Synopses & Reviews
If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of radical wisdom and compassion, whose aim is nothing less than the transformation of human consciousness. His methods are as bold and surprising as a Zen master's. And his aim is to break through our habitual thinking and to effect a complete conversion of our minds and hearts. Cynthia Bourgeault is our guide to rediscovering Jesus as a wisdom master in the tradition of the Buddha and other teachers. She looks to the Gospels, to contemplative experience, and to recently discovered ancient Christian documents (such as the Nag Hammadi scriptures and the Gospel of Thomas) to reveal a fresh new understanding of Jesus and his teaching.
What Jesus experienced, she says, was a profound understanding of nonduality--the essential oneness of all things--and his aim was to transmit this truth to others experientially. She provides instruction in simple practices from the Christian contemplative tradition that leads to the kind of transformation Jesus taught. These include Centering Prayer, a form of Christian meditation, and Lectio Divina: Divine reading, a meditative practice unique to Christianity that intersperses slow and deliberate reading of a text with silence, contemplation, and prayer.
"Inspired by the Nag Hammadi discoveries and influenced by more than 30 years of study with Fr. Thomas Keating and other contemplatives in a variety of wisdom traditions, Bourgeault, an Episcopal priest, encourages seekers to reach beyond the Western tradition of Jesus-as-Savior to embrace Jesus more wholly as a wisdom teacher. Through a transformative lesson in vocabulary, giving new meaning to perceptions like 'head,' 'heart' and 'repentance,' she offers a fresh reading of the Beatitudes, challenges us to explore the more complicated messages imbedded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and emphasizes a notion of 'self-emptying love' that allows for a shift in consciousness from ego-based analysis to acceptance of divine abundance, which in turn sheds new light on examinations of the Passion, crucifixion and ensuing events. Guided chapter primers on centered meditation and chanting further prepare readers to test the open waters of welcoming the 'flow of... deeper sustaining wisdom.' Though strict legalists may not warm to this new spiritual perspective, other students of faith will find an especially intriguing and engaging path waiting for them." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Bourgeault looks to the Gospels, to contemplative experience, and to recently discovered ancient Christian documents (such as the Nag Hammadi scriptures and the Gospel of Thomas) to reveal a fresh new understanding of Jesus and his teaching.
If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. Cynthia Bourgeault is a masterful guide to Jesus's vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teachings for yourself.
About the Author
Cynthia Bourgeault, PhD, is an Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader. She is the author of several books, including Chanting the Psalms and Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.