Join us for the opening night of SAND17 with Cynthia Bourgeault and Adyashanti followed by a performance with Peia.
**This evening is part of the Science and Nonduality Conference**
7:20pm – 8:10pm
Seeing with the Eye of the Heart: a.k.s.: The Contemplative Way of Knowing, Cynthia Bourgeault
Nowadays people tend to hear the word “contemplative” as simply the Christian equivalent of what most the world knows as “meditation” —i.e., stilling the mind and resting in the flow of consciousness. But in the original understanding of the early Church Fathers, contemplation was primarily a way of luminous knowledge— “knowledge impregnated by love,” as St. John Chrysostom famously characterized it. My talk will explore this profound Christian intuition that contemplation is indeed a way of knowing—in fact, arguably the closest equivalent to what we now call Nondual perception. Drawing on insights from the Hesychastic Tradition of the Christian East as well as the Western medieval spiritual classic The Cloud of Unknowing I will explore what is arguably the key Western contribution to our understanding of Nonduality: that it is not accessed by the mind alone (mind understood here as “brain”), but requires “putting the mind in the heart,” an instruction to be taken not merely as a metaphor but as an actual physiology of transformation. We will see why indeed—in the memorable words of Antoine de Saint Exupery—that “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The Paradox of Unity And Spiritual Autonomy, Adyashanti
Whether we conceive the cosmos as emerging from consciousness or consciousness emerging from the cosmos, one of the greatest miracles to arise within human experience is the dawning of self consciousness. For all of its tremendous benefits the dawning of self consciousness, which develops very early in childhood, also brings with it a degree of separation and alienation from the world, others, and even our true being. Our yearning for intimacy, God, awakening, enlightenment, and even truth is driven by the incredible potential and painful pitfalls of self consciousness. The paradox of the quest for self realization, is that in order to realize the Self we must transcend the very self consciousness that gives rise to the yearning for self realization without regressing to the pre-self conscious condition of infancy. The kaon, or riddle of enlightenment is how do we transcend self, while retaining and even enhancing, our individual autonomy? Without transcending self we remain trapped within an illusion of separation. However, to reject personal autonomy is to regress to a merged, conditioned, and essentially powerless condition. What is called for is what I call spiritual autonomy. A total embrace of radical unity, as well as individual spiritual autonomy.
Musical Performance by Peia
Peia has gathered songs from living and ancient traditions that span across the globe. She carries melodies wrinkled and wise with time, laboring faithfully to revive their language, stories and original essence. Praised for her crystalline tone and high soaring soprano voice, Peia’s music pierces the heart with bell-like clarity. Accompanying herself with charangon, harmonium and guitar, her eclectic ensemble offers enchanting renditions of timeless treasures.