Aspen Wisdom School (The)
The Aspen Chapel 0077 Meadowood Drive
Aspen, CO 81611,     USA

P: (970) 925-7184
F: (970) 544-9297
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The Aspen Chapel

About the Chapel:

The Aspen Chapel was built and dedicated in 1969 as an interfaith chapel open to all people.

Our Purpose:

The Aspen Chapel exists to proclaim one God universal, to enhance the spiritual life of people and to promote peace and harmony throughout the world.

The Aspen Wisdom School

G.K. Chesterton once reportedly observed, "Christianity isn't a failure; it just hasn't been tried yet." In the Christian West, we live at the endpoint of one line of expression of the Christian Mystery, where unity is routinely confused with uniformity, where orthodoxy is incorrectly thought to mean "right belief" (it really means "right praise"), and where Jesus's message of abundant life is all too often held hostage within excessively narrow and rigid forms of institutional church life.

The Aspen Wisdom School has two purposes. The first is to make available to Christians the breadth and depth of their own Christian heritage, paying particular attention to new resources and insights that come to us from the Near East and from our own Western mystical tradition. In study weeks over the past eight years we have delved deeply into Thomas Merton, Jacob Boehme, The Gospel of Thomas, Meditations on the Tarot, and The Cloud of Unknowing. We have also explored modern classics such as Jacques Lusseyran's And There Was Light and Jim Marion's Putting on the Mind of Christ. A core textbook studied by all in the school is The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clément. Our goal is to recover the true catholicity of the Christian tradition by returning to our own wellsprings.

This wider tradition is unanimous, however, in its assertion that the deeper Christianity cannot be known by the mind alone; it requires a transformation of the entire being. That is our second and in fact primary purpose. From time immemorial there have been wisdom schools to raise human consciousness and transform society, and we work with the core practices that sustain this transformation of consciousness: meditation, contemplative prayer, lectio divina, the language of sacred gesture, and the daily practices of mindfulness, inner observation, and surrender. The Aspen Wisdom school provides opportunities for weekly community interfaith meditation and regular silent retreats.

The Wisdom School recognizes, further, that the world has grown too small to support the luxury of worldwide fundamentalism, with religions deeply and murderously divided against one another. Interspirituality is at the very heart of what we are about--not in the sense of erasing the differences between the world religions, but rather of learning to relax and rejoice in their diversity. The Wisdom School has a close and cordial relationship with the Spiritual Paths Foundation here in Aspen, as well as with the Vancouver Multifaith Society. Resident teacher Cynthia Bourgeault serves on the core faculty of the Spiritual Paths Institute.

Our Teacher

The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, Ph.D., is the founder and principal teacher for the Aspen Wisdom School. An Episcopal priest and international retreat and conference leader, she is the author of four books and numerous teaching audiotapes and cd's including the most recent Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, forthcoming from Sounds True in April 2005. The Aspen Chapel stocks a small selection of Cynthia's books and tapes.

A Brief History

The Aspen Wisdom School began at nearby Christ Episcopal Church, where Bourgeault served as assisting clergy from 1994-98. When she departed for British Columbia in 1997 to become founding director of the Contemplative Society, her sessions continued as much-anticipated semi-annual teaching weeks. In 2003 the Wisdom School accepted the invitation of Aspen Chapel to move under its wing and has thrived in the Chapel's lively climate of spiritual inquiry and inclusivity. Membership has continued to grow, allowing the biannual teaching weeks to expand into a three-month winter residency.

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