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Meet Alan MacKenzie from New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. Here is what Alan has shared with us about his Wisdom journey:
Pierre Lacout (1985) once wrote: “God is Silence”. I wonder if he wasn’t correct in assuming that this is the common parlance which brings us into communion with one another. It is hard to describe the feeling of oneness — but there is a deep sense of unity when we are silent with open hearts and minds. All of us are enriched by the diversity of experience – it opened me up to see with new eyes and hear with new ears, those teachings which are now part of our familiar knowing.
I like to consider myself an ‘active’ Contemplative, endeavouring to understand (and eventually live out) the mystical teachings of St. John of the Cross, St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Evelyn Underhill, and Amma Cynthia Bourgeault. I believe that wisdom CAN [and does] come out of ‘deeper way of knowing’. In my experience, curious people often seek the wisdom way — a space which seems to “crack open the Ego reality” opening wide the doors of perception within the ordinary… offering the hopeful findings of the inner voice of compassion, and unitive, nondual Wisdom.
As a “Christ-follower” I’ve come to suspect that the most important elements on this wisdom sojourn is for me to improve my abilities to ‘see’ or understand how my beliefs (worldview) are ultimately shaped. I also believe the potential for true and deep transformation increases with the ‘seismic’ proportions of our life’s precipitating events — shaking the very foundations of the individual’s assumptions about life and perhaps about furthering individuation to “create a distinction between a true inner self and the social self that has been dominant”. (Stein, 2014; Jung, 1915)
Therapist from 2004 to present; GROUP FACILITATOR and TEACHING ELDER with MTM Australia, 2005 – 2009; pastor-in-training, 2000 to 2004
For growing and strengthening community through connection and conversation, and sharing resources for practice, study, and reflection:
Highlights of the path:
I have learned that my contemplative practice is any act, habitually entered into with my whole heart, as a way of awakening, deepening, and sustaining a contemplative experience of the inherent holiness of the present moment. If I’m not careful, however, the demands of each day’s events easily drown out the unassuming importance of fidelity to those simple acts that intimately awaken me to the ultimate meaning and value of those same daily events. Remaining faithful to my contemplative practices calls for the integrity of remaining faithful to a commitment that nobody sees; it consists of giving myself over with all my heart to simple acts which, on the surface, seem to be but the incidental passage of time.
If I remain faithful to this unassuming path of fidelity toward daily contemplative practices, the subtle awareness of the depths to which they grant access begins to permeate the very texture of my daily experience of living. Slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, fidelity to our contemplative practices evolves into a habitual awareness that does not miss the surprise appearance of God showing up…
Finding my contemplative practice is any event that occurs in each and every granting of contemplative experience in which the divinity of the present moment is realized. Flowing out from each discovery is the possibility of then learning to practice my contemplative practice by learning to “hang out in the neighbourhood” where the granting of spontaneous contemplative experience of the moment occur. I try to live this way in community with other wisdom seekers.
Importance and influence of Cynthia’s teaching:
Were Cynthia born back in 0 AD, people would have called her Rabonni — all who heard and understood her deep truths. I often call her “Amma” Cynthia — as she is the closest to a true Desert Mother I could ever imagine. She holds the mind of a Rhodes Scholar within the heart of a true Contemplative. As a wisdom teacher, she rivals the greatest women mystics known who helped shape Christianity to the post-modern era. Cynthia will undoubtedly be remembered with St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, Hildegard von Bingen, St. Clare of Assisi, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Julian of Norwich. When Amma Cynthia posts her writings, or makes visits to New Zealand to speak with us, I hang on her every word. If I’m sounding more like a groupee than a proselyte, it’s likely because I am one. I adore her in every way.
Inspiring Words of Wisdom (Community members can share inspirational quotes 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.
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