ’cause as soon as you do, you know, you can get tripped up no matter how long you’ve been on the path.
Cynthia: I want to say a few things that were tender here, because we have these metaphors of spiritual warfare running around so strongly in our tradition that, you know, the devil’s there, he’s gonna get you and, you know, bad and you fell off the path. Even Lance Armstrong going over the handlebars can bring an improved Lance Armstrong if he does the work after he lands in the dirt. I think our transgressions are very rarely motivated by malice. They’re motivated by sincere stupidity.
Rick: Yeah, forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.
Cynthia: Yeah, and that they are forgiven. A spiritual seeker that doesn’t dare to screw up is gonna be far more of a problem to God than one who screws up and returns for forgiveness and doesn’t despair because then you’re still teachable. But the lack of risk-taking amongst the people who like to call themselves spiritual because they’re protecting their image is, I think, a serious drain on the energy of integrity and vitality in the transformed being.
Rick: What kind of risks would you suggest people take?
Cynthia: Whatever ones are on their plate. I mean, not to just assume that something doesn’t accord with your moral structure of what’s right and wrong and what you’ve learned about the devil or anything like that, therefore you have to shut the whole thing down. I think the risk of listening to your own pain, of acknowledging your own uncompleteness, of cutting yourself a little slack when something in you reaches out to attend to something that’s been aching and sort of semi-repressed need, and of course you’re gonna get in trouble, but not to be afraid to risk treating yourself like a piece of play dough that you’ve almost got it formed in one direction while you just want to form it in another direction. Play with yourself as long as you have a self to play with. Shape it, love it, let it go into the ocean of life.
Rick: Yeah, I want to make sure that you’re not defining risk-taking as an attitude of sort of lax morality. I heard a story just yesterday about some 80-ish teacher, 80-year-old teacher who was hitting on a 20-something woman in his satsang who was coming there, and that could be defined as risk-taking, but I would tend to define it as stupidity or inappropriate behavior or clouded judgment or whatever.
Cynthia: It all flows within the absolute strictures of do unto others as you would have them do unto yourself. And a risk-taking that results in harm to others because you’re exploring some fascinating facet of yourself is evil. In the classic order for it, it’s sinful because you have your own life to play with, but if you drag somebody else into the fire with you, their blood is on your hands.
Rick: We may have covered this, but here’s a bit from your book that I’ve copied down. Imaginal causality possesses intelligence, agency, truthfulness, and its own legitimate ways and means of carrying out its purposes here in these lower realms. So we’re saying again that this deeper intelligence or this deeper field has purposes. And it almost seems like it’s an animate, intelligent, conscious being of sorts, the way you’re describing it here, with will of some sort, an agenda that it wants to accomplish.
Cynthia: Well, I think that’s not too far off in a kind of macrocosmic way. For some reason or another, I’m taking my seasonal deep dive into Jakob Böhme, the magnificent sort of 16th century German shoemaker, peasant, who’s probably the most out there cosmogonic mystic we have on the whole Christian path. But he asked the question, and I always come right back to this, why, you know, what was it that made, and for the moment, let me use the God language ’cause that’s the easiest way to phrase it. What was it that made God want to create in the first place? If you’re living there in infinite bliss and harmony and endless unity, why create? Where’s this thing come from? And Böhme keeps coming back to this question again and again and again. He calls it in one point, the scientia, the science, the secret. And in the book I’ve been working through now, the “40 Questions of the Soul,” I noticed that what he really said is that what God wants to do, what the divine cosmic being wants to do is to communicate its heart, to show what love is. And to show what love is, is not only a matter of giving love, but a matter of receiving love, a matter of being seen in love. Like when you stand naked before a beloved that you trust and your beloved truly sees you. It’s a tremendous intimate urge. Böhme finally says, this is the primordial wellspring at the heart of creation, this deep wishing to see and be seen that love can be whole. And the Hadith Qudsi, the extra Quranic saying, say much the same thing. I was a hidden treasure, says the divine being, and I love to be known. And so I created the worlds visible and invisible. We often start out, at least on the Christian side, with the idea that love is this preexistent virtue, that God has this abundance of love. So out of this efflorescence of love God creates. But the great mystics have said something else, that the whole world in every bit and piece from the vastest of the cosmoses, the most subtle realms, to the leaf and the pixel and the barley grain, are part of a great dynamic gristmill whose final product is the showing forth of the divine heart. And so everything in the cosmos, in all realms, tends toward and is ultimately bound together in one by the aim of revealing the fullness of love. And it takes a whole world to do this. It takes many, many realms. It takes particularity to do this. Love is not served when everything melts back into un-particularity, because a field in which love can manifest is a relational field. So everything in all ways, in all orders of being, contributes to that being. Which is why I can say with such confidence that the imaginal realm is of a higher order of moral coherence. Its compassion is more fine-tuned. It’s not doing things to trick us, to trip us up or to diminish us. And that as we lean into it, what manifests in our light through that act of entrustment is the capacity of the qualities to emerge into this planet that lead to a stabilization of love, to a greater manifestation of the divine heart.
Rick: That’s beautiful. To me, as I was listening, I was sort of thinking in terms of trying to get a God’s eye view of the situation, and when there’s absolutely no manifestation or diversity whatsoever, then it’s kind of just like, you know, we could say flat ocean. And it’s kind of like you’re lying in a bathtub and the water’s warm, but you’ve just been lying there still for so long that you don’t feel the warmth of the water. So you slosh around a little bit, and ah, now it feels warm. So creation is the sloshing of God’s bathtub, and the warmth that is being experienced is ultimately love, is what you’re saying.
Cynthia: Right, and suppose that the sloshing not only just kicked up the remaining coals of the water that was already getting cooler, but what if it actually generated love?
Rick: Right, right.
Cynthia: So that each time it sloshed, there was actually more love. So the old anti-entropic force, which is what the great mystic always talked about, a counter-entropic force, so it’s not just winding down into cold, dead equilibrium, but what we bring back in every, for us, where it hits the road, is in every conscious exchange. What we bring back and give back into the cosmos is an increasing capacity of the generation, you know, the participation of this counter-entropic force of love moving back through the whole cosmos.
Rick: Yeah, in a couple weeks, I’m gonna interview Rick Tarnas, who’s a cosmologist at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Cynthia: Oh, that’s our guy.
Rick: You know Rick?
Cynthia: Well, I’ve read his book, love it.
Rick: Yeah, and just in case people don’t know, entropic force, entropy is the second law of thermodynamics. It means that left to itself, things sort of kind of become more and more disordered. Like if you put a Volkswagen out in, you know, out in the weather, and come back 100 years later, it’ll be a pile of rust pretty much. You couldn’t take a pile of rust and put it there and come back 100 years later and find a Volkswagen. And–
Cynthia: Oh, rats.
Rick: Pardon, rats. (laughing) (laughing)
Rick: And so, the fascinating point is, why is there anything? To quote another cosmologist, Brian Swim, you know, you leave hydrogen alone for 13.7 billion years and you end up with rose bushes and giraffes and opera. You know, how did all this beauty and complexity come out of amorphous field of hydrogen? And so there is this anti-entropic principle that you just mentioned, which somehow keeps infusing order and coherence into what would otherwise just be a homogenous soup.
Cynthia: Exactly. And that too is a purpose of creation, at least according to some crazy mystics like G.I. Gurdjieff, that the whole thing serves as a counterentropic force that holds the whole thing in being. Our role as conscious human beings out here in this, you know, to use the spatial map, this very remote corner of the realms of being subject to end of things, we yet have a very, very important point to play, almost pivotal point in the turning of things so that they move from entropy into implicate order, as David Bova called it.
Rick: And so to loop back to something you and I were talking about in the beginning, our role as conduits between the gross and the subtle is to sort of funnel coherence or negative entropy into manifest creation.
Cynthia: Yeah, exactly. And we do so through the alchemy of our own lives, you know, and I’d want to really emphasize that ’cause when you use the word conduit, people can also say, well, you just sit out there and meditate and you become a channel and goodness goes down, but the real work is done, at least according to many of the Western mystics that I most particularly care for. When we ourself working in the laboratory of our own being are able to shift a state from a lower state, a denser, primitive survival, a health state to a higher state through conscious work to release a passion, to see through a compulsion, to show up when your heart is broken, to do anything which is a work of a human being which is typically just beyond us. When we do that kind of work, what we’re doing is right in the eye of the needle of our own life, making that reversal. I often think about the times on the swimming team when I was a teenager and you’d be swimming laps and you’d get up to the end of the pool and you’d have to turn and kick and push off. For me, that image of the turning and kicking and pushing off has become a real powerful one for what happens when I’m suffering in my psychological state and rather than just giving into rationalization or pity or blame or despair, actually do some of the practices that have been so carefully taught and entrusted to me over the years that can shift the state. And into my own life flows goodness, but I know that out of my own life into the planet has come the coherence that I’ve effected in that moment.
Rick: good. There’s one point that I just wanted to touch on that we discussed earlier about, if the going gets rough in life, are you being punished or are you working off karma or whatever? And you said something like, it has an evolutionary value even though it might be painful. And here’s a quote from your book. You said, “We have to stop identifying grace “with a happy outcome. “The imaginal’s mercy always reflects the big picture “and just as there is tough love, “so also is there tough grace.” So this speaks to the sort of the fundamental evolutionary trajectory of the universe that no matter what happens, if you can zoom out far enough, it can be regarded as in the stream of evolution ultimately. And that might sound harsh or cruel or insensitive or something, but you have to sort of nuance your way into it to appreciate that point, but I really feel that’s true.
Cynthia: I think that’s a very true point. And you’re right, you have to nuance your way into it because you have to bring your whole self with it. You can’t just take the little part that you call spiritual and zoom out, that’s spiritual bypassing. But to the extent that you can really bring your whole being along, that it slowly learns that when it moves into the grace, when it moves, even though the grace is at first seems opposed to what your personal will was, you realize you’re not gonna get what you wanted, but what you actually get is going to be better. And it takes the longest possible time to see that because we hang on so hard to what we want. And so as long as we do that, and as long as we already know that it doesn’t look like the train is gonna go that direction, we feel like we’re oppositional to grace and we’re being denied grace. But, and so we keep saying, “Can I have grace?” And we keep picturing it as, “Please give me what I want, please, I’ll be good, give me what I want.” And finally you learn that the cosmos says, “No, the grace is just follow where I’m leading you because it’s gonna be better, you’re just gonna get yourself in trouble if you do this thing your will wants again.” And I really think Rick, there’s nothing but a long or a short ride on the school of hard knocks that finally teaches you that. There are a few beautiful innocent souls that get it from the start, I’m told, but know right from the start that the path that’s open to them is the one that’s gonna be most harmonious for them to walk. The most of us just keep racing down these blind alleys and running into the bricks. And coming back to where we made the wrong turn and realizing that the turn that we knew all along that we didn’t wanna take, when we actually start walking it’s saying, “Damn it.” We begin to see it opens and it’s luminous and it has a richness to it that we could not have expected if we got what we wanted. I mean, by tough grace.
Rick: Well, you know what the great mystical sage Mick Jagger said, you can’t always get what you want, but you try sometimes you might find you get what you need. (laughing)
Cynthia: I guess maybe it’s a matter of learning to want what you get. And you know, the thing about some people just waltz into life and it goes smoothly for them and they don’t seem to run up against these brick walls. I think we all come into this life at different levels of spiritual evolution and we don’t need to get into a whole discussion of why that happens, but some people, like as the Bhagavad Gita says, Arjuna asked Krishna, “What happens if you’re on the spiritual path, “you don’t get enlightened? “Do you not perish like a broken cloud?” And Krishna goes into this whole thing about what may happen in between lives and then eventually, if you’re really fortunate, you’ll be born in a family of the pure and illustrious or better yet in a family of yogis and you’ll just pick up where you left off. I know you and I had a conversation about reincarnation in our last interview and we didn’t quite resolve it, but that’s one way of looking at it, that we all come in at different levels and we pick up where we left off.
Cynthia: Yeah, and sometimes life has its own way of working with things. I had a friend who had a charmed life. I mean, he had such a charmed life. He was a patrician born to begin with. He lived a life of ease. You know, he made the money he needed. He already had a lot to go with. He had a fine wife. He had a, you know, everything was fine. The only thing that wasn’t dealt with was that he was a little bit restless because, you know, that all this stuff that was just falling right onto his plate wasn’t quite enough to satisfy some deeper hunger. He, you know, six weeks before he died, he realized, you know, he was diagnosed with rapidly progressing pancreatic cancer. And what came out in those last six weeks in his life was the nobility that had eluded him all his life, that he went into that with such an extraordinary measure of strength and yet complete surrenderness. And in the last week of his life, people came to see him, not because they felt sorry for him, but because he was literally radiant. And to be in his presence was a teaching. He’d poo-pooed religion all his life. He had no interest in spirituality. The closest he would get to God was an occasional visit on Christmas or Easter to a Unitarian church because he knew they wouldn’t be talking about God or Jesus on those days there. But at the end, who knows, when we get in these liminal zones in our life, who knows, and it may have been that the ease and comfort he’d had for 64 years of his life was what gave him enough strength of soul to trust to really go for broke in this last three weeks. But it’s a mystery how our lives unfold.
Rick: A lot of things are. A bunch of questions came in and I want to ask them. It’s going to cause us to jump around a little bit compared to the way we’ve been flowing, but we’ll deal with it. So first of all, here’s one from someone who wished not to reveal a name. Please, can you talk about how to stay with a spiritual experience? Energetically, I’ve felt a buildup to a shift or opportunity a number of times over many years, not knowing how to respond or how to not get caught in some anxiety that suddenly seems to be present. The moment passes and I feel it actually being withdrawn. Each time is different and leaves me in a state of anguish. Thank you.
Cynthia: You know, I actually love the teaching on this point that comes from the Alberta guru, John DeRider. And I think whatever else you may say about John, he nailed it on this one. That he had this mother load of an experiential experience when he was a very, very young adult, you know, 22, 23, that they worked intensely to get it and they finally got it. And he walked around in this amazing bliss for a while, and then he felt it receding and it broke his heart. It absolutely broke his heart. He kept trying to get it back and it kept going. It kept going as steadily as a tide when it starts receding. And he finally realized that he had to stop looking for the big, that he had to be content with the littlest and the least. And he had to realize that it’s not the nature of a spiritual experience to sit there and become part of your true self. They come and they go. And it was only when he could really bring that genuine, authentic surrender of possessiveness to it that it came back. And it came back on its own accord. And I said, my goodness, this is helpful. It helped me a lot because I know that we all start with this kind of map that we, you know, that we pile up spiritual experiences and out of them we build the castle of our enlightenment. And so you want to stay as long as you can, prolonging the intensity of the state. But when you do, you can’t integrate it because you’re stuck in prolonging the intensity. the experience is really just half of it is the experience itself. The other half is how you live out of what you experience. And they’re all part of it. So most spiritual experiences I find go away because we’re trying too hard to hold onto them. And because we’re trying to hold onto them because we have become identified with them as a seed of our importance, our value and our worth. And you have to consistently learn to shift to a deeper place of humility to let it go. Yeah, come on back when you want or don’t, you know. Good, and not to fake it, but to really be there. There are some spiritual practices that will build up your body so that you’re able to more comfortably stay. The other side of this is that your your body is your protector and that when you’re running more spiritual energy through it, then it’s good for the system. It’ll shut it down rather than blow the fuses. And as you really work with experiences of sensation as I taught, particularly in the Gurjief work, as you learn how to bring sensation into your body, balance it in all your centers, move it volitionally around your body, breathe in, breathe out. As you begin to learn to do the things, to ground and intelligently move, the by nature higher energy, you know, the higher voltage of spiritual experience, then it’ll stay longer because it’s not gonna put you at risk. But so it’s somewhere in there, the combination, but I think the attitude of gentled surrender so that you can treat it with a kind of quiet equanimity, I’m not gonna say indifference, is the real tiebreaker in the thing.
Rick: Yeah, a few quick points. You’re probably familiar with Ken Wilber’s states versus stages talk. You can have all kinds of blissful states, but states by definition come and go. Stages tend to be a more kind of a stable platform that gets established. And very often it’s many intermittent states that cultures the mind and body to stabilize a higher stage, which then becomes more stable. In India, they used to dye cloth by dipping it in the dye, bleaching it in the sun, dipping it in the dye, bleaching the sun, going back and forth. And each time it was bleached in the sun, it lost its color, but you do that enough times and it becomes colorfast even in the bright sunlight. And yeah, we’re culturing not only the consciousness, but we’re culturing the nervous system, neuroplasticity and all. And I imagine an enlightened nervous system and the brain of an enlightened person is quite different in the way it functions and compared to the ordinary person. And there’s evidence of this in research. And that’s not gonna happen overnight. It’s gonna take years, decades to really shift and transform. So we don’t hang on to blissful experiences. They’re nice when they happen, they’ll go away, but they end up, over time it gets integrated. Okay, so another one. This is from Michael in the UK. Cynthia mentioned something about being able to smell psychosis. Can you ask her to elaborate? I know some people say they can smell entities or really strong entity attachments on people with strong addictions, for example. Does she mean something like this or was she speaking more metaphorically?
Cynthia: It’s not metaphorical. No, it’s actually a scent you pick up. And one of the most powerful books that describes this and helped me to get a sense of it was this wonderful book called “And There Was Light” by the blind Frenchman, Jacques Lusserand, who became a World War II resistance hero. He was blinded in a freak accident when he was seven. And while he never again gained his physical eyes, he learned to see by being able to navigate by reading. He began to get a sixth sense. Like he could smell deceit in a room, like you can smell musk in a men’s locker room. (laughing) It’s that vivid. I think he actually used that and he became so good at it. They actually brought people before him to interview for if they were gonna let him into the resistance to see whether they were lying or not. Oh, interesting. But it’s not a hard sense to develop. You just have to begin to let you do it. You can go to dinner at a room, in beautiful, beautiful, beautiful home and everything is fine and everything’s in the right place. You can tell in an instant their marriage is in trouble. Why do you pick it up? Nothing is said. But that all our emotional transactions have an energetic signature and psychosis has a huge one. Once you get used to it, you can begin to tell when you’re in madness. And sometimes the way you tell it is by watching what it does to you. On a cognitive level, it scrambles you. You can’t think straight. But if you try and do that in a visceral sense, you notice that you’re being fuzzy and funneled and confused and sort of vaguely anxious without being able to work your way out of it. It’s sort of like a kind of funneled anxiety state in which deadly toxins swirl like dark energy currents and all of a sudden they hit you. It’s a very, very powerful signature once you’re used to it. So it’s a very good drill to go into places where the emotional, the energy scent is strong, go into a church where prayer has proven valid as T.S. Eliot once talked about it, and sniff the odor. It’s not just the smell coming up from the incense, but the smell coming up from the faith of all those who have prayed there before. You pick it up very quickly. Yeah, and so what you’re hinting at here also is that we’re not just talking about the olfactory nerves and molecules that might be floating around in the air, but there’s something in the imaginal realm that is, we could say, really out of kilter in certain circumstances, even though on the surface the circumstance might seem perfectly normal and fine.
Cynthia: You smell it. – Yeah.
Rick: You smell it and you feel it in other ways.
Cynthia: Exactly. It’s interesting to say, Rick, that you might say that the way that even the question was posed there from Mike about the, is it either or, is it a physical sense or is it a metaphor? Well, the imaginal bandwidth is what takes up the slack between the two of them and turns the whole thing into a continuum. It’s not a metaphor, nor is it something quite as heavy as a physical smell. – Right. – But it’s in between, and to see those things from metaphor to physical smell on a continuum. And a lot of the actual healing and mediation in this world is done in that bandwidth. You know, when we had the inauguration in the States a couple of weeks ago, and it turned into such a beautiful and triumphant celebration, it was almost a service, like a religious service in praise of the holding up of the values of simplicity and harmony and safety and beauty. And when that little Amanda Gorman got up and read her poem, people’s hearts melted because what was being manicured in that ceremony was not the words themselves. I mean, they were part of it, but it created an overall energetic field of reconciliation, of healing, of goodness and safety. And to play it out right in the Capitol that two weeks ago had been the scene of a violent rape was the subliminal signs, the subliminal odors and fragrances that were coming together in that service, you know, that inauguration event, were just gorgeous beyond belief. And if you’re imaginatively attuned, you pick that all up.
Rick: Yeah, this brings up an interesting question. I don’t know if you can address this, but the question is we know what’s been happening on the obvious levels of life over the last four or five years, and we’ve seen it on the news and everything, but what the heck has been going on in the subtle realms, you know, and what shifted? And is there some kind of cosmic battle going on, or are we just playing out different strands of collective karma or, you know, there’s often this sort of night and day difference as we shift from one political administration to another. some people are in tears, some are heaving a sigh of relief. I mean, I just always get the sense that there’s a lot, actually even more going on than the imaginal realm than there is on what gets reported on the evening news.
Cynthia: Yeah, we’re clearly in a period of destabilization. And I wanna see if I can talk about this carefully so I don’t fall beneath the water into, you know, political statements or things that I have no business making publicly. But I very much like Jean Gebser’s map about structures of consciousness. It’s sort of like Ken Wilber, but a little bit different because new structures emerge into consciousness, and once you get them, they exist like rooms in a museum. They’re discrete, they don’t fold into and get plowed into the next level, but they each have to be bells that ring. We’re very, very clearly in the kind of birth canal of the emergence into culture as a cultural form of what Gebser and Wilber too calls the integral. And all the kind of, you know, obsession about our personal enlightenment and awakening are a part of this, but there’s a struggle. And it’s a struggle that’s gotten accentuated because it’s not just, you know, the new versus the old, but that the era that’s waning right now, our kind of dying mental structure of culture, has repressed at times, brutally, demonized the mythic and magical which are needed. You know, we’ve systematically taken apart religion, we’ve taken apart the Catholic Church, we’ve taken apart, you know, morality, we’ve discontinued public worship, public virtue. We, you know, we got no use for these things, we’re evolved. And what I think we’re seeing that’s resurged, you know, has had such resurgence around the world is the repressed and demonized magic and mythical culture, which are very, very unstable at this point, and then we’ve got to work to come to terms there. So I think there’s real work that’s ahead of us on our plate, healing these divisions from a deeper place. Because I don’t, you know, and given that we’ve got our more than enough crazies and lunatics and insanity going, I mean, this is not to try and take away personal responsibility. But it is, we have to address things at a deeper and much more compassionate level. I think the other thing that I’d say is going on cosmically, you know, again, taking a kind of Teilhardian view of it, is that human beings have really become an invasive species, not only for the planet, but for the whole cosmic great chain of being. You know, we’ve de-stabilized the biosphere, God knows, but we’ve de-stabilized the geosphere. You know, we’ve torn apart the very structure of the atom. We’re shooting, you know, information stations, you know, into the stratosphere. Really kind of polluting the bandwaves which used to be really open for imaginal communication. We have become galactic, you know, toxin distributors. And even our attempts to rescue ourselves, like, oh, let’s just do it on the internet, are still contributing to the toxicity of the whole. Because we won’t face ourself. And so there is, on top of the change of consciousness that’s cranking around, there is a real sense that the human species is in need of pruning so that the ecological balance comes back into balance and the whole chain of being is not put at risk. And, you know, without trying to be Pollyannish or hysterical, I mean, it’s just, there it is, folks, when you look at it at a Teilhardian standpoint. And that I think our individual efforts towards consciousness, towards self-realization, towards compassion, towards help, do help. They tip a balance. There’s a powerful, powerful story coming from the Old Testament when the King Josiah, at the end of a very secular period in Jewish history, where all the old textbooks and the sacred gestures have been forgotten and trashed, discovers the scrolls from the temple. And he reads them and he realized what’s been lost in it. He rends his clothes and cries out on the ground, the Old Testament scripture says, and begs for repentance. And God rescues him. And God hears the cry for repentance and spares them. And I don’t think those stories are out of date. They’re told in mythic language, which God knows we could use some more of these days. But they tell the story that our human hearts collectively owe the great chain of being a profound act of rending our clothes and repentance and it’s frustrating because you can personally be a good person, but you collectively belong to a hysterical, manic and dangerous species. The price of this is really written in your own willingness to surrender your life. I mean, some of us will die. We’re putting our eggs in the baskets of the vaccines and hopefully they’ll turn a corner, but no corner is going to be turned long until we’ve done the work of moral conversion and of returning our souls to alignment with the purposes of love for which this whole created order was brought into being. In other words, for me, the micro work goes on. The self-realization, the awakening work goes on, but not so much as a personal achievement as as a cosmic service. The prayer, the repentance, the moderation of our lifestyle and the willingness to pay individually the price of our collective shame and guilt, I think will be a step towards our healing.
Rick: Wow, that was very eloquent. Thank you. Few quick thoughts on that. You said pruning, are you expecting a big drop off in the human population? And for what and why and how? Is it gonna be pandemic or is it gonna be Bill Gates’s nanoparticles, so to speak? Which is a conspiracy theory I don’t believe.
Cynthia: I don’t wanna get into conspiracy theories or things. The easiest way to do it is just by straight up Teihardian evolution. When a species gets out of balance, the natural forces within nature which move to want to stabilize a whole system, will move to correct the offending and unbalanced parts. And I’m not talking about a vast panaclism like death has been given, reap 10 million of them before you leave the planet. Sometimes it feels like that and it’s quickly mounting in that direction. But something of that order that we’re gonna come out with not as many human beings as we had before. And no matter what we do, we’ve already lost, lost a half a million almost in this country that didn’t need to be lost in some way. So the pruning has gone on already.
Rick: Right, but so far it’s just a few little buds compared to the whole population. But I mean, looking at climate change, I saw an article the other day, it said, you know, by the end of the century, Phoenix will probably be unlivable. And that’s also true of New Delhi and many other heavily populated cities.
Cynthia: You go to California and watch and you, you know, is it gonna be one if by flood, two if by, you know, fire? I mean, we can see and it’s been shocking even in the last 10 years how climate change has reached a tipping point, certainly it’s not too far off that the world becomes uninhabitable for human habitation, because we’re a pretty finicky species.
Rick: Six degrees centigrade would do it. There’d be no large mammalian life.
Cynthia: We’re done. The biosphere will probably survive in some sort of atrophied form for a while, but it’ll build back. I laugh sometimes at all this sort of solicitous, liberal hand-wringing, well, what must we do to help our poor environment? As if we didn’t think that the poor environment was already saying, well, just, you know, we’ll take care of ourselves, thank you. Let’s just get rid of this pest, you know? So, yeah, I mean, we are gonna see unimaginable changes. And I think that it takes a certain amount of extraordinary bravery to live in our world right now, because we’re seeing the fruits of millennia of neglect, and we’re reaping it, who knows? I mean, I can say in 10 years, I can remember when there were more birds. I can remember when weather was colder. I can remember when there weren’t fires in California every season. We’re seeing it. We don’t know how, but we are in a period of very great destabilization, and the work of a conscious human being is needed more now than ever, but not for the old reasons we used to like to give it.
Rick: I’ve long felt that we’re kind of in a race between getting in tune with the imaginal realm, the kind of things we were talking about earlier, where if you’re really in line with it, then life goes smoothly, not only for you as an individual, but for the collective, if enough individuals do that. We’re on a race between that and the kind of cataclysms you’ve just been talking about. And I think a lot of the saints and sages who’ve come to this earth have sensed that very keenly, and hence have had this sense of urgency in their mission. The changes are inevitable, but the chaos and the craziness could be a lot less if we can all just sort of get ourselves attuned, or at least more of us, a lot of us. But if we don’t, things are gonna change anyway, and the — hit the fan. >> Yeah, one of the things that the wisdom, the enlightened bandwidth, or semi-enlightened bandwidth, if you wanna call it that, the baby consciousness can do, is it can provide what the Gurdjieff work calls third force, which is rather than directly trying to get into the dogfight and have an opinion or a thing, it can hold a moderating influence where it’s needed, or a catalytic influence where it’s needed. And I know a lot of the folks in my own little wisdom network, we have realized that there is a need to throw a strong and tender blanket of support around the fledgling plant that’s trying to be reborn in Washington, DC. You know, that the administration we have in here is not perfect by any means, but there’s a real beginning of a beachhead to can we remember how to act civilly? Can we learn to remember how to act on behalf of the collective good? Can we remember how to speak the truth, not merely the politically expedient? Our group has been really working on the, Jesus’s teaching on the fruits of the spirit, you know, that are joy, peace, truth, forgiveness, forbearance, and a few more, and the Philippians quote about whatever things are noble and lovely and beautiful, think on them and to try to consciously generate and transmit goodness and whole heart intercessory prayer to that place because if that one gets taken apart by the divisive energies that have now been pushed to the suicidal and homicidal spot, unless that can be diffused, we don’t have even a measure of order, systemic order to begin to address these huge global, you know, misdoings that are now afoot.
Rick: okay, I’m going to go back to some of these nice questions that have been coming in, which means we’re going to jump around a little bit topic-wise, but there’s some good stuff here. Here’s John from Waynesville, I’m not sure where that is. I agree with almost all of what you two have discussed, and you have, we two, he’s saying, have given much thought and experience to what we so eloquently express. My perplexity is why is this of which you discuss so difficult to see or feel and intuit? Why is it not apparent and obvious to us as conscious, loving, compassionate human beings? In other words, why do we have to dig so deeply to become aware?
Cynthia: Well, we find a mechanism in our culture and basically in the mental structure of culture, which has dominated for so long across all the fields, that actively resists it and numbs it out. You know, that even in, take education, that we have gradually over the course of the years programmed out programs in the arts program and music, which are all alternative languages that basically not only train our sensitivities, but also connect the synapses in our brain to pick this up. The churches have gotten badly split so that they no longer even vaguely broker morality. The systems of the transmission that would encourage people to trust these instincts in them and then to cultivate them don’t exist in our culture. So we have to push upstream against this huge, you know, downdraft of ignorance and desensitization and radical skepticism. That if we were given our own, I think we’d discover it in an instant. I think we could recreate systems that honored it and that then people wouldn’t have such a hard time coming to what’s an obvious hard truth anyway.
Rick: There’s a common theme these days. A lot of people think that there’s some sort of evil overlords, the cabal or the Illuminati or whatever, which are dumbing us all down and controlling us. And I think it’s kind of the nature of life to blunt the senses and blunt the sensitivities. Just the grossness of life tends to do that. And then people who collectively have been so blunted end up creating the kind of dry educational systems that you just described and other institutions and wealth inequality and the way women are treated and all kinds of other things. It’s not like there’s some puppeteer pulling the strings, but there needs to just be a fresh infusion of that divine energy and intelligence we were talking about earlier. And then all these things will naturally flourish again and we’ll structure better systems.
Cynthia: That question too that was asked earlier about how do you hang on to a spiritual experience? And a lot of it has to do with preparing our nervous systems for it. The part of the, and the arch bit of the dumbing it down is that we only live in our minds nowadays with a little bit of exercise, but we haven’t trained attention. We haven’t trained sensation. And these are the real grids for picking things up. We haven’t trained our hearts beyond just as a sort of junk heap for our personal emotions. We don’t know many of us the difference between feeling and emotion, really basic sort of things so that we’ve allowed the instrument of our own perceptivity to drop to dangerously low levels. And the more we get stuck in a mental realm, the more we get victimized by untruth because nothing that can be presented in a tidy mental package is true.
Rick: Here’s another question from Mary in Pennsylvania. Hi, Cynthia, recently I have come to appreciate the wisdom in setting aside time to empty my mind of thoughts and invite sensations in my body to be felt without mind involvement. Do you think that endeavoring in this practice will enhance living more fully in the sensation of the heart space, thus becoming a vessel streaming the love and energy of God, our source?
Cynthia: Mary, I’d want to say that what you’re doing is absolutely wonderful, keep doing it. First of all, it doesn’t hurt. That as you work with that, you’re pulling the plug on the mental chatter and you’re inviting sensation. It’s not altogether simple. Outer sensation is easy to get going first to bring sensation to the hands as you sit and invite it. You learn bringing inner sensation so that you can actually, as they talk about, bring attention to the area in the chest. It takes a little bit longer to sensitize, but as you begin to work deliberately with increasing the level of actual sensate aliveness in your being, it does help the other things to come online. And as soon as you do that in the area of the heart, it immediately will begin to teach you the difference between feeling and emotion, because emotions are the stories that your mind and your will tell about what you want. And feeling is this great sensation-based intimacies and intensities that sweep through the cosmos like a deeper ocean rhythm. And we’re geared to pick them up. They’re ambivalent. I mean, they’re multivalent and they each contains the other. In sorrow, there’s joy. In joy, there’s sorrow. But as we begin to feel them, yes, we do bring ourself much more in line with becoming worthy recipients of the burdens that we are asked to carry as human beings. So yeah, keep working with those practices. They’re very good.
Rick: Good. I think you must have used the word obeying earlier. Maybe we were talking about being aligned with the imaginal realm, not sort of violating its laws. But based on that, Christiane asks, “Could you elaborate on what you mean by obeying? “I am a single mother and have a full-time job. “I often have the sense that I should sit in prayer “and I want to, but I have responsibilities as a mother. “I often have this tension within knowing I want to obey, “but I want to be there for my children.”
Cynthia: Yeah, well, the word obey, which we tend to hear in our Western languages knuckle under to authority or to submit to something, actually comes in Latin from the word ob-audere, which means listen from the depths or listen to the depths. So what it means is deep listening. And the part that we put all our attention on is an outer action. And very often an outer action will become an externalized or projected action. So I would say that the real obedience in this point is to listen to your children. To listen deeply and to honor the fact that as a mother and as a single mom, you’re carrying a burden and God is carrying that burden with you. And the burden and the joy that’s gonna be brought with it is the aliveness and the responsivity and openness to your own kids. If you let it turn into a kids, my kids are pulling me away from the spiritual life, you’ve lost it in both directions at once. God never makes such monstrous demands. And for everyone who wants to get to the prayer stool and can’t because there’s a child that has to be mopped up or shored up, there is a hermit celibate somewhere wishing in all of his or her unrequited heart that I could be a parent too. They’re carrying your prayer for you. You carry their child.
Rick: Oh, that’s beautiful. Thank you. Here’s a few questions from our friend, Doug Scott, whom I interviewed last week. He’s read your book all the way through and he’s in on a second reading. He said, “You mentioned in this book, ‘Eye of the Heart,’ “you mentioned ‘The Law of Three,’ “and you’ve written extensively on it. “How do you see,” in your other book on the Trinity, “How do you see ‘The Law of Three’ playing out “in your story arc that you shared in your new book?” Example, was your previous emotional and spiritual life before the Greek, you’re gonna have to explain these things, the affirming force and meeting the Greek presented as the denying force, or was your relationship with the Greek an affirming force and then the split the denying force? You’re gonna have to define all those terms in order to answer the question.
Cynthia: Yeah, well, without getting too much into the adventures with the Greek, which is a good reason to buy the book, but I would say that one of the things that you have to work with when you’re working with ‘The Law of Three’ if you’re gonna use the words affirming and denying to apply them to a force, you have to realize that they’re applying in a physics level, not a moral level. The affirming force is the force that pushes the action that’s driving it. The denying force is the force that’s either pushing back or else providing the medium through which something flows like a Delta provides the medium for the Mississippi River to flow through. So when you think about it that way, it makes it a lot easier to analyze because when we get it, well, the affirming force is the one that’s good in the situation. As soon as you get it tangled up with a priori morality, you’re not gonna see anything. Once you realize that you’re talking about, well, what’s really driving the action? Then the next question is, well, look and see. And very often you can play it either way. And in fact, in the Gurdjief work, Very often you will flip a situation when you realize that what you thought was the affirming force was really the denying force and vice versa. I remember, we really flipped that brilliantly with a clergy conference in North Carolina, memorably a few years ago, when the clergy came in all depressed and dispirited because like every clergy, they’re facing older shrinking congregations and lack of hope. And they were lost ’cause they said, well, we’re the affirming force, but the secular world is fighting back with us. They’re the denying force. And so of course they could find no third force because the initial configuration was wrong. Said, well, what if we flip it? Secularity is the affirming force. Hey, people are gonna take their kids to the soccer practice on Sunday morning. They’re not gonna bring them to Sunday school. That’s driving the show. And so what if the denying force that the church is bringing is a kind of necessary friction that slows down the action enough so that the new just doesn’t take place in a vacuum? What if you are creating enough time to create a container in which a genuine new can arise? And what if you’re transmitting these values, not with some sense of big evangelism, but as a sense of offering them into the future? And it was like, all of a sudden, they got their role in a whole new way. And you could feel a force of dignity and calm moving in, which was the third force. So over and over the teachers in the work that have asked people to work with these things is to say, don’t take that as something that you could solve as easy algebra. You’ll spend about a couple of years of your learning curve learning how to properly identify what force is driving the show in a situation. And I think one of the big lacks in our government politics today is we absolutely haven’t figured out how to do that.
Rick: Next question. This is also from Doug, how do you see the times in which we are living as a fertile environment where things that were previously held tightly within the inner traditions, esoteric, are now being revealed? What does this say about the awakening of humanity, of the work of the Holy Spirit now at play?
Cynthia: Well, wisdom schools have traditionally come to the grounds in times of destabilization just like this. Whether it’s making things that have been taught in inner schools widely available publicly, I would not be so quick to jump on because they’re still not heard. I mean, you know, because basically what the inner tradition has as its safeguard is that you can’t understand it at all until your being is ready to receive it. And so I’ve been teaching some of these concepts sort of publicly out in the living school and places like that, but it’s really wonderful that only like about 5% of the people have even a clue of what I’m talking about. You know, the rest of them are just trying to fold it back. Well, is this the same as the Trinity? Is this, you know, bring it back to known reference points. Most of the people who take the Law of Three think we’re just talking about Hegel all over, synthesis, you know, thesis, antithesis, synthesis. So they just assume I’m talking about the same old thing. So I have no fear of the treasures of the inner tradition being thrown like pearls before swine before their time. But if we can bring the actions that flow out of these into the world, exoterically, that’s all that’s needed. The know-how will open to people as they’re ready. People will read and they’ll mouth the new concepts. And if it allows them to think in a new way a little bit so that some new oxygen comes in, that I think is really about the most good you can do in any 500 year period. R Okay, good. One final question from Doug. And this is a bit of a long one, but it looks good. In previous books or articles, you are sometimes the lone voice providing a counterpoint to theological or psychological ideas of the levels of consciousness, such as your critique of Ken Wilber’s notions of levels as not being embodied but rather contained within the mental. However, in your current book, you expound greatly upon levels of consciousness as you draw upon Gurdjieff’s work to display different worlds that seem hierarchical or holorarchical. This public expression of this kind of thinking seems new and bold. How do you understand your foray into different levels of consciousness now in light of how the law of three has played out in your life as implied in your book?
Cynthia: It’s an interesting question. And it’s like, it would take a while and probably longer than we have left in this interview to really establish a bridge between the apples and the oranges here. I don’t consider the worlds exactly the same as the levels of consciousness. You know, it’s not that they’re different, but it’s they belong to whole different hermeneutical streams so you can’t swap them around like algebraic terms without destroying the integrity of the context in which they’re working with.
Rick: Right, so in other words, as a human being achieves various levels of consciousness, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is just sort of engulfing different levels of creation the way Gurdjieff might have enumerated them.
Cynthia: Gurdjieff really had only two levels of consciousness, not counting just total sleep, you know, sleep at night. When you’re awake and the alarm clock has gone off and you’re running around the day, you’re either asleep or awake. And those are the two levels of consciousness. And he doesn’t take the, he doesn’t divide it into, well, am I at subtle consciousness, am I at integral consciousness, am I at pluralistic? You’re awake and there’s quantitative descriptions. And enlightenment therefore is not some sort of plateau on a ladder of consciousness. It’s something that you can enter in any moment of life and you may stay in it a nanosecond or you may stay in it for 30 years. But it’s, awakeness is a being alive in all three centers of your physical being, detached, but open and alert, receptive. And in that state, imaginal causality can easily play, it easily downloads. Christic or causal causality can sometimes download. I mean, you really can begin to receive the structures and the modalities of other realms when you’re awake. When you’re asleep, which is where most of us are most of the day, none of this can happen. Again, the real problem is trying to make the map sync up ’cause if you assume they’re easy kind of equivalence and Gurdjieff’s talking about the same things that Ken Wilber is, then you’re never gonna be able to make an easy transposition between these two very, very different lenses into reality.
Rick: Yeah, we won’t get into it right now, but I would say that there are many degrees of awakening, but anyway, there’s so many different ways of parsing this out. This is from Vic. I’ve greatly appreciated your teachings on the three centers of knowing. Recently, I was introduced to a practice that also included this quote, spiritual womb, or sometimes called gut center, and have found this such a powerful and generative center to practice and live from. Do you have a sense of how a spiritual womb center might fit in with the other centers?
Cynthia: I think it really, really does. That there are, you know, while Gurdjieff basically talked about three major centers of awareness, you know, your moving center, your intellectual center, and your emotional center, and he did not specifically identify them with what you might call chakras. You know, he didn’t as tightly pin them to places in your body, he had variant ways of doing it. Nonetheless, he has many exercises in which he really is quite interested in having people learn how to take sensation and by moving sensation, place it in what essentially amount to what we classically call the chakras. And there’s some very, very powerful exercises that are done that actually bring attention and place it in exactly that center. The results are distinctive, very powerful, and vitally different from when attention is placed in like the heart center or when it’s placed in the solar plexus. So I would say that while the Gurdjieffian teaching doesn’t make a huge deal about it in the way that, you know, it doesn’t call it out in the way that it has importance in the traditions you’ve been working with, it certainly is known and it’s certainly actively practiced with by people that are working there.
Rick: Okay, good. Two people asked a question similar to this. This is from Lisa in Portland. From a mystic viewpoint, what does it mean that all our sins are forgiven because Jesus has died for us?
Cynthia: How much time do we have left? [laughing] Yeah, well, of course, you know, it’s funny. I was just writing about that this morning, that that statement is absolutely true cosmogonically at a cosmic and mystical statement. But the big problem is that it doesn’t make sense at the level where it’s usually tried to be held in theology which is at the personal, you know, and human level. You were bad, Eve ate an apple, therefore the whole world fell and therefore Jesus was come and he was sent by either an angry God as a demanded sacrifice or else he came himself willingly because somebody had to pay the price for this damn apple. [laughing] You know, and you know, my five-year-old grandson said, “Grandma, what came first, Adam and Eve or the dinosaurs?” [laughing] And so atonement theology has got a very, very good instinct in it, but it’s held at the wrong scale at the wrong level, which makes it incomprehensible. What you get in this when you do it at a mystic level which is what Berma was certainly trying to do and Teilhard was trying to do too in a way is to essentially say that there is an inherent turbidity, turmoil, agitation built into the conditions that allow anything to manifest at all. You know, think back if you can all the way back in the interview to Rick sitting in the tub sloshing the water, you know, remember back when? But things have to get agitated in order for things to move from the stasis of non-existence into finite manifestation. And this agitation, which is actually deep in the inner impenetrable matrix of God keeps getting moved out in its own forms throughout the levels of creation and winds up as fire, as passion, as heat, as light, as generativity and of sin. nd of course we own our bit of it when we stumble and fall and screw up but there is an analog in the divine heart. We participate when we touch the pain, when we touch the agitation in one of the necessary and tragic and painful costs of the arising of anything. And it hurts the divine if you wanna put it that way as much as it hurts us, we both share in it. And so in that sense, Christ comes as the cosmic mediator because the conditions have to stand. And by that I mean, if you remember back to what I was saying earlier, that something very, very precious happens in this planetary bandwidth. And it happens because of not despite of the darkness and the pain and the confusion and the agitation, these are the conditions that are necessary for the final alchemical transformation into pure love. So it has to be, you can’t just say, oh, let there be light, I made a mistake on darkness, just cancel darkness. If you do that, you collapse the whole point of it. You’re back with Rick in the bathtub and there’s no sloshing and stirring. (laughing) So Jesus comes to take up the slack, to hold the bridge so that the conditions can remain, but that they’re not so unbearable that they crushed us. That he comes as I often say, to line the anguish with love so that we can barely endure it. And what it means in the code, our sins are forgiven. It’s the deep saying that there is an understanding cosmically that we fall into these traps and skewers of sin and fall in this individually. Because it’s set up like that through realm upon realm of a layer of layer and onion skin and onion skin of the cosmos, right back to the necessary arising. God takes God’s share in the responsibility. And we are not held mortally, imperishably, irremediably blamed for things whose real ultimate source is far beyond us in the cosmos. We’re joined, we’re accompanied. And the purpose and the forgiveness is to give us the strength and the courage and the hope to stand up again when we get knocked flat and to not trust that the universe is broken beyond repair or that love cannot reach us to trust. And to begin again in that trust. So that’s how I would interpret it. There is no sin, there is no evil, there is no shame either by committal or by non-committal, by avoidance that cannot be accommodated. You’re not lost, you’re not so bad that nothing can save you. The universe is for you. You are loved, that’s what that means.
Rick: My sense of things, I’d be interested to know whether you agree or disagree, is that it says somewhere, I guess, in the Bible that God is omnipresent. And if that is true, then there’s nothing but God. – It may appear that there’s non-God from our limited perspective, but we are God experiencing from a limited perspective. And if there are things, if there is something that is not God, then God has holes in Him. And if you look at anything closely enough, this book or my finger or anything else, look at what’s actually going on there. Look at a single cell under a microscope, you see this incredible display of intelligence, just unbelievable what’s going on. And you could go anywhere in the universe and look closely enough and you see the very same incredible display of intelligence playing itself out in different ways. So the whole thing is God. And like you said earlier, God couldn’t just say, well, just let there be light and not have any negative stuff, because then there would be no relativity, there’d be no diversity, there’d be no polarities, there wouldn’t be a universe.
Cynthia: Exactly, exactly. God owns God’s part in the price of the arising and helps us to own our part in it too. So that’s well said. And of course, that’s what the Muslims have been chatting all along, huh? There’s nothing but God, there’s only God. There’s nothing that is not God.
Rick: Yeah, and I think the Christians have been saying it too, but if you try to say that, you get in trouble because they’re misinterpreting what you’re saying. They’re saying me, I, this person here, I’m God. And that’s not what is being said.
Cynthia: Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Rick: Okay, so is there anything in this book that we should have discussed and haven’t gotten around to discussing that you’d like to bring up before we close?
Cynthia: I think we’ve covered the turf pretty well. I mean, I think we’ve talked about the big ones of the validity of all realms, the indispensability of them. I would say if there was a takeaway message, the question of why is this relevant right now? Because it can sound like it’s really arcane. I mean, oh, I got this world called the imaginal world and what is this? And you know, where is it? Show me where it lives in Iowa. (laughing) But you know, is that Fairfield or is that?
Rick: I think it was Woody Allen that said that God is omnipresent except for certain parts of New Jersey or something.
Cynthia: Yeah, God knows. But the point is this, that help is available to us and that as we human beings suck it up and stand up and do what we know in our heart of hearts we’re required to do as human beings, to be good planetary citizens at this particular place where we’re incarnate right now, to leave the place a little bit better than we found it, to carry on what’s been given to us at such pain and cost from past generations, to not let sacred things be smashed and trashed, to remain sane, to remain trusting, to remain beautiful. There is help from the imaginal to do this. And we need merely quiet our minds, open our hearts and recommit our willingness. And that help is there, not in the form just of energy streams, but of the cosmic presences that show up. I mean, you can get Gurdjieff in your room or Burma or one of the Babas, that we’re being hovered over. I hope in our book to show people that we do have an important part to play, that our contributions, no matter how small, are important. No conscious act is ever wasted, my teacher, Ray, used to say to me. And that if we can continue to hold the faith and hold the trust, to make the conscious acts of growing up, of living faithfully in this planet and consciously in this planet, we’re doing some good and help will come to us in more than the measure that we offer.
Rick: Beautiful. All right, I wanna quickly show your websites on the screen here. So you won’t be able to see them, but I’m showing them. Now, so this one is, and I’ll be linking to them all from your page on BatGap. And this one is the Wisdom Way of Knowing. And you have three websites I’m gonna show. What is it that’s different about each one? What is this one about, the Wisdom Way of Knowing?
Cynthia: The Wisdom Way of Knowing is probably the most meticulously arranged and exhaustive archive of everything I’ve ever done. It’s got talks, it’s got videos, it’s got all sorts of stuff, and it’s got a brilliant indexing mechanism that goes with it like a university college catalog. So you can type in almost anything you want and get it. And it’s the creation of a woman who’s been a student of mine is a technological genius and it’s an act of love and service. So if you wanna go rummaging in the Cynthia Bourgeault Library, it’s got other stuff too. It’s not just old fashioned, it’s got up-to-date news. It’s like about 98% Cynthia Bourgeault focus. There’s some of my students in there, but that’s the deep one. CynthiaBourgeault.org, which is the second one, is intended to be a straight up, a much more brief, colorful, topical, present introduction for people who wanna get a first sort of flavor of my work and find out where to go next. And the third website, Northeast Wisdom, which is currently under development and is going to shortly when we’re finished with it, have a major sort of remake and reboot, is really the collective work of the wisdom network that’s been brought into being around this teaching. So I’m a part of it, but I’m not the only part of it. It’s really a wonderful source of the people out there in the field that are the awakening human beings that are standing together to do the work. It’s got teachers, it’s got teachings, it’s got practices. You can tune it up or you’ll be able and practice along. It’s got a wonderful little in-house Facebook group where people share really deep spiritual conversations. So they all have a slightly different focus. And as long as one doesn’t have to be the survivor and the other two disappear, I think you’ve got a website for every boot.
Rick: Cool, wow. So it seems that you’ve got so much out there that one could become a full-time Cynthia Bourgeault-ist and do nothing else for a year or two at least. That’s great. – Or I’m gonna waste your life. (laughing) – Yeah. Well, thanks Cynthia. I’ve really enjoyed spending this time with you. – It’s been great. I don’t know if I told you, but I’ll be interviewing Richard Rohr towards the end of March. Maybe I said that already.
Cynthia: Yeah, you did.
Rick: So that’s exciting.
Cynthia: That’s a good thing too. I mean, you’re not over. How did you rate?
Rick: I don’t know, persistence. I felt like I will have won the trifecta with you and Jim Finley and then Richard Rohr. I got the three of you.
Cynthia: Yeah, yeah. Well, we’ve got two more that have joined the faculty at CAC2 as they build into the new generation since most of us are now in our seventies and they’re definitely people to watch. They’ve got Brian McLaren is there who’s been doing marvelous work from a recovering evangelical basis. It’s really with enlightened activism and Barbara Holmes, who’s a professor and a brilliant, brilliant, heartfull woman of color is really trying to open up the contemplative journey so that it’s not based entirely on the experience of white male celibates, but to show what its iterations are like when it enters non-white cultures, how it’s been kept alive in American history and the wonderful alternative modes of contemplation in the black communities. And we saw a lot of that spirit just moving right back into our inauguration again. So you’ve got a few more to interview there from-
Rick: Yeah, I noticed them on the site and I haven’t had a chance to really check them out yet, but I would like to interview them too.
Cynthia: Yeah, and diversity of voices. So they’re definitely things to, as the CAC tries to keep pace with the catalyst that it’s been in society and not get stuck in a comfortable niche, but to be right out there where the breaking edge of consciousness is looking at new players and new voices.
Rick: And in case people don’t realize, the CAC is the Center for Action and Contemplation, and that’s the organization based in Albuquerque that you and Richard and Jim and these other two people are involved in.
Cynthia: Yeah, Brian and Barbara all worked for it, yeah.
Rick: Right, great. And I imagine that, I know that has courses that one can enroll in, so that’s-
Cynthia: Take the living school or you can take sort of piecemeal online courses, some of which are offered by me. It’s really trying to create an alternative mode of Christian education, which is contemplation centered and action oriented and doesn’t let people split into one camp or another, but says they have to inform each other.
Rick: Great. Well, you’re doing great work, a life well lived. Plus, as we saw on that one website, I just showed you’re a sailor, so you’re done.
Cynthia: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: You live on this little island off the coast of Maine.
Cynthia: Right, right. And the book has begins and ends with a sailing trip that was a deep wake up call from heaven, so you can take a look at that.
Rick: Great. All right, well, thank you, Cynthia. So again, Cynthia’s book is “The Eye of the Heart.” I’ll be linking to it from her page on BatGap. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. If you look at the upcoming interviews page on BatGap where some of you have gone to post a question, you’ll see what we’ve got scheduled for the next couple of months. And that page keeps getting upgraded as we, updated as we invite new people. So thanks again for doing this, Cynthia.
Cynthia: My pleasure.
Rick: It’s really been enriching.
Cynthia: Okay, well, we’ll work for it. I know we’ve had some streaming today and we’ll be looking forward to posting when it’s actually, you know.
Rick: Yeah, it should be up in two or three days.
Cynthia: Okay, great. Well, let the troops know, let all those websites know and they’ll get the word out, so.
Rick: Okay, I’ll let you know, you can tell them.
Cynthia: Okay, thank you.
Rick: Okay, good. – I’m hanging out with you, stay warm. – Oh, I will. It’s gonna be in the single digits for a few days, but then it’s gonna get back up to a nice toasty 17 or 18 or something like that.
Cynthia: Good, and you’ll be used to it by then.
Rick: I’ll get out, cross country skiing.
Cynthia: You’re about to be expunged.
Rick: All right, talk to you later.