Three Centered Awareness from Cynthia’s teaching resonated powerfully for me when I was introduced to it experientially during the Mega Wisdom School at Kanuga in November 2015.
Yet, the changes I have begun to notice and experience have taken on a bit more velocity since Bob Sabath’s invitations to attend wisdom school and later, an intensive at Claymont where we practiced Wisdom teachings and the Gurdjieff movements, and to participate in his on-line work group with a weekly aim to practice with what speaks to us from a selection of Maurice Nicoll’s writings, the Gospel of Thomas, Psalm and Gospel narratives.
These fourth way teachings, while noted as esoteric, have a practical purpose in my everyday life: they are instructions that can help me to awaken or “break out of prison”, as Nicoll writes, for a brief moment, to remember who I am.
One of the teachings from Nicoll that resonates for me is how life and how we respond is our teacher, and that where we are and what we are experiencing is where we need to be to do our work. Nicoll also wrote about impressions from Gurdjieff’s teaching: food, air, and the impressions of life that come to us – noticing those of great beauty that sustain and feed us.
What does my life feel like sometimes in light of these teachings and work?
A few weeks ago, I was in North Augusta, SC, where my sister lives to help her with clearing out my mother’s belongings in her condo to ready it for sale, as my mother lives in a full care facility to meet her physical care needs. Our time together during this clearing was bittersweet – full of memories, letting go, tears, and laughter. My sister and I while close drew even closer.
A week later, it was time to fly home.
I was distracted after walking into the airport, and I noticed this. I could not quite figure out the right line to be in to clear the security checkpoint. I noticed that too, stopped, surrendered, picked a line to stand in and collected myself, breathing and watching my fellow passengers as we shared a moment in time.
I had the feeling that I was being closely observed; yet I did not see anyone looking at me. My fellow passengers were in their own worlds, checking phones, in conversation, juggling their belongings to pass thru security. I was another anonymous passenger waiting with them in line.
A little boy was looking up at me smiling, one hand stretched upward holding a purple plastic orb. He placed it in my hand.
“What is this?” I asked.
“My Chapstick!”, he replied grinning. Then he carefully showed me how to open it, so I could see the reddish-purple goo inside the orb.
“Wow, I have never seen Chapstick in a container like this before!”
“Guess how old I am?”, was his rapid response.
I shook my head. “Five!”, with the high–five gesture of his little hand towards me.
He did not miss a beat. “How old are you?”
“I will be sixty this year!”, not missing a beat either, and laughing at the surprise on his sweet face. “That is a lot of years, right?”
He sagely nodded his head. I looked over at his Dad who was trying to contain himself, and grinned at him wondering what the little boy’s next question might be.
“Guess what I will be when I grow up?”
I was impressed that at five he already had a sense of what he wanted to be. His words were ‘will be’. Of course, I had to know.
“Please tell me what you will be!’
“When I grow up, I will be working in a toy store!”
I started laughing, and I looked over to his Dad again, who quipped, “If they pay him in toys, it will be a good thing…”
“Miss….Miss…can you hear me?”
I looked in the direction of the woman’s voice, realizing that I had lost track of time.
“Miss, please come forward now, it’s your turn.”, the TSA agent said.
And she was smiling!
I dropped my heavy backpack onto the x-ray conveyor belt, and stepped through the scanner, unencumbered and free.
The realization arose then. Perhaps I had been feeding, yet even more graciously, I had been fed – pure joy.
Laura Copeland lives in Nashville, TN, with her husband, and sweet 14 yr old puppy dog, Tailor. She has studied Cynthia’s books and on-line courses for several years, and attended wisdom schools during the last two.
From her experience at the Three Centered Awareness Wisdom School at Claymont in 2016, she brought together a small group to practice and study Cynthia’s, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, which meets at Vanderbilt University in St. Augustine’s Chapel. Another outcome from the Enneagram in Motion intensive at Claymont in March, 2017, led to inviting Jeanine Siler Jones to facilitate a wisdom weekend intensive in January, 2018, at Christ Church Cathedral for this group, and the three Centering Prayer groups at the Cathedral, where Laura serves as a facilitator and group coordinator.
In addition to participating in Bob Sabath’s Fourth Way online work group, she is part of a Fourth Way work group that she travels to meet with monthly.
Photos taken by Laura Copeland. She says, “The butterfly and bee shots were taken while I was en route, yet felt led to stop and shoot photos… the rest.. fascination with light.”