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Words of Wisdom: Inspirational Quotes and Passages by Cynthia and Friends

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Community members share some of their favorite Words of Wisdom:

If you would like to share a favorite quote or inspirational passage by Cynthia Bourgeault and other Wisdom writers, please submit your quote HERE.

The following quotes have been submitted by members of our Wisdom community network.  Use for inspiration, or as a source for your Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading) practice.


Shared by Mary J Broglie from Pittsburgh, PA. The following was written by Justin Broglie, contemplative. Mary describes Justin as “my son and teacher who died April 7th 2014 at the age of 24.”

Justin Broglie (photo taken by his friend at Burning Man 2013)

Justin Broglie (photo taken by his friend at Burning Man 2013)


What does it mean to be Free?

It means to live a life from your true naturethat is to say, to not be divided from within. To appreciate and hold dear all of Life, in all its various forms and manifestations.

There is a letting go of all fear and desire to change things as they are, and that takes courage. It takes the willingness to look into and question everything one has believed, everything one has held onto. There is a solitude required. There is a letting go only to gain this unconditional freedom to be as you are.

To be free means to live in the state of wholeness or completion while simultaneously being able to move and act in the world, without being affected by the maya of the world.

(Lines written in the summer of 2009 in a moment of lucidity.)



Shared by Heather Ruce from La Mesa California (read about Heather, her Wisdom journey, and her local groups and offerings HERE)

From The Wisdom Way of Knowing by Cynthia Bourgeault, p. 9

“Perhaps the problem is not that our vision has grown too small but that we are using too little of ourselves to see… There is a vision large enough to contain not only our minds but also our hearts and souls; an understanding of our place in the divine cosmology large enough to order and unify our lives and our planet. These truths are not esoteric or occult in the usual sense of the terms; they are not hidden from sight. In the Christian West they are strewn liberally throughout the entire sacred tradition: in the Bible, the liturgy, the hymnody and chants, the iconography. But to read the clues, it is first necessary to bring the heart and mind and body into balance, to awaken. Then the One can be known – not in a flash of mystical vision but in the clarity of unitive seeing.”



Shared by Therese DesCamp from New Denver, BC Canada (read more about Therese, her Wisdom journey, and the many programs and groups she is involved in leading and participating in HERE)

From The Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia Bourgeault, p. 99-100

…(C)onstriction is a sacrament, and we have been offered a divine invitation to participate in it. …This world does indeed show forth what love is like in a particularly intense and costly way. …(T)hose sharp edges we experience as constriction at the same time call forth some of the most exquisite dimensions of love, which require the condition of finitude in order to make sense–qualities such as steadfastness, tenderness, commitment, forbearance, fidelity, and forgiveness. …(W)hen you run up against the hard edge and have to stand true to love anyway what emerges is a most precious taste of pure divine love. God has spoken his most intimate name.


Shared by Alan Mackenzie from New Zealand (read about Alan’s Wisdom journey HERE)

From Merton, T. (1958). Thoughts on solitude. New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p. 79.

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.



Shared by Susan Williams from North Carolina (read about Susan and her local Gospel of Thomas group HERE.)

From In Trouble and in Wonder: A Spiritual Commentary on the Gospel of Thomas by Lynn C. Bauman, p. 21

Gospel of Thomas, Logion 5

Yeshua says…

Come to know the One in the presence before you, and everything hidden from you will be revealed. For there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, and nothing buried that will not be raised.


Shared by Marty Schmidt, Hong Kong (read about Marty’s contribution as a Wisdom Leader HERE)

From Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, p. 17

In my own efforts to live the gospel I have found that it is virtually impossible to reach and sustain that level of ‘perfect love’ without a practice of contemplative prayer . . .. Ordinary awareness always eventually betrays itself and returns to its usual postures of self-defense and self-justification . . .. Only from the level of spiritual awareness do you see and trust that all is held in the divine Mercy . . .. You can begin to reach out to the world with the same wonderful, generous vulnerability that we see in Christ.



Shared by Sophia

From Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope, p. 25

The mercy of God does not come and go, granted to some and refused to others. Why? Because it is unconditional—always there, underlying everything. It is literally the force that holds everything in existence, the gravitational field in which we live and move and have our being.”



Shared by David Bradshaw, Phoenix, AZ

From  Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance

To forgive you have to be able to see the other person – at least momentarily – as a whole person, as an image of the Divine, containing holiness and horror at the same time…You have to learn to live well with paradox or you can’t forgive.

David Bradshaw offers a review of The Divine Dance, as well as reviews from other writing by Richard Rohr HERE



Shared by David, Mena, Arkansas

From Cynthia Bourgeault,  The Heart of Centering Prayer, p. 89-90

It’s great strength as a practice is that it begins to build (or quicken) within a person a new center of gravity through which that traditional cul-de-sac of most witnessing practice–the mind spying on itself–can be surmounted by a new ability to remain rooted in being through sensation, not reflection. This is a huge milestone. It begins to approximate the capacity for that ancient desideratum of the Song of Songs: “I sleep, but my heart is awake.” All that now remains is to transpose the usual seat of one’s identity from the narrative self to this native ground of witnessing presence.



Shared by Cory, Green Bay, WI

From Cory Groshek, Breaking Away: Book One of the Rabylon Series, p 165

It’s only after you’ve found what you want inside of you that you can find it outside of you.







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