Shining a Light in the Darkness – Webinar – 7 June 2022

Spiritual Awakening in a Disordered World

Dear Friends,
Here is my latest offering with my wise friend Steve. We both think this topic is very important as never has our world been in a more precarious and chaotic state. We both believe in the Chinese translation of the word crisis which is to regard it as a ‘dangerous opportunity’. We see many dangerous opportunities surrounding us all!

Serge with Steve Taylor

We are living in a time of political turmoil and ecological crisis. What are the challenges of spiritual awakening in this context? Steve and Serge will discuss how spiritual awakening can help heal the world, and how crisis can be the spur for collective awakening.

Please join us for our webinar on 7 June, 2022!
Click here for further details and registration

What Liberates?

The Oxford Dictionary defines liberation as:
the act of setting someone free from slavery, imprisonment or oppression’.

Liberation, therefore, has both inner and outer dimensions which are intrinsically inter-related because if we are not free inside ourselves, it will inevitably limit our ability to live a liberated outer life, even if the society we live in is a relatively free one. The same can hold true the other way around as well.

Many of us, therefore, need liberating not only from what oppresses us internally and which prevents us realising who we really are, but also from a society where economic, religious, societal and cultural forces oppress us. It is just as incarcerating to being a slave to negative habits, restrictive thoughts and tendencies to feel paranoid and depressed, as it is to live in countries with regimes that spy on us all the time, or where societal fault lines means we have to devote so much effort simply to survive that we are allowed no space to be creative or time to experience enjoyment.

I see one of the great problems of the world today is that too many of us are enchained both ways and the result is a huge amount of unhappiness all around. In many Western nations, fault lines in society may activate predispositions inside many of us to feel soulless and empty resulting is us having hearts full of greed, aggression, insecurity, pain, fear and resentment as opposed to love, compassion, altruism and wisdom. And this huguely weighs us down.

In my last book, Gateways to the Soul, I explored certain societal conditions required that I felt would encourage external liberation and in so doing, create a context favourable for possible internal liberation. Here are a few of the most relevant ones…

What supports liberation is creating a society:

– Which is participatory and where all people have a voice in the decisions that affect their life and future.

– Where poverty is eliminated and everyone’s rights to food, housing, education and socially remunerative work is recognised and respected.

– Where there is no longer one law for the rich and another for the poor but justice for all prevails in a world where the rights to all human beings are extended to animals and to our planet as a whole.

– Where resources are available freely to enable people in pain or suffering to be helped to heal their wounds or traumas and where they are encouraged to grow and evolve their humanity.

– Where corporations embrace a mindset of ‘giving to’ as opposed to ‘taking from’ and put the well being of people and planet before profit.

– Where the person in the street receives free instruction in the art of living more simply and sustainably and is helped to make the shift away from a mindset of ‘having’ and consuming, to one of sharing and being, and where we are helped to realise that we can be happy with less and that if we work to bring more quality into our lives, that quantity will become less important.

– Where we find new ways to work to diminish the power of evil and all forms of violence and prejudice towards minority groups is eradicated.

– Where a new value system is encouraged whereby honesty triumphs over corruption, kindness over indifference and generosity over greed.

The emergence of a more compassionate and wholistic society, however, is no absolute guarantee of inner liberation, and speaking as a transpersonal psychotherapist and someone who has been a teacher of transformation for many years, the desire on our part to experience more inner freedom is by no means a ‘given’.

So what liberates us internally?

There is no one thing or one technique or system as all of us are very different, exist at different levels and are enchained in many different ways. For example, what is needed to liberate someone suffering from a severe mental disorder is very different from what is needed to liberate a person desirous to live a more soulful and less ego-centred life. Indeed, at times what may liberate one person may be seen as enchaining to someone else.

I think the key is wanting to be more liberated which can range from us going into therapy and thus working with our inner demons and resulting in us feeling better – not suffering as much – to engaging in spiritual practices enabling us to evolve and be a more evolved human being.

I see these two processes as being inter-related.

Gurdjieff maintained that if a person wants to be free or awaken, it is important that they not only know that living out of their normal everyday mindset is living in a prison, but also what that prison constitutes – how and in what specific ways are we not free.

Generally, the more we are aware of what restricts us, the greater the wish to be free and hence the more we will tend to be ‘a space’ to draw to us what liberates us at the level we need liberating.

It may be a partner who truly loves us as love is a very liberating force.

It may be a proficient psychotherapist helping us free up our anger against our unloving parents and release old traumas.

It may be a particular spiritual teacher or learning to do yoga or taking up a particular course of study.

It may be getting out of a toxic relationship.

It may be meeting someone who inspires us deeply and causes us radically to change direction in our lives.

It may be accessing a particular quality such as, for example, truth. Whether the insights come from ourselves or from other people, it doesn’t matter. In Jesus’ words again: ‘The truth shall set you free’.

That said, there is very often a resistance to our being liberated especially if it implies moving to a new level. We can get attached to the comfort zones of our old condition even if it doesn’t feel good. We may be afraid of the unknown, afraid of the responsibilities of being free, afraid of feeling more abundant and joyful as these experiences are new, and there is a certain safety of being stuck in our old inner prisons. ‘Better the devil you know than one you don’t’.

A liberating force may sometimes come in the form of a big crises. As Gurdjieff put it: ‘what is needed for us to wake up is often a shock greater than the sum of our inertia’.

In other words, if they don’t kill us from their traumatic impact, shocks can often serve to liberate us. This can happen when events occur shaking up the foundations of the life we know. In AA they talk about real change only happening when the addict reaches rock bottom. In a word, extreme suffering has been known in many instances, to lead to a desire to want radically to change how we live and discover that we are not who we think we are, i.e., we are not our separative ego identities, but are all part of a greater Cosmic Self that has actually never been born and never dies..

To flow in an ever greater connection with this deeper self we could call the greatest liberation. In fact, this deeper self which is united with the deeper self of all of life, is the liberating force, and this graced presence is stalking us all the time from inside ourselves, longing for us to give it space fully to come alive inside us. In the words of the Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi, talking as if on behalf of God.

‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known so I created the world that I might be known’.

Essay: Looking to the Future

This essay looks at:
a) the state of the world today
b) what I see happening on the planet over the next eighty years and
c) the new society that I see rising, phoenix like, out of the ashes.

It is a hopeful essay but suggests that to get to the light, humanity may need to go through some more dark times…

Looking to the Future
OK, it is time now to look forward and say a few words about what I think might possibly lie ahead for humanity in the future. As I feel very much part of the whole, I regard this issue as an integral part of my memoir. Indeed, I am increasingly realising that the more I can own my human-collective self – realise I am not separate from but deeply part of humanity as a whole – the more fully me I become!
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Creating Peace

Dear Friend,

As I write this, my heart is full of sorrow. Our world is once more plunged into the insanity of war, with thousands perishing in the name of Putin’s insane idea to restore Russia to its former ‘greatness’, to wage war against democracy, poke a finger in the eye of NATO’s expansion and in his words, to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine.

As in all wars we see the usual projection of one’s own Shadow onto another people, for as the whole world can see, the one who is behaving like Hitler is the KGB-trained Putin himself. Over twenty years of being president, a monster has gradually marinated inside him and all his actions now proclaim the truth of Lord Acton’s remark that ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

I am so glad that Biden, who has been so effective in arranging the coalition against Putin, is President and not Trump, as Trump admires Putin’s ‘manliness’ and strength as do many other Republicans. Indeed, it is not impossible that in 2024, Trump or a Trumpite – someone equally deranged and fascistic only much more intelligent – returns to power bringing with them their own brand of autocratic insanity, and that a country whose aim has been to champion democracy in the world, finds itself gradually becoming an authoritarian state?

Here, we keep our fingers crossed that this will not come to pass. Perhaps world events are showing everyone that demagoguery is not the slightest bit attractive and that it has a very, very dark face!

To return to the issue of war, I am so glad that the world has responded so strongly to Putin’s enormous mistake. Today, I attended an anti-war group in the square of our little Mallorcan town and I felt great kinship with everybody present. I felt my own heart open and realised that, on one level, this terrible tragedy is serving to open up the collective weeping heart of humanity and is also releasing a tremendous power of camaraderie on the planet.

I am glad that the strongest of sanctions have been levied on Putin and on his henchmen who have enabled him over the years. Sadly, his people – the vast number of Russians who don’t want a war – will have to pay a price, as will we in the West, as the effects of the sanctions will soon start percolating back. I am half Russian and I have many Russian friends and I can also feel their pain as well as that of the Ukrainian people. I ask myself: will Russians rise up against Putin? I mean, if millions take to the streets, surely they can’t all be arrested….

Dalai Lama

All wars have a similar tragic pattern to them. Violence and killing is let loose. Huge lies are told. Soldiers and civilians, women and children die, people are tortured and a vast 

amount of trauma and suffering is generated for all concerned. Yes, wars start for very specific reasons, but essentially ‘a space’ for them to emerge also lies in the fact that so much hostility, hatred, trauma and anger lies inside so many of us. Many people in the world today are very angry at the system and at the impossibilities they face in trying to improve their lot. But as the Dalai Lama put it:

If we use violence in order to reduce disagreements and conflicts, then we must expect violence every day.

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Essay: Embracing the American Shadow

“Everyone carries a Shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”
~ Carl Jung ~

Challenges

In this essay, I want to talk about the challenges currently facing America, as it is a country I have very fond memories of. I lived and worked there for thirteen years in the 70s and 80s and got an enormous amount out of the experience and was privileged to have encountered some of the wisest people I have ever met anywhere. Like many of my American friends, I have found it very painful to see what has been going on in their country for the last four years, and in these pages I want to suggest a slightly different approach both to viewing and to dealing with the many challenges which America is currently facing. Continue reading

How Friendly Should We Be with Our Employees?

I believe that a corporation that encourages employees to be open and friendly with each other and thus to wear their humanity on their sleeve, is one of the most important things for its success. Certainly, working to create such a culture is very central to my corporate work.

Happy Employees Continue reading

Addressing Evil in the World

My Dear Friends,

While I feel my heart open in appreciating the beauty and magnificence of life, a large part of me continues to feel sad at some of the dreadful things currently going on in the world. Right now, I think of the increasing proliferation of conspiracy theories.

Yes, in no way unintelligent friends of mine, many not unspiritual – I call them “conspiritualists”(!) – are sending me emails telling me that everything Q Anon says is true, that the earth really is flat, that the pandemic is a huge hoax, that Bill Gates is planning to take over the world (twenty years ago, it was Rockefeller that got clobbered), that the Jewish millionaire George Soros is plotting to destroy Hungary through the deliberate importation of migrants, i.e., that he wishes to replace white Christian Europeans with brown-skinned Muslims! I have not the slightest doubt that this is what they believe.

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Looking to the Future: Breakdown or Breakthrough

“Evolution is life-oriented. It is ‘good’ but not kind. It does not care for the feelings of individuals.”

~ Barbara Marx Hubbard ~

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The Big Questions

So what lies ahead for us human beings? Are we well on the way towards extinction – finito – the end of the great experiment of humanity? Or are we going to continue stumbling along – a wounded, bleeding society – going nowhere fast? Conversely, is the crumbling away of our existing world which is certainly happening and is currently being speeded up by this virus, somehow going to lead us to ‘break through’ to something new – to a new, higher-order human being and a hugely improved world which works not just for the few but for the many?

Certainly, human consciousness has been rapidly evolving over the last sixty years where we’ve seen the birth of women’s rights, animal rights and in the 60’s we had the hippy movement followed by the emergence of the Human Potential movement. Today, millions of people all over the world are becoming increasingly interested in evolving their consciousness and in developing their spirituality. Most importantly, we are seeing a powerful shift away from the isolated, highly individuated ego, responsible for so much human suffering, war and patriarchy, with increasing numbers of us realising that the next step of our human evolution is towards thinking and operating much more as a human collective. Today, there are so many important questions which we all need to be asking ourselves. Perhaps one of the most significant is:

Are we as a species capable of extricating ourselves out of this very, very deep hole that we have over the years been digging, and if so, what might be the conditions necessary for this to happen?

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Webinar: How to Speed up our Evolution and Make a Difference in a Corona Infected World

Dear Friend,

You are kindly invited to join my upcoming webinar: “How to Speed up our Evolution and Make a Difference in a Corona Infected World.” In this presentation, I will be looking at the ways we can use the pressures of this current crisis to leverage our personal and collective growth.

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Thinking Positively Towards the Future

Civilisations don’t last forever. Everything comes to an end at some point, and we are all living in an uncertain ‘in-between’ era, where one world is dying and another is doing its best to be born, although one has to admit that there are a hell of a lot of people working hard to try and keep our old unsustainable world alive! I suspect that they’re engaged in a game called Mission Impossible!

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