Cynthia’s signature contribution to the Christian contemplative reawakening has focused on four main areas:
For more than thirty years Cynthia was a student, then colleague, of Fr. Thomas Keating, the renowned founder of the Centering Prayer movement. In addition to her own two books on the subject, she has also taught and offered Centering Prayer retreats worldwide, as well as an acclaimed online course on The Secret Embrace, Keating’s final work.
Centering Prayer is the path to a wonderful and radical new way of seeing the world. It is not, as is sometimes thought, simply an act of devotional piety, nor is it a Christianized form of other meditation methods. Cynthia cuts through the misconceptions to show that Centering Prayer is in fact a pioneering development within the Christian contemplative tradition.
In Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, Cynthia examines how the practice is related to the classic tradition of Christian contemplation; she looks at the distinct nuances of the method and explores its revolutionary potential to transform Christian life. In The Heart of Centering Prayer, Cynthia provides an overview and instruction to the practice and goes deeper to analyze what actually happens in Centering Prayer: the mind effectively switches to a new operating system that makes open-hearted, nondual perception possible.
Image: Cynthia and Thomas Keating
The Christian Wisdom Tradition
“Wisdom is not knowing more. It is knowing deeper, knowing with more of you,” writes Cynthia — and it is this different way of knowing that unlocks the real transformational force of Jesus’s still radically non-dual teaching. The Wisdom Way of Knowing and The Wisdom Jesus are Cynthia’s gateway books into this life-changing terrain.
The Wisdom Way of Knowing, which launched Cynthia’s reputation as a contemporary Wisdom teacher, was originally commissioned by the Fetzer Institute shortly after September 11, 2001, as part of their “Reawakening the American Dream” series.
The Wisdom Jesus has been a perennial favorite since its first appeared in 2008, offering tens of thousands of seekers worldwide a fresh start in a Christian faith they knew only too well. It has been translated into several languages, including most recently Latvian!
Image: This beautiful Wisdom Jesus ikon was created by Vancouver ikon writer Kathleen Symons.
The Christian Inner and Fourth Way Traditions
From the Gospel of Thomas to the “Fourth Way” of G.I. Gurdjieff, the Christian Inner (or Esoteric) tradition has been that branch of the Christian lineage most directly concerned with passing on the spiritual knowledge and practices that “put teeth” in Jesus’s radically transformative teaching.
Here you’ll find the practices of mindfulness, non-identification, conscience, three-centered awareness, and cosmic energy exchange, contexted against a metaphysical backdrop broad enough to let you see the fuller picture of our human purpose and responsibility in the wider scheme of things.
Cynthia has been a student of the Gurdjieff Work for nearly three decades, and her unique synthesis of Fourth Way and Christian mystical reference points has broken new ground not only for Christians but within the Work itself.
This work is showcased in her 2013 book The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three as well as her acclaimed book Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm, which earned her a place on the prestigious 2021 Watkins List of “the hundred most spiritually influential people in the world.” In 2021 Cynthia provided additional instruction with the publication of Mystical Courage: Commentaries on Selected Contemplative Exercises by G.I. Gurdjieff, as Compiled by Joseph Azize.
Image: Cynthia teaching at a Claymont Wisdom School: Mr. Gurdjieff Meet Mr. Teilhard
The Path of Conscious Love
Could it be that love, desire, and longing all have a critical role to play as the driveshaft of creativity? What is the divine essence of desire and how can we begin to work with desire instead of against it? Cynthia explores the nature of eros, self-emptying, and creativity in Eye of the Heart, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene and Love is Stronger than Death.
Image: Cynthia’s teacher and spiritual partner, Rafe.