Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I recently went to a talk by Cynthia Bourgeault at Montreat College. The Emcee introduced her as one who can speak to the place "...where suffering and love meet." I found that to be true.

In her talk, she discussed ways of knowing. There's the ordinary way of knowing - from the outside - and the direct knowledge way of knowing - how you "just know" something. And, there are the "three ways of knowing" as espoused by G.I. Gurdjieff. This really caught my attention.

In this approach, we know through 1. moving, 2. emotions and 3. intellect.

In Moving, we have some intelligence through movement: gestures, dancing, cellular shifting. This is why gestures speak to me in liturgy. I love to kneel when I pray. I cross myself at the consecration of the host. I bow and fold my hands in prayer-form when I say "peace" to someone I visited in hospital.

In Emotions, this doesn't really translate to "heart" knowing - it's more about empathic knowing - chakras / solar plexus / stuff like that. She reminded me how empathy travels faster than the mind can absorb. It's why this week when my colleague Mr. Mom teared up at the farewell of Ms. China, we all "knew" he loved her deeply as a friend and our emotional response was to tear up as well.

In Intellect, that's the cognition approach. This is so common that it's an over-used muscle. I read about doing my Live United presentation but only when I actually get up and say it, moving into my space and using my emotions, will I really "know" why I "live united."

My point is that in her discussion she emphasized how the body "tells" you something that the mind can never really know. It's like riding a bike - you just "get the hang" of it.

I wonder how God knows me. My instinct is that God knows the movement of my breath, the empathic responses that spontaneously burst through me and the academic brainwork that is stuffed in the gray matter upstairs.

Showing up to this moment, I pray for awareness to "know" Love in all forms - movement, emotions, intellect - and to find harmony in these ways of knowing. I'm grateful for Cynthia Bourgeault and her brilliant insights.

How do you *know* in this moment?

Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.Proverbs 20:5 (The Message)

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