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The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming An Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart Hardcover – October 13, 2003


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The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming An Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart + The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind--A New Perspective on Christ and His Message + Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078796896X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787968960
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"a bold and visionary work." (Spirituality & Health, May/June, 2004)

Review

"Drawing on resources as diverse as Sufism, Benedictine Monasticism, the Gurdjieff Work, and the string theory of modern physics, Cynthia Bourgeault has crafted her own unique vision of the Wisdom way in this very accessible book, nicely balanced between concept and practice."
— Gerald May, senior fellow, Shalem Institute, and author, Addiction and Grace and Will and Spirit

"The spiritual wisdom and practical suggestions in this lively and beautiful book will be helpful to many who find themselves setting out on the interior journey."
— Bruno Barnhart, a Camaldolese monk and author, Second Simplicity: The Inner Shape of Christianity

"Cynthia Bourgeault's book is a valuable contribution to the much-needed reawakening of spiritual practice within a Christian context. Her sincerity, good sense, metaphysical depth, and broad experience make her a source to be trusted."
— Kabir Helminski, Sufi Shaikh, the Threshold Society

"This book is a precious gem, a short and brilliant synthesis of the world's great wisdom traditions. Clear, concise, inspiring and poetic."
— Joan Borysenko, author, Inner Peace for Busy People and Inner Peace for Busy Women

"With consummate skill and dazzling clarity, Cynthia Bourgeault rescues the ancient knowledge of wisdom practices found in all the great traditions and teaches us how to become true instruments of God's glory."
— Toinette Lippe, author, Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I haver read this book several times and continue to dive into if for more.
Elizabeth Buss
This is a very interesting book and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Christian mysticism or mysticism.
Amazon Customer
For Wisdom cannot be claimed exclusively by any path; rather, it underlies all the great paths to inner knowledge.
Ruth Henriquez Lyon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Henriquez Lyon VINE VOICE on May 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book won't appeal to those who believe that our rational mind is the source of our greatest meaning and truth. For, according to the ancient tradition known as Wisdom, the human mind's full scope includes heights and depths which rationality can never encompass. Neglecting these other regions of our being leads to a limited state of mind, known by the Wisdom tradition as sleep. Yes, that's right, the more invested we are in our intellect, our ego, and our attempts at logical control of the world around us, the more asleep we really are.

This book is about waking from that sleep. And Bourgeault, an ordained Episcopal priest, has written it very clearly and rationally. Which is fitting, since to find wholeness we want to expand our minds beyond rationality, not do away with it. Bourgeault's particular gift here is her ability to teach about the Wisdom tradition from an interfaith perspective, without presenting too much information about too many different religious paths. For Wisdom cannot be claimed exclusively by any path; rather, it underlies all the great paths to inner knowledge. Bourgeault organizes her material by focusing on the kernel of truths shared by the Christian, Jewish, and Sufi traditions.

She defines Wisdom, at the start of the book, as "a precise and comprehensive science of spiritual transformation that has existed since the headwaters of the great world religions and is in fact their common ground." And yet, even though this "science" appears worldwide, it has, in many cultures, been lost or watered down over the millennia for various reasons.
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75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Carleton B. Bakkum on March 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
An Episcopal priest myself, time and again while reading "The Wisdom Way of Knowing" I wanted to jump up, rejoice and exclaim, "Yes, this is what I've come to about Christianity after all these years!" It was like drinking draughts of crystal clear water. With a graceful touch, the author peels back layer after layer of accretions to the faith to leave one close to the pulsing heart of the tradition. She obviously lives this path and warrants the name "teacher." Do read this book. And practice the prayer and path to which it points. (Couldn't resist a little sermon.)
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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Linda A. Elston on March 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have read Cynthia Bourgeault's THE WISDOM WAY OF KNOWING five times now. From start to finish, I find what I always find in her writing - the rich, inner tradition of Christianity which is so universally appealing. I have probably read her chapter on Freedom and Surrender ten times, and I quote my favorite lines, "Spirituality at its no-frills simplest is learning not to do anything in a state of internal brace. It is never worth the cost."
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Ray Barnes on February 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you are a student of the Gnosis and want to learn more about it, and about mysticism within the Western Wisdom traditions, this is as good a place to start as anything. Unlike some other literature of this kind of subject, it is clear, lucid and very readable. The author is an ordained Episcopal priest, but esoteric Christianity is to her I believe a piece of a bigger puzzle, and a frame of reference in particular. She quotes a bit from other enlightened authors, past and present, such as Jakob Boehme. There is also an excellent recommended reading list for further study.
The book is short but covers a great deal of ground in little time, so kudos here for the editing.
Recommended with enthusiasm.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Richard G. Petty on August 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in meditation and contemplation.

The author is an Episcopal priest and retreat leader, but her message and her sources stretch well beyond the Christian world.

The book begins with a challenging forward by Thomas Moore. Who asks us to challenge some of the assumptions built powerfully into he roots of the modern world: that the best - perhaps only - way to understand something is to dissect it; that standardized education is the best way to educate the young and that prisons are an effective way to deal with crime. Each is questionable.

Cynthia takes these questions and many others in this beautifully written and satisfying book.

As an example, she takes the words:
Individual
Freedom
Happiness
Surrender

Each is deeply charged with meaning in our Western culture. The same words also have deep meanings in our spiritual heritage. The interesting thing is that in the two realms the words have diametrically opposite meanings.

It is very valuable to see and understand this: many people want to embark upon their spiritual journey without knowing what it entails. I once saw a man who came to an introductory presentation by a well-known teacher. He got very upset when it was suggested that the work would need some sacrifice, discipline and effort. He was not being asked to give a lot of money to the teacher, in fact quite the opposite. But he thought that the spiritual path was a shortcut for getting more "stuff." Cynthia demonstrates the fallacy of this belief.

She also shows that the genuine spiritual path is available to anyone who is prepared to dedicate a little time to it.
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