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Holy Brokenness: The Ways of Wisdom, Vera de Chalambert (VoD)

Recording of a 3-part Webinar Series with Vera de Chalambert

Recorded on December 1, 8, and 15, 2018

Watch in Video on Demand


Nothing, the Jewish mystics tell us, is as whole as a broken heart…

The world breaks our hearts wide open; and it is this openness itself that mends us, redeems us, makes us whole. As we struggle to integrate the deep challenges emerging in these Anthropocene times, never has it been more important to embrace brokenness and let it become our ally in our healing process and the healing of the world. Paradoxically it is our relationship with the broken that determines our intimacy with the Real. If we are always trying to evade the impermanence, imperfection and incompleteness of life, we might never suspect the grace that unfolds when we stop running and lean in for a kiss. How much life can we tolerate? How big is our Nonduality? What gets to be included and what is sent into exile? And how do we bring it all back into relationship? This is the feminine path – nothing is excluded, nothing is discarded, nothing is rejected, everything is met in the surrender of the awakened heart.

“There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in.”

This course will explore the theme of holy brokenness through the lens of comparative religion and delve into the paradox of divine brokenness through teachings from various spiritual traditions. We will focus on the nature of feminine wisdom and explore sacred narratives of brokenness from the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist cosmologies, including the great primordial shattering of divine vessels in Lurianic Kabballah, the stories of Hindu Goddesses that transmit radical wholeness through holy brokenness, as well as the theological implications of Christological wounds, and of the Buddhist notion of Bodhisattva, a teaching that awakened consciousness does not in fact merge into nirvana, but instead chooses to remain in the brokenness of reality; in solidarity and relatedness with all beings, until all beings are free. That things will fall apart in our lives, despite our greatest efforts is as inevitable as breath. Indeed, no matter how spiritual, how awake we might be, no matter how clear our intention, or good our karma, there is only one certainty: we will all without exception experience loss, heartbreak and disappointment of a regular human life. Whether it is death, divorce, disease or failure that shakes up our world and makes us tremble, whether it is a broken dream or a broken bone that brings us to our knees, brokenness is an essential part of the human experience and a jewel of the spiritual process. Our brokenness is not a mistake, but an invitation to give up on our projects of fixing ourselves, fixing reality and open to life as it is, in all its vulnerability, all its imperfection.


About Vera de Chalambert

Vera de Chalambert is a spiritual storyteller and scholar of comparative religion. She speaks and writes about spiritual culture, mindfulness in the modern world and the Divine Feminine. Vera holds a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. Her work explores the meeting place of creativity, psychology and spirituality and is informed by interspiritual insights from the world’s great wisdom traditions.

More from Vera:


tv_demand-iconAll the sessions are recorded and will be available to watch any time. Check your email for details. Once you signup for the course on our website you will need to also register with Zoom. Any questions? Read our FAQ for webinar support.


Course Agenda:


Week 1: Brokenness Through the Jewish Tradition

Lurianic Kabbalah and the dialectics of brokenness. Tikkun Olam and social justice. Broken temple, broken tablets and the hermeneutics of exile. Wrestling with the angels.

Week 2: Brokenness Through the Christian and Muslim Traditions

Wounds of Christ, Kenosis, the Black Madonna. The Beloved, the Broken Hearted and the Sufi tradition.

Week 3: Brokenness Through the Hindu and Buddhist Traditions

The aesthetics of wabi-sabi. The bodhisattva of brokenness. The Goddess of Never-Not-Broken. The tantric paths.

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