The Challenge of Covid-19

Our planet has certainly had a profound ‘wake up’ call, and in this Newsletter I want to mention a few positive and a few negative consequences of this virus and then put forward a few suggestions of my own.

None of us can deny that all of us – whether rich or poor or whatever race, nationality, culture or sexual proclivity we belong to – are in the middle of a big crisis, which in Chinese is translated as ‘dangerous opportunity’.

Yes, my friend, actually I see huge opportunities lying ahead for us as a species, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but at the same time I cannot deny the fact that I also see danger lurking, for while being subject to big shocks can certainly serve to ‘wake us up’, it also follows that if we lack the capacity to process their effect, they can also be destructive for us.

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To Sri Lanka and Back

Have just returned with Martina after our having spent a delightful fortnight healing and rejuvenating ourselves at an Ayurvedic retreat centre in Sri Lanka. A long journey out and a long one back but boy oh boy was it worth it.
Ayurvedic Retreat Centre in Sri Lanka

I previously knew next to nothing about this beautiful cleansing and rejuvenating system, which in a nutshell revolves around taking certain remedies, having many different kinds of massages with healing oils, and eating a healthy diet tailored to your specific body type.

But as with all healing systems, they are only as good as those who administer them and the people who worked in our retreat centre and who cooked for us and massaged us and looked after us generally, were truly extraordinary human beings. They all operated out of a very kind and gracious open heart and despite – or perhaps more because of – having little money, they were completely unmaterialistic.

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Interpersonal Connections

Here is an email I sent to a very intelligent, eccentric and vulnerable client going through a difficult patch. I think it is something we all need or needed to hear at some point in our lives:

I hear you very strongly my dear friend. In a way your non resonation with the normal world is a sign of you being one of the new kind of people being born today to take our planet into new arenas. I often feel the same kind of non connectedness with conventional people, only I can bullshit by pretending to be one of them so they’ll feel comfortable with me. The difference between us is that I’m a better bullshitter than you.
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The Art of Letting Go

In a lecture I gave recently, someone asked me this question:

“Serge. Could you give me any advice as to how one may best let go? I am making some new year resolutions for myself and I realize that in order to carry them out effectively, there are some things I need to surrender and I am finding this process quite difficult.”

Here was my reply:

Yes, letting go is always challenging. The Art of Letting Go - Serge Beddington-Behrens, PhDIt is much harder to let go of things – be they possessions, people, values, beliefs, habit patterns – than to take them on, as that first process often happens spontaneously without our even being aware of it.

A relationship, for example, is always much easier to get into than to get out of, but as you say, often we cannot move on to the next phase in our lives unless we start divesting ourselves of what it is inside us that stands in its way. Continue reading

In Praise of Tolerance

toleracneNovember 16th is the International day of Tolerance and maybe it could be an opportunity for all of us  to examine where we personally stand on this issue. Do we consider ourselves to be  tolerant? Or are we often intolerant?  If so,  what are we intolerant about? Here, we also need to remind ourselves that there can be a tendency in some of us to be pots calling kettles black, that is, to be intolerant of those who possess faults similar to our own, as that enables us to shift the burden of responsibility away from ourselves, and onto them, which results, as it were, in getting ourselves ‘off the hook’! Continue reading

Awakening the Universal Heart – The Book Launch

The second week of September was some crazy London week for me, as I went to two launches for my book, Awakening the Universal Heart, one on the 10th of September and the other the next day.

Awakening the Universal Heart Book Launch - Serge Beddington-Behrens, PhD

On the 10th of September I invited only my oldest friends – those I’ve known since we were kids – and it was fitting that it took place at the wonderfully eccentric flat of Peter Adler, dripping with tribal art and exotic ethnic jewellery and artefacts. About sixty people came. It is special when you have your oldest friends around you – and we’re all getting pretty ancient now – as you can let your hair down. Nothing to prove. They know all your many idiosyncrasies.

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Spiritual Maturity

One of the things we need to remember is that we all have multiple intelligences and that different aspects of ourselves exist at different levels. Thus, we may be pretty evolved in one or two areas,  whereas in other arenas of our lives, we  may be less adept and  in some areas pretty hopeless.

Let us look, for example, at six aspects of life: our cognitive (intellectual) skills, our interpersonal skills (how adept we are at relating with others), our ‘street cred’ (how practical we are at handling the everyday nitty gritty challenges in life),  our emotional, moral and spiritual intelligence. Some of us may be highly skilled at a cognitive level (two Ph.D’s in astrophysics) but have absolutely no interpersonal or emotional skills. Someone might be very emotionally and cognitively skilled but have absolutely no moral sense, i.e., we are a total shit, and  we use our intelligence primarily to dupe and  manipulate others. (I can think of a couple of CEOs of large companies who fit into this category.)

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An Interview on Spiritual Activism

Serge Beddington-Behrens Spiritual Activism

Question.

Serge, you have just written a book on Spiritual Activism and the emergence of the Global Heart. Let me start by asking you  a few questions. First, what do you mean by the global heart and why is it ‘awakening’ today, and how does it relate to spiritual activism? And secondly, how does spiritual activism differ from other forms of activism?

 
Serge.
Good questions. I’ll  try to answer them in order. When I talk about the global or the universal heart, I am referring to the heart of humanity as a whole or the collective human heart which, if our own ‘personal’ hearts are sufficiently open, we can potentially link into or connect with.

We will know when we are connected or when the universal heart has stared awakening inside us, when we start feeling furious about the many huge injustices in the world or when we find ourselves minding what happens to people who live right at the other end of the world from us, or when we suddenly experience a mysterious love for our fellow human beings whom we’ve never met, or feel moved to commit to championing some cause where there is no direct, personal gain to ourselves.

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A Message of Hope

Crisis = Dangerous OpportunityNight, it has been said, is always at its darkest just before dawn and if we were to apply that image to what is currently happening in our world  (the dire situation in Syria, the horrendous scenario in Egypt, Iran going nuclear, our global financial problems, the problems of  youth unemployment, the environment – my list can go on for ever), we can say that, species wise,  we are definitely in the middle of a dark night.

And the problem about dark nights, which is well known to anyone going through the early stages of  a ‘dark night of the soul crisis’, is that when immersed in them, it  often seems as if there is no way out and that the forces of darkness truly have the upper hand.

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The Challenge of the Spiritual Path – Celebration of the Quest

SBB. Today, I would like to explore some of the general challenges that a person may encounter if they make a commitment to following a spiritual path and seek to live a spiritual life. I am not going to be specific and deal with the many different kinds of individual problems that the seeker can face. In other words, I am not going to look specifically at spiritual emergencies or go into detail over the many different kinds of trap which can beset the seeker, especially as he advances along his path. This is the subject of a further dialogue. Here, my focus will simply be on what it means to embrace spirituality in an essentially secular culture and what the spiritual journey means and what it might be asking of us. Continue reading