Integral Light Shining in the Dark: An Advent Teaching by Cynthia Bourgeault

Exploring Advent through the Eyes of Jean Gebser and G. I. Gurdjieff

In this groundbreaking teaching, Cynthia Bourgeault takes us on a deep dive into the profoundly Christian and incarnational mysticism at the root of Jean Gebser’s Integral Evolutionary theory. She explores how some of Gebser’s core ideas, particularly around time, transparency, spiritual generativity, and “intensification of the present” open up whole new windows of insight on classic Advent themes. She also explores how the great incarnational themes of Advent illuminate and “shelter” Gebser’s thinking, transforming it from an intellectual tour de force to a luminous offering of the heart—and how the practical, attention-based “exercises” developed Gurdjieff can help to “put legs” under the whole enterprise and offer us a way forward in our own uncertain times.

This retreat was originally offered on the ground at Garrison Institute during the third week of Advent, December 10-15, 2021. The audio files include over 15 hours of Cynthia’s ten teaching sessions, five Gurdjieff contemplative practices, plus a short introductory overview of each session. The audio files have been slightly edited for technical clarity but preserve both the content and the flavor of the remarkable original event.

Some prior familiarity with the teaching of Jean Gebser is strongly recommended, but not required. If you’re a newcomer to the Gebserian terrain and Gebser’s five-hundred page masterpiece The Ever-Present Origin feels a bit daunting, Jeremy Johnson’s Seeing Through the World offers a concise and enormously helpful overview.

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