Monday, August 17, 2009

The Wisdom Jesus

I could not resist a book with this title. The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault is not an orthodox Christian book. It is rather a series of contemplative studies of Jesus with insights drawn from eastern religions and a variety of mystic traditions. I appreciated the chapter on kenosis or self-emptying. Bourgeault writes,
    Within each person there is seen to reside a sacred energy of being (sometimes known as the "chi," or prana, the life force). This energy, in itself infinite, is measured out to each person in an finite amount and bestowed as our basic working capital when we arrive on this planet. The great spiritual traditions have always taught that if we can contain this energy rather than letting it leach away - if we can concentrate it, develop it, make it more intentional and powerful - then this concentrated energy will allow us to climb that ladder of spiritual ascent.

    There's another route to center: a more reckless path and extravagant path, which is attained not through storing up that energy or concentrating the life force, but through throwing it all away - or giving it all away. The unitive point is reached not through the concentration of being but through the free squandering of it; not through acquisition or attainment but through self-emptying; not through " up" but through "down." This is the way of kenosis, the revolutionary path that Jesus introduced into the consciousness of the West. (page 65)

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