The 2019 Living Wisdom Program

The Tau Center

Sat January 12th 2019 9:00 am – Sat April 13th 2019 4:00 pm (CST)

A new series of workshops in 2019 will continue our exploration of the Wisdom Tradition, in the lineage of Cynthia Bourgeault. Registration starts November 4, 2018.

Contemplative Outreach Chicago presents a new series of four full day workshops, each dedicated to a theme of wisdom in the Christian contemplative tradition. The vision of this program is to deepen the contemplative wisdom in each participant. Based on the core practice of Centering Prayer, this program will increase awareness of and openness to the divine indwelling through additional practices which are founded in the Wisdom tradition.

Wisdom teaching builds on a strong foundation of traditional Christian mystical teaching and contemplative practice, approaching them through the contemporary lenses of mindfulness, nondual awakening, and interspiritual dialogue.


The program consists of four Saturday workshops:

January 12:        Mystical Poetry, with Alison Hine

February 9:       The Welcoming Prayer Practice as Embodied Wisdom, with Alan Krema

March 9:       The Wisdom of Sophia, with Rami Shapiro

April 13:             The Listening Heart, with Jeff Ediger

Location: The Tau Center, 26W171 Roosevelt Rd, Wheaton, Illinois

Format: Each Saturday session will begin at 9:00am and end at 4:00pm. Lunch will be provided.

Registration: Register online below, or use this mail-in form.

Cost: Through January 12, you may register for the complete four-session series for $130. Alternatively, you may register for individual workshops @ $40 each. (Scholarships available.)

Questions: Please send an email to

Workshop Descriptions

Mystical Poetry During Times of Trouble - January 12

During these dangerous and apocalyptic times— times of a deep unveiling— the voices of the Prophets and the Mystics rise up to awaken the soul of humanity to its true conscience and to the light and fire of spirit within each of us.

Using digital images created by the Rev. Alison Hine and a collective, contemplative, innovative form of “Visual Midrash,” we will dive into these sacred verses.

Mystics are messengers from the invisible world and their words are more than poetic, they carry a spiritual force and transmission that is meant to awaken and remind us of who we truly are. Through our practice of presence, we will cultivate together an openness and receptivity to the wisdom coming through mystical poetry illuminated with digital images. We will also explore some of the barriers that block our capacity to listen deeply within our own hearts.

Alison Hine is a long term student in the Diamond Approach. This is a contemporary mystical school founded by A. H. Almaas. She is the manager of the Small House for Contemplation, an interfaith outreach of the Episcopal Church of Incarnation in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She leads and facilitates spiritual groups and retreats, focusing on the practice of presence and the wisdom of Jesus through the Gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene and Philip.  She is a digital iconographer and has created images to illuminate these sacred wisdom texts along with the rich heritage of Christian, Hebrew and Sufi mystical poetry. She is a monk and priest in the Oriental Orthodox Order of the West. Alison retired from psychotherapy private practice after more than 30 years. Her work now focuses on spiritual development and transformation. She is married and has a grown son who lives in New York City. She loves beauty, silence and the joy of simple living.

The Welcoming Prayer Practice - February 9

This workshop will introduce the basics of the Welcoming Prayer Practice and explore the embodied Wisdom dimension of the Welcoming Prayer. We will explore attentiveness to the wholeness of our being and open to the knowledge and presence resident in our bodies. We will open ourselves to a deepening sense of presence via Centering Prayer and the Welcoming Prayer Practice.  We will explore the calling of living in a higher mode of consciousness, one of abundance and liberation. The invocation comes with responsibility to remove the obstacles we own in our body which arise from the addictive and reactive structures that restrict our growth.

Alan Krema is a Wisdom student with Cynthia Bourgeault and is a staff facilitator at Wisdom Schools. He has completed the Living School program at the Center for Action and Contemplation. He is a long time practitioner of centering prayer, a certified presenter of centering prayer and welcoming prayer for Contemplative Outreach, and a facilitator of several centering prayer groups. Alan currently serves as chapter coordinator for Contemplative Outreach Chicago.

The Wisdom of Sophia - March 9

“Unless we allow the mystery of the Divine Feminine to flow into, irradiate, illumine, and penetrate every area of our activity and to create in them all harmony, justice, peace, love, ecstasy, and balance, we will die out and take nature, or a large part of it, with us. Unless we embrace Lady Wisdom in all her subtlety and flexibility, and also searing love dissolving all structures and dogmas, all prisons in which we have so passionately imprisoned ourselves—we are lost.” (Andrew Harvey, The Return of the Mother, adapted with permission).

The Book of Genesis tells us that reality is tohu va-vohu(1:2): wild, chaotic, and incapable of holding form. The Book of Ecclesiastes agrees: ha kol havel, says The Teacher, everything is impermanent and fluid; nothing lasts (1:2).  Lady Wisdom is this wildness, and hence the best guide to living with it. Her teachings, embedded in the Hebrew and Greek Bibles, are passionate and powerful calls to understand the nature of reality and how best to live in it simply, boldly, justly, and with a deep sense of grace. Our goal in this workshop is to learn how to do just that.

Drawing on the biblical books of Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon, we allow ourselves to be directly addressed by Wisdom, and to respond to Her teachings within the facts of our everyday lives. Blending contemplative study with chanting and Passage Meditation, we will explore four questions: Who is Lady Wisdom? Where Can She Be Found? What Does She Teach? and How May We Live Her Teachings?

This is not a workshop about Wisdom but a deep encounter with and embracing of Wisdom. No prior knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, or even the Bible is necessary. All you need is a willingness to embrace and be embraced by She who is the source of all.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro, PhD, is a Jewish practitioner of Perennial Wisdom and an award–winning author of more than thirty books on religion and spirituality. He received rabbinical ordination from the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, and holds a PhD in religion from Union Graduate School. A chaplain with the USAF for three years, a congregational rabbi for 20, and a professor of religious studies for 10, Rabbi Rami currently helps direct the One River Foundation (, writes the Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler column for Spirituality and Health magazine, and hosts the magazine’s weekly radio show, Essential Conversations with Rabbi Rami. His newest book is The World Wisdom Bible (Turner Publishing).

Cultivating a Listening Heart - April 13

“…as the eye perceives light and the ear perceives sound, the heart is the organ for meaning.” David Steindl-Rast, A Listening Heart

“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”  Proverbs 20:5

An interviewer once asked Mother Teresa, “When you pray, what do you say to God?” She replied, “I don’t talk, I simply listen.”  “Ah, then,” he asked, “what is it that God says to you…?” “He also doesn’t talk,” she said. “He also simply listens.”

We have difficulty conceiving of such an exchange of welcoming without the aid of words. This is because our conventional modes of listening do not afford it much vitality beyond subservient attention to speech.

We might then wonder why, when God offered to give Solomon whatever gift he desired, he passed up popular favors such as wealth and fame. Instead, he asked to be given a “listening heart.” Solomon must have understood that the heart is the organ of spiritual perception, the seat of divine presence, and the place where wisdom dwells. Given these astounding features, a heart that has the capacity to listen must be worth its weight, ten-fold, in gold!

This workshop will awaken participants to images of listening which recognize it as having its own agency, independent of speech. It will also open us up to the heart’s capacity for discernment so as to hear not just what is said, but “the heart of the matter.” And we will consider how such modes of attention are particularly useful for listening to pregnant silence, the preferred form of divine eloquence as well as a defining characteristic of human being. And while it is important to resist reducing listening to mere “skill,” we will also consider practices which facilitate the cultivation of a listening heart.

Jeff Ediger  Jeff’s fascination with listening began with his choice of an undergraduate major in Therapeutic Communication. This focus of study then prompted him to choose work as a mental health counselor at Philhaven Psychiatric Hospital in Pennsylvania, and subsequently in the Dupage County Health Department in Wheaton, Illinois. Prompted by a desire to translate the creative forms of therapeutic dialogue into everyday interaction, he then pursued doctoral studies in Communication at the University of Illinois (UC). The image of “a listening heart” contributed much to his choice of listening as the topic for both his doctoral thesis and subsequent post-doctoral studies in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago


Registration starts November 4, 2018. Through January 12, you may register for the complete four-session series for $130. Alternatively, you may register for individual workshops @ $40 each. (Scholarships available.)

Note: After January 9, online registration is not available for the first workshop. If you wish to register for Mystical Poetry, please email

It will also be possible to register at the door for the workshops, if space for additional participants is available.


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The Tau Center

26W171 Roosevelt Rd, Wheaton, IL 60187, USA

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