Building Second Body

A Teaching Series with Cynthia Bourgeault

“Each of you has a nascent second body—and it is through this body—and only through this body—that the real causal energies—faith, hope, love, gentleness, joy, peace, courage, conscience, compassion, integrity, forgiveness —enter and change our world.”


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Cynthia Bourgeault heralds this Building Second Body teaching series as “…the leading edge of my own thinking.”  

Cynthia inspiration for offering these teaching sessions was spurred by the enthusiastic response to what has become known as Cynthia’s Eastertide Challenge, where she laid out six key practice invitations, as a means to “acknowledgeexplore, and live out of our second or Kesdjan body…”

The recordings provided here were filmed live at a small Wisdom gathering in Stonington Maine in June 2022. This new teaching series has been curated from a selection of those recorded sessions, offering a unique and practical set of instructions for developing the spiritual substances and conscious presence so needed in our world today.

Through the all-important route of steadily enlivening and subtilizing sensation/attention in the first body, one develops the second body as the vessel to hold and enact higher and finer dimensions of consciousness.  What you will find here is what Cynthia considers essential, foundational ‘technologies for transformation.”

These materials are rooted in some core concepts and applications of the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, whose body of work continues to influence Cynthia’s dynamic approach to the Wisdom path.  Having a basic introduction to Gurdjieffian writings and terminology will be helpful as an entry point to these Building Second Body sessions.  

The video teachings include over 7 hours of Cynthia’s eight teaching sessions, 4 audio recordings of inner task practices for building second body, and supplementary material referenced in the video teachings (books, chants, poetry, music, articles, and recorded zoom sessions).

NOW AVAILABLE:  Rebuilding Trust – Teaching by Cynthia Bourgeault with Matthew Wright, filmed at Mepkin Abbey in February 2022. Cynthia describes this material as a complimentary teaching series for the Building Second Body sessions. Find REBUILDING TRUST details here.

Course Content

1. What is Second Body?

  • Background on the Easter Challenge
  • Second Body/Kesdjan Body defined
  • Eastertide as a Kesdjan event
  • Classic strategies for building second body.

2. The Generation of Spiritual Substances

  • Virtues as subtle nutrients
  • The Theological Virtues and Fruit of the Spirit
  • “Making Sun in Myself”

3. The Transubstantiation of Spiritual Substances

  • ‘Four realms, four bodies’
  • Myths and misconceptions about second body
  • The second body pedagogy of struggle
  • First body as the necessary gateway to second body
  • Direct energetic feeding
  • The Gurdjieff exercises as second body builders
  • Attention through sensation and dynamic flow
  • Sensitization to our aliveness and to exchange through our quieted ‘Atmosphere’

4. The Alchemy of Suffering

  • The cosmological necessity of suffering
  • “Making Moon in Myself”
  • The Welcoming Practice as “moonmaking.”

5. Gebserian ‘Integral’ and Gurdjieffian “Imaginal” in Dialogue

  • Points of congruity between Geber’s “Integral” concepts and Gurjieff’s “Imaginal” including: causality, temporicty, luminosity, and dimensionality
  • The blind spot in the Gebserian roadmap
  • The Gurdjieff Work as a practical undergirding for Gebserian theory
  • Second body as the prerequisite for Integral emergence
  • Real “I” and freeing yourself from story

6. Holy Martyrdom: The Kesdjan Perspective

  • Dying Before you die
  • Two degrees of dying to self
  • Martyrdom as a cosmogonic force
  • Martyrdom and abundance
  • Living beyond fear
  • Transubstantiating courage

7. Cynthia’s Eastertide Challenge Revisited

  • A practical recap of Cynthia’s Easter Challenge through the lens of these teachings
  • Cynthia’s Eastertide Message and Invitation
  • Cynthia’s Eastertide Invitation: The Community Conversation Continues – Event Recording

8. Four Inner Task Practices for Building Second Body (Audio )

  1. Containment
  2. Concentration
  3. Struggle
  4. Courage

9. BONUS TEACHING: Beelzebub: Involution and Evolution Turned Upside Down

10. Supplementary Resources and Full Resource List