Awakened Consciousness – 6 quotes from Cynthia Bourgeault’s book – Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening

by Mark Votava

41K4qxzIdbL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. A deeper and vastly more authentic Self

“Like most the great spiritual masters of our universe, Jesus taught from the conviction that we human beings are victims of a tragic case of mistaken identity.  The person I normally take myself to be – that busy, anxious little ‘I’ so preoccupied with its goals, fears, desires, and issues – is never even remotely the whole of who I am, and to seek the fulfillment of my life at this level means is to miss out on the bigger life.  This is why, according to his teaching, the one who tries to keep his ‘life’ (i.e., the small one) will lose it, and the one who is willing to lose it will find the real thing.  Beneath the surface there is a deeper and vastly more authentic Self, but its presence is usually veiled by the clamor of the smaller ‘I’ with its insatiable needs and demands.”   

2. A mini-rehearsal for the hour of our own death

“When we enter meditation, it is like a ‘mini-death,’ at least from the perspective of the ego (which is why it can initially feel so scary).  We let go of our self-talk, our interior dialogue, our fears, wants, needs, preferences, daydreams, and fantasies.  These all become just ‘thoughts,’ and we learn to let them go.  We simply entrust ourselves to a deeper aliveness, gently pulling the plug on that tendency of the mind to want to check in with itself all the time.  In this sense, meditation is a mini-rehearsal for the hour of our own death, in which the same thing will happen.  There comes a moment when the ego is no longer able to hold us together, and our identity is cast to the mercy of Being itself.  This is the existential experience of ‘losing one’s life.’”

3. Resting in God beyond thoughts, words, and feelings

“What really happens when one enters the cloud of unknowing, resting in God beyond thoughts, words, and feelings, is a profound healing of the emotional wounds of a lifetime…”

4. Would never have existed apart from struggle

“True self comes into being as a kind of sacred alchemy, through the conscious acceptance and integration of our shadow side.  It is not so much the curing of a pathology as the birthing of something that would never have existed apart from struggle…”

5. Beyond the capacity of the anxious, fear-ridden ego

“The gospel requires a radical openness and compassion that are beyond the capacity of the anxious, fear-ridden ego.”

6. Awakened consciousness

“Inner awakening is basically about breaking this cycle, opening to a new infusion of self-restraint or awakened consciousness that knocks you loose from the downed electric wire of that crazy, volatile, emotional energy.  It’s about being able to make a separation, stepping back into a more spacious inner place so that the whole pattern doesn’t just keep playing itself out mindlessly, stealing your vital life energy that can really be used for far better purposes.”

Which quote do you like the best?