The Courage to Deal with Negative Emotions: A Welcoming Prayer Approach


Cynthia teaching at Lake Cowichan’s  “Luminous Wisdom” Wisdom School
in April, 2019


One of the most impactful teachings I’ve come across recently is David Hawkins’ map of consciousness, which assigns energy values to various negative (low scores) and positive (high scores) emotions, as seen in the figure below:

The lowest scores – shame, guilt, apathy, grief, and fear – lead to inertia, while those a bit higher on the scale – desire, anger, and pride – generate hyperactivity. All of these, however, keep us stuck in the red zone of negativity. All of us, one would assume, prefer to be in the higher energy states of trust, optimism, and forgiveness, or higher yet – love, gratitude, joy and peace. How do we get there?

The gatekeeper emotion between the lower and higher energy states, according to Hawkins, is courage. What does it mean to deal courageously with negative emotions? Continue reading

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What is Awakening? An Energetic Christian Perspective

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“The Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from. It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns this world into a different place.”

-Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus, p. 30


I chanced upon an interview with a former sImage result for gradual awakening miles nealetudent, Miles Neale, who was recently interviewed on one of my favorite podcast series, “Buddha at the Gas Pump,” about his new book entitled, “Gradual Awakening: The Tibetan Buddhist Path of Becoming Fully Human.” One of the first questions during the interview to  Miles was, “What is awakening?” As my curiosity to hear Miles’ response was piqued, it dawned on me that I, too, am soon to publish a book with the word “awakening” in the title.[1] So how would I reply to such an important question? Continue reading

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The Struggle to Make Sense of Moral Relativism at an Elite School

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My students’ apathetic response to a clip from the movie “The Corporation” about a day trader’s enthusiastic response to the devastation of 911 and the invasion of Iraq in 1991 prompted inner soul searching about the efficacy of teaching elite international school students. Continue reading

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Practice Makes Perfect: A Missing Piece in Teaching for Purpose

Even back in 2011 I was grappling with how to teach for purpose in my “Service, Society, and the Sacred” class. This blog entry shares some new insights I’ve had recently about how to facilitate student growth towards this most vital of life tasks.


Most of us would probably agree that gaining a life purpose is among the most important ingredients of a life well-lived. It appears so fundamental to personal fulfilment and social progress that it seems imperative that we teach about it in our schools. But last semester when a classroom conversation segued my Humanities I in Action curriculum into a 3-day exploration of purpose, a brief survey of the internet and reviewing resources I read during my doctoral studies left me fairly clueless how to teach towards this goal. Indeed, my own daughter, Christa, who is working with a leading researcher in the field, explains that we are only at the beginning of understanding purpose from a research perspective. Thus, we educators are left in a quandary: how do we teach students about this all-important goal of purpose? Continue reading

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What is Love? Exploring Human Yearning for the Divine with Llewellyn Vaughan – Lee

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Llewellyn Vaughan – Lee is a Sufi teacher who has had mystical experiences since his teenage years. As a Sufi, he focuses on connecting to God through the yearnings of the heart, which when realized turn everything on its head. I was particularly taken by a teaching video on love in which he eloquently – even rapturously – explores his own experiences in the context of the Sufi understanding of love. Continue reading

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Pedagogy of the Planetarium: Journeying Beyond Outer Space

WhatsApp Image 2019-07-02 at 12.27.19 AM.jpegHolding aloft a yellow-tinted orb, the masterful presenter dramatically finished the Griffiths Observatory planetarium show “Centered in the Universe” with a final word: “Looking through a telescope, we are coming to know our home.” This was his response to those universal human questions with which he began the show: who am I, where did we come from, and why are we here? As he slowly delivered his final archetypal line, he brought the glowing sphere from above his head to his torso, where it came to rest as a darkened globe at his heart. I sat motionless, contemplating this act of educational theatre that spoke to me of my whole pedagogical philosophy in a simple gesture. Continue reading

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“It Broke Me:” Sex Education, Despair, and Empowerment in South India


Sammi and one of the Indian girls sharing warm words and a hug after HKIS girls shared their feminine hygiene lesson plan.

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