NOTE: Cynthia’s eCourse is now available on demand with Spirituality and Practice: Becoming Truly Human: Gurdjieff’s Obligolnian Strivings
An invitation from Cynthia:
For years I’ve been wanting to try an experiment: to see whether Gurdjieff’s relatively little known “Obligolnian Strivings” might form the basis for a dynamic and deeply transformative Lent. G. (George) I. (Ivanovich) Gurdjieff (1866-1949) was an enigmatic, Armenian-born spiritual teacher who early on became convinced that human beings had fallen into a kind of collective amnesia, forgetting both their purpose and their responsibilities in the greater web of planetary life. He proposed his five Obligolnian Strivings as the yardstick by which a truly human level of consciousness could be measured and the guideposts through which it could be achieved.
For several reasons, I chose Lent as the best time to offer this course:
First, it’s collective. So much of what we do in a traditional Lenten observance is aimed at flexing our ascetical muscles and deepening personal devotion. But what our planet desperately needs right now is a larger picture: a renewed vision of a shared morality.
Second, it’s universal. The subject matter under consideration here is not tied to any specific religious tradition, but offers its wisdom on behalf of all humankind.
Third, it’s practical, with real effects in the real world. A single one of these strivings, if practiced consistently by even a small group of people, could significantly change the spiritual state of our planet.
The retreat itself steps off bright and early Ash Wednesday morning, after an orientation session this Monday, February 27. Read more and sign up:
Looking forward to being with you,
eCourse Outline: Becoming Truly Human: Gurdjieff’s Obligolnian Strivings
Monday, February 27 – Wednesday, April 12
G. I Gurdjieff (1866-1949) was a visionary, Armenian-born spiritual teacher who became convinced that there were ancient schools of Wisdom still in existence that preserved the true roadmap to our purpose as human beings and our responsibilities in the greater web of planetary life. His teaching might be characterized as an early run-up on what we would nowadays call “mindfulness training,” attached to a highly original cosmology. His five Obligolnian Strivings are a yardstick by which a truly human level of consciousness can be measured. They are also guideposts for achieving this state of awareness.
This Lent we are pleased to offer you this special opportunity to explore Gurdjieff’s powerful spiritual practices minus the intellectual speculation and secrecy sometimes associated with his teachings. Cynthia is one of the foremost contemporary bridgebuilders between the Gurdjieff Work and the contemporary spiritual sensibility. An Episcopal priest and retreat leader, she participated actively in the Gurdjieff Work for ten years and still remains deeply involved in its teaching and articulation. Like Gurdjieff himself, she discovered that these practices opened the door to deepening and grounding her own Christian practice, and she has been committed to extending the interfaces through workshops, writing, and now this e-course.
You will receive 20 emails which include:
- a clear, thoughtful orientation about Gurdjieff and the role that the Obligolnian Strivings play in his vision;
- Cynthia’s commentaries that unpack the five strivings and two further foundational practices from Gurdjieff;
- opportunities for conscious reflection on the teachings;
- audio divina, sacred music and chants to draw out another dimension of the teachings;
- spiritual practices to deepen your understanding;
- a Practice Circle — an online forum open 24/7 — where you can share with other participants from around the world and receive further guidance from Cynthia on bringing this wisdom and these practices into your daily life.
These collective, universal, and practical teachings are an excellent match for Lent. Obviously, this is not going to be your usual Lenten fare. But you will cover the same basic inner terrain: repentance (understood as an entry into the larger mind), renewal, and amendment of life.
Would you like to browse a full list of our resources by subject categories? A complete list of all our Resources by Category available HERE.