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News Feature

Stonington
Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 12, 2016 and Island Ad-Vantages, May 12, 2016 and The Weekly Packet, May 12, 2016
Maine Wisdom Ingathering slated for Stonington next month

Internationally acclaimed writer and retreat leader—and Stonington resident—Cynthia Bourgeault will host a pilot “Wisdom Ingathering” during the week of June 5-12.

More than 80 of her students from all over North America have already signed on for a week of teaching, music-making, meditation, mindful work, and play, according to a news release. The events will take place in various venues around Stonington, and many of these will be open to local residents as well.

“‘Wisdom’ is the original prototype for what we’d now call ‘mindfulness’ or ‘integral knowing,’” Bourgeault said. “It’s not knowing more, but knowing with more of you. It’s the traditional way that authentic spiritual teaching was conveyed, by engaging not only the mind but the emotions, the body, and the conscience as well.”

Bourgeault, 68, was the vicar at St. Brendan’s Episcopal Church from 1989 to 1991 before moving to Colorado to become a full-time student of Fr. Thomas Keating. Keating is the chief architect of Centering Prayer, a simple form of non-conceptual meditation which put daily sitting practice back into common circulation within the Christian tradition. Bourgeault developed her first Wisdom school in 1999 and has been leading schools all over the world for the past 17 years. In 2001 she returned to Stonington as her home base, though the growing popularity of the Wisdom school model still requires her to travel extensively.

The program for the Ingathering will be more informal for the first several days, featuring morning and late afternoon teaching sessions on aspects of spiritual practice as well as small group seminars and projects. A highlight of this time will be a two-day masterclass offered by Amir Vahab, a celebrated Persian-born musician and spiritual teacher, who made his Stonington debut at an Opera House concert on March 22.

On Friday through Sunday, June 10-12, the program will feature a series of presentations by Bourgeault on Teilhard de Chardin, the French Jesuit mystic and evolutionary thinker whose ideas are now experiencing a major renaissance among contemporary spiritual seekers. There will also be daily meditation classes and musical events.

For more information or to inquire about registration, contact Wendy Johnston, local event coordinator, at 348-3093, or christpath77@yahoo.com.