Encountering Silence

Encountering Silence

Cynthia Bourgeault: The Heart of Silence (Part Two)

April 08, 2019

Cynthia Bourgeault continues her conversation with the Encountering Silence team, offering insight into silence as a deeper way of knowing, contemplative Christianity as a unique spiritual path, and centering prayer as a singular practice of deep meditation.

This is part two of a two-part interview. Click here to listen to part one.

"There is no 'toxic' silence, because in real silence there is a power of presence... when you enter silence, you are never alone, you enter a luminous imaginal stream of help and reality at a higher order of being." — Cynthia Bourgeault

"What has really capped and is a cancer in Christian spirituality nowadays... is the anger... the only antidote to toxic anger lies at the level of the unitive heart." — Cynthia Bourgeault
She offers us a new way of thinking about what we have, in the past, referred to as "toxic silence" on this podcast. "There is no toxic silence," she declares, going on to draw a helpful distinction between true silence and what she describes as "a destroying of the voice." She also offers insight into what she sees as the important tasks facing our time as we seek to embrace new "artforms" of silence, as alternatives to some of the sexist, authoritarian, or obsolete ways in which silence has been practiced — or marginalized — in the past.

Her thoughts on the challenges facing Christians today — particularly the temptation to give in to anger — seem particularly timely, not only for contemplatives but for all who seek to integrate spirituality with the demands of everyday life. Instead of anger and panic, she invites us to stand present, and to remain present with whatever arises, in fidelity to "the highest benchmark of love."
"The highest benchmark of love, courtesy, generosity and beauty that is put into the world will never vanish from the world. And when it's time, it will restore itself instantly." — Cynthia Bourgeault
Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

Cynthia Bourgeault, Love is the Answer: What is the Question?
Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Heart of Centering Prayer
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus
Cynthia Bourgeault, Love is Stronger Than Death
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Way of Knowing
G. I. Gurdjieff, In Search of Being: The  Fourth Way to Consciousness
Jakob Boehme, Genius of the Transcendent
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu
Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing
Thomas Keating, Reflections on the Unknowable
John Chrysostom, On the Incomprehensible Nature of God
Robert Bly, Iron John: A Book About Men
William Meninger, The Loving Search for God: Contemplative Prayer and the Cloud of Unknowing
George Fox, The Journal of George Fox
Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer
Pythagoras, The Golden Verses
Plato, The Complete Works
Doc Childre, The Heartmath Solution
The Dalai Lama, Refining Gold: Stages in Buddhist Contemplative Practice
Sigmund Freud, The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud
Carl Jung, The Portable Jung
John Welwood, Toward a Psychology of Awakening
Franz Kafka, The Complete Stories
Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ
Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love
Bruno Barnhart, The Good Wine: Reading John from the Center
Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems
Elias Marechal, Tears of An Innocent God
Maurice Nicoll, Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky

Episode 59: Encountering the Heart of Silence: A Conversation with Cynthia Bourgeault (P...