Cyprian Consiglio is a Camaldolese Benedictine monk as well as a world-renowned musician and composer. He has written several books but none as accessible as this one.
He writes like a mystic, for other mystics, from a place of firm Christian footing, in ways that speak interreligiously to people of all backgrounds.
Consiglio has learned a great deal from Bede Griffiths and Bruno Barnhart, two of his elders in religious life, and serious contemplative adepts who also wrote persuasively about the spiritual life. Consiglio sees himself in this book very much carrying on their work.
His introduction — “An Island Is the Tip of a Mountain” — sets the tone. Our names for God, Consiglio explains, are like the tip of a mountain we see in the ocean: “It might appear that an island is floating in the vast sea, but actually every island is the tip of a mountain, rooted deep in the fathomless abyss of the ocean. Even more rooted in the fathomless are our names for God … they are merely the island that we see sticking out.”
In this book, Consiglio pursues what lies beneath the names of God as Christians understand God — as Father, Son, and Spirit — and the “universal energies” that each of these “persons” represents in us and in the world.
This sense of fathomlessness combines with those impulses common to people of all spiritual backgrounds — a desire to understand; devotion to what is understood as sacred and divine — in a quest for a contemplative spirituality to inform theology and practice in the world.
Spiritual teachers are quoted throughout, such as Carl Jung, Thomas Berry, Sri Aurobindo Bose, Abhishiktananda, Sarah Rudin, the Upanishads, and many others.
Many quotations from this powerful, memorable book might be used to summarize its contents. This one from the chapter on “Great Mother,” stood out for us:
“Our prenatal experience is an icon, even more, a physical embodiment of the relationship that we had with God and the entire universe at our inception, a relationship we can and are meant to regain, with God and the entire universe.”
This ambitious book aims to help you do that very thing.