'Awakened Consciousness' with Cyprian Consiglio
Cyprian Consiglio is a monk, a minstrel and an amazing mind. I wish I could find an M word that means open-hearted because he is that as well. He shared all those gifts with us generously at his workshop at St. Luke’s on November 9 to 10, 2012. Joy Croft reports.
While steeped in his own tradition of Catholic monasticism, Cyprian also has a firm grasp of the great eastern faiths and their teachings. He knows where the common ground lies and where there are genuine differences. His central message to us was the unity of all life – and that includes the unity of our own body, mind and spirit. Most faiths teach in some way that body and soul are distinct, the former somehow less worthy than the latter. Yet, if we probe deeper, we find again and again the encouragement to seek wholeness. One of the Hindu sutras teaches, The beautiful lotus flower is the mud as it grows up into the sunlight. We too are rooted in earth and can blossom in the light. The end and aim of our lives is quite simply to know this by experience.
The way to that experience is similar in most traditions. It is the long and often arduous route taught by Buddhism as meditation and in the West more often as contemplative prayer. This stilling of the spirit and opening to God can be difficult and frustrating work for our monkey minds to do. But Cyprian reminded us that we are not doing it alone. There’s more going on than we are aware of. We never know what’s happening In the darkness behind us” (which is where God is at work.) A heartening thought for those of us who struggle to be still.
So much delving into world faiths and philosophies might have proved overwhelming for our flagging intellects, had Cyprian not interspersed his talks with music. Words tend to divide ideas up and can even split hairs, but music speaks a different kind of language: one which evokes memories and feelings and makes connections. A gifted singer song writer, he sang to us about unity, peace and the beauty of life, often inviting us to join in. His CDs were on sale, and many of us took them home with us, so that we could continue singing on our journeys.
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By Joy Croft