Wisdom’s work began when I encountered a depth dimension inside and within the Christian tradition through the writings of various mystics. Authentic relationships within community cracked me open to a yearning that had been repressed. I was a young pastor, falling in love with the intimate possibility that there may exist the possibility of actually having a soul.
I had heard of Cynthia and her books, but I had not taken a deep dive into her work. Facing unprocessed psychological pain collapsed my self-image enough to discover that existential crisis was an invitation to discover a deeper nesting pattern of identity—embodied, dynamic, heartful and not belonging to me at all.
I soon discovered a phenomenological path of awakening through the door of Centering Prayer and through the articulation of Cynthia’s writings. Almost immediately, through her, I came to recognize an authentic spiritual transmission and a real teacher. Something in me came home to something in the world. The beginnings of conscious co-creation began, and the unfolding has been occurring ever since.
Through Cynthia’s book, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three, I discovered the work of G.I. Gurdjieff. I soon found my way into a Fourth Way group in the Bennett line. Participation in the work provided several complementary additions to my contemplative practice – namely, direct engagement with and appropriation of the moving center of intelligence, vast yet particular cosmological maps, along with a community of sincere seekers.
I returned to the US after having lived in Europe for five years in June of 2019. I found myself at the Claymont Society for Continuous Education for Wisdom School with Cynthia in December of that year. Through that tiny potent package of a human being, and the collective opening of the gathered collective, something radiant entered the field, to which something in me said, ‘yes.’
Until I had the Wisdom context, Christianity had never fully made sense to me in a way where I could say I’m all in on this path, echoing the reverberation of St. Paul’s words, “Whether I live or die, I am the Lord’s.” Through the lens of Wisdom and the grace of living teachers, I’ve been blessed in learning to see how everything I do matters, for everyone, and everything, everywhere, in all realms, in and beyond all time. This changes everything. Including the way I parent little humans and direct my energies in daily life.
Christianity has revealed itself as a legitimate, cosmic, practical path, shaken up, pressed down and flowing back in and through Wisdom, as invitation to live prayer. To become love. A path where I make sacred— or make cursed— the ground upon which I walk with each breath I take. It becomes an invitation to become Christ and meet Jonathan over and over as if for the first time in and through the created order. Subject to subject to subject.
It is this handing back of our lives in the streams of newness and wonder where I find the words penned by the poet T.S. Eliot to be the best indicator of the presence of Wisdom in action. Pointing not to an unknowable Mystery but to an endlessly knowable one where we are needed in the alchemy of uniting “fire and rose.”
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half heard, in the stillness
Between the two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
T.S. Eliot in, Little Gidding V.
More About Jonathan Steele
Jonathan Steele, M.A., is a retreat leader, spiritual director, and emerging spiritual teacher working within the lineage of Christian Wisdom. He has studied directly with world class Enneagram teachers on two continents over the past 7 years, all with ties to the work of G.I. Gurdjieff and the 4th Way. He serves as an Anam Cara to many and currently accompanies the sick, dying and their families as a hospice chaplain. Jonathan is the co-founder of Origin and Omega, a company utilizing Wisdom frameworks to transmit the force of presence and unveil the latent potentiality of personhood. He is a former pastor and church planter and is a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas where he is currently in discernment as an aspirant to the priesthood.