(Global Heart | Esther Haasnoot) A quest for the Soul. Begin the return journey and start to wake up to who you truly are.“Gateways to the soul; Inner work for the Outer World” by Serge Beddington-Behrens Ph.D. is a helpful guide to deepen our soul life and for the creation of a soul-filled society.
We are all human beings together participating in our shared humanity. Our great challenge today is to learn to uncover new soulful stories inside us, stories filled with positive and life-affirming agendas.
“Some people believe that to evolve as human beings, we
have to disconnect ourselves from the world’s problems, and even forget
about the world altogether. In this book, my friend Serge takes exactly the opposite approach. We are not separate from our fellow human beings or the world around us, and to believe that we are separate is a sure way to feel unhappy. We must not disconnect from the world, for the simple reason that we are an integral part of it”. – A foreword by Steve Taylor
Listen to the Hymn of the Pearl and start the Return Journey
Hear the hymn of the pearl. Begin the return journey and start to wake up to who you truly are.“Gateways to the soul” by Serge Beddington-Behrens Ph.D. is a helpful guide to deepen our soul life and for the creation of a soul-filled society. This book is for everyone who wants to know how to tune in to a deeper kind of love, learn to embrace true soul life, and want to relate more authentically with everyone and everything around us. Serge offers in this book a wide spectrum of gateways and shows us that every aspect of our daily lives can serve as an entrance to spiritual awakening. This book is written to encourage and to assist us to “work on ourselves,” to “out” our deeper humanity and with it our capacity for difference-making. This book is truly a pearl, with plenty of practical exercises. A great example of “soulfulness” that our world seriously requires.
– Esther Haasnoot
An Interview with Serge Beddington about his new book: “Gateways to the soul”.
Esther Haasnoot: Our world is becoming increasingly unsustainable – politically, socially, economically, and ecologically. What impresses the most is the way we give huge significance to issues of very little importance. There are groups of people who persistently close their eyes despite the pandemic. Why is this?
Serge Beddington: My perception is that many of us are scared of change, and don’t want to face it as we don’t know how to deal with it, especially if we were brought up to believe in what I call in my book ‘the old story’, namely the idea that we live in a world where we are all separate from one another, and where hunger, war, and inequality are inevitable and that is just the way that things are and can’t be changed.
To the extent that we believe in this limited, black and white world and concoct our lives – the things we do, the thoughts we think, the people we tend to mix with – around it, our mindset will be a narrow and superficial one, primarily centered around our own survival and that of our clan. Within this reality, we distract ourselves by giving importance to things of little relevance in the larger scope of things.
Donald Trump is an extreme example of this. He has no interest in anyone or anything, only in doing things that are in his own best interest. The reason he was elected president is that many in his country share similar viewpoints. What goes on in the wider world or that the wider world might be in crisis, simply has no interest to them.
If we ‘come from’ this place – and sadly, many of us do today – issues such as racism or climate change do not affect us. We don’t care about poverty or inequality as these things don’t impact us. What is of prime importance to us, is whether our real estate has gone up in value or whether we look fashionably dressed! Why people are very concerned with the pandemic is that it is a global event and it impacts all of us. It cannot be avoided. It threatens our survival at many different levels.
Esther Haasnoot: When people, relationships, organizations, cultures of our government remain essentially soulless, they show little motivation to explore life’s deeper meanings or ask more profound questions, and when this happens they start degenerating. The more soul gets reduced, the further we devolve from our true nature and the more destructive we are. Can you tell us in which way this de-souled mindset operates in our world today?
Serge Beddington: It is reflected in most of the ways that our post-modern world operates. We see it in the hardness and inhumanity that is reflected in so much of our world politics and economics, and in the injustices that our capitalist system encourages. We see it in the exploitative mindset of globalization with its proclivity for erasing other cultures, replacing them with an artificial culture created by corporations, or in neoliberalism which holds that competition, not cooperation is the defining characteristic of human relationships, and that one should view other nations not as ‘friends’ but rather as ‘enemies’ competing for the spoils of power.
We see it also in the doctrine of extractivism, whereby our planet is not honored or respected but just seen as a lifeless, soulless entity that we can carve up, exploit and use to grow rich from. We see it in our wars, now more cyber feed but still full of hostility, our obsession with pornography ( a billion-dollar industry) and our obsession with things material, with our need to consume all the time, with our need to have everything be ‘big’ – big companies, big houses, grandiose lifestyles. We see it in our racism and scapegoating and homophobia – our failure to realize our human interconnectedness despite our differences – and our indifference to human suffering unless it is our own.
Esther Haasnoot: What most divides us, then, from one another is not so much our differences, like skin color, sexual preferences, race, religion, or nationality, but the levels we operate at. The lower the level, the more our differences become a cause for separation; the higher the level, the less important this is. How we see the world – is determined by the kind of reality that we primarily inhabit. What does it mean to be soulful and how do we meet people who are on a different stage of consciousness?
Serge Beddington: What soulful people basically are, are people not as identified with their ego identities. Their egos are more their servant than their master. While of course there are many levels of being soulful. We can generally say that soulful human beings tend to be more genuine, more awake, more caring, more spiritual, more alive to the many realities of life, more able to take pleasure in little things, more aware of nature and the interconnectedness of all life and mindful of the fact that all of life is linked together by a big world soul!
Also, one doesn’t necessarily need to be religious to be soulful – most fundamentalists who are often full of fear and who tend to regard those who don’t see God the way they do, as ‘wrong’, lack soul. Similarly, many people who belong to no religion are often the most soulful of all. Look at Walt Whitman!
So: how, if one is soulful, do you meet people on a different level of consciousness, that is who have not yet ‘outed’ their deeper soul nature?
The answer is that you see them first and foremost also as a soul. It is a truth. We all have a soul nature and if we can relate to everyone from that place – i.e. as if their soulfulness were more in evidence – perhaps tiny droplets of our soulfulness may touch them!
Key is that we don’t feel superior – ‘I am better than you as I am more soulful than you – as that would simply proclaim that our ego is still running our life. We remember that a butterfly is not superior to a caterpillar- it’s just at a different phase of its evolution!
So, while staying in our soulful place, we try to find that part of ourselves or that place inside us that can best relate to where that other person is at. This means that we don’t talk about things to people that we sense they will not understand or try to ‘force’ depth on someone who has not yet gravitated out of a superficial reality.
When last year, I went to see a very highly evolved spiritual Master, I am sure that he adjusted himself to be able to speak with me in a way that he sensed I would not feel overwhelmed or intimidated by. He wasn’t speaking ‘down’ to me so much as adjusting himself to relate at a level comfortable to me and so expressing his soulfulness in a way in which he felt I could best receive the spiritual gifts he had to offer me. To operate along these lines is the great challenge of all of us who wish to be effective ‘ensoulers’ of our society.
Esther Haasnoot: In our society, we tend only to use the idea of coming out of the closet if we are gay, but we know we don’t have to be gay to live in a closet! Because, If who we all are is a soul – if soul-ness is our core, our true birthright – then why does it seem to be so hard for us to remember this? Why does this knowledge have to be hidden, if we know this makes it more difficult to bring love and compassion into the way we live our daily lives? How has mankind managed to de-soul itself so enormously?
Serge Beddington: I will answer this question at two levels, first at a spiritual and then at a sociopolitical level.
From a spiritual level, we could say that our Creator sets up a wonderful game of hide and seek with us, and hides inside us to see if, as we wend our way through life, we will ever be motivated to discover our Creator inside ourselves, that is, look inside ourselves and discover our true nature. I mean, if we came into the world already knowing we were one with all that is, where would be the ‘game’ of life, what would we have to ‘discover’? The game, therefore, is ‘set up’ as follows. Are we going to live our entire lives unaware of who we really are and believe we are just what our ego-self tells us we are – and many of us do and we die in that knowledge – or are we going to live our lives realizing that there may be a deeper purpose to it and that there is a ‘higher game’ to be played, as we learn, bit by bit, to awaken our soul self intentionally hidden inside us?
Socio-politically, the de-soulling or the desacralisation of man is not something modern, although, with the decline of our current civilization, it has grown worse. Actually, it goes back for many years. Thousands of years before the advent of religion, people who lived in shamanic cultures were naturally conscious of the grandeur of nature and felt very much that they lived within a sacred order where they felt aligned with a higher reality that ensouled all of life. The rise of patriarchal religions that emphasized our fallenness as opposed to our blessedness, saw this containment within a sacred order gradually fade away. In Plato’s era, the world witnessed a strong moving away from nature and a shift towards reason and knowledge. The shaman who saw soul in all things became replaced by the hero or conqueror who didn’t and who needed to kill evil dragons ( a mindset we see in the world today with ‘strongmen politicians.’) Thus a God was born who was feared and seen as cruel and judgemental. In 4 AD St Augustine’s doctrine of original sin, severed us more from soul, and the more the left side of the brain – our reasoning capabilities, grew, the more our soulfulness continued to be repressed. Then we saw the rise of Science saying our animals and earth had no soul, therefore opening up space for great abuses to occur. In the industrial revolution, we saw a further movement away from soul and towards a worshipping of the machine and where everything non-rational was viewed as nonsense, and this de-soulled mindset has continued to our present day. Today, many people worship their iPhones. What is currently helping bring soul back is our believing once more in Goddess energy and valuing the right side, the non-rational part, of our brains.
Esther Haasnoot: Some people do not tend to change anything. Despite all kinds of warning signals, like crises out in the world, the pandemic, climate change, the realization that we are destroying our environment, our personal unhappiness, and so on. How do you see this?
Serge Beddington: We get very entrenched in our old patterns in a ‘better a devil you know than one you don’t know’ way. Basically, we fear change, not only inside ourselves but also out in the world. It takes us out of our old familiar comfort zones. So we block off to the many needs out there in that world. Besides, change is an effort and our old patterns are deeply entrenched inside us, and so it takes inner work to change ourselves and we don’t know how to do inner work. No one ever taught us. All most of us are aware of, is outer work, ie going out to work!
As such, our past has a strong hold over us, especially if our particular organ that facilitates change, namely our inner heart – and one word I use to describe it is our ‘inner alchemiser’ – is unawakened. This means that our transformational capacities are not strong, and the weaker we feel in this arena, the more we will fear death – not only our own but the death of the dysfunctional society we are accustomed to – the more we will try to hang on to our past and to block off from what Al Gore once referred to as those ‘Inconvenient Truths!’
Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher in the early part of the 20th century once said that ‘Man is so inert and resistant to change that he doesn’t shift unless hit by a crisis bigger than the sum of his inertia’. This is why I believe we have collectively drawn this Coronavirus into our lives, as a ginormous wake-up call from the outside, as it IS bigger than our inertia. I recently gave a seminar where I described this virus as a fierce grace.
Esther Haasnoot: Plato understood this and knew the importance of having true self-knowledge. “Know thyself”, he told us, “and thou shalt know the whole universe.” How can we explore these deep subterranean dimensions of ourselves? What are the gateways into the higher realms of the soul? And if we are to explore them, are there specific things that will support us on our mission?
Serge Beddington: What will best support us is a deep desire for self-knowledge, as then our will, as it were, will evoke the support of the universe, or put another way, ‘the Force’ is more likely to be with us and we may be given grace-filled experiences.
However, first things first. It is no use knowing that who we are is Cosmic dust or that Divinity lies inside us, if we know nothing about our personality selves, and are blind to the fact that we manifest as a grumpy old codger who suffered abuse as a child that needs healing!
We all have a lower and a higher unconscious and both realms need exploring and gradually made more conscious. Just because we may be on a spiritual path, is no reason to avoid finding out more about ourselves as a personality and becoming better acquainted with our space-time identities, which also includes understanding more about the strengths and virtues we have. Put simply, we mustn’t ‘spiritual by-pass’ that is, feel we can go directly to our godly side without also acquiring more knowledge about our egoic self.
We can learn about this either through just observing ourselves and noting down what we see in our journal or doing psychotherapy or being in some therapy group.
Of course, there is Plato’s world, where our task is to discover our soulfulness at ever-ascending levels of the evolutionary spiral.
We encounter these higher-order realms through particular spiritual practices, through meditation and prayer and choosing to be of service to our fellow human beings in some way. Working occasionally with psychedelics ( eg LSD or Ayahuasca) can certainly open up gateways for us to the higher soul realms ( and also to the darker hell realms), and can be useful so long as we realize that simply because we may have experiences of higher realms of consciousness, that this is simply a pointer of what might be if we were to work at further opening ourselves up through prayer and meditation, and is not, therefore, an indication of our having achieved that level. Touching higher states does not mean that they remain with us and that we now exist at that level. It means that we’ve been given a sneak preview into how we might be one day if we continue to commit to our spiritual practices.
Esther Haasnoot: As our hearts open more and as our sensitivities grow, we may also find ourselves becoming increasingly aware of the many evils and injustices that exist around us, which previously we had blocked ourselves off from. This can often make us feel very sad. How can we combat compassion fatigue, keep opening our hearts, and start befriending life?
Serge Beddington: A very important question. Four answers. One, we find a way to get spiritual protection ( this is a big topic in itself) so we are not so open to negative energy; two, we ensure we are physically fit and healthy and our immune system and our heart life are in good working order, i.e., we look after ourselves, physically, emotionally and mentally. Three, we make sure that there is a balance between what we allow in – we need to allow other people and the universe in to help us – and what we give out ( we must not work from a sacrificial position), and four, we must make sure that there is joy and fun in our lives.
Just because there is pain in the world, does not mean we have to get lost in it and identify with it and not allow ourselves joy and celebration. Therefore, some self-discipline is involved. We may need to practice detachment. In my experience, the key organ we have for transmuting the darkness both inside ourselves and outside in the world, is our heart. Therefore, we need to do plenty of ‘Heart work’ to make sure our hearts are strong!
Esther Haasnoot: In the old days, the activist movement always used to be divided into different divisions and the twain never seemed to meet. But now more people search for unity and start to make a heartfelt change. “Soulful activists” emerging out of the woodwork in every country are showing huge spiritual maturity in different ways. Can you tell us about the prime ways we can be of service, and how do we use our Soul power to serve the planet efficiently?
Serge Beddington: In my experience, those areas where we can best make a difference or be of service are generally those areas which cause us most heartbreak as they are what we feel most strongly about. Also, our effectiveness as an activist is very much connected with how awake we are, how mature our soul-self is. For example, people would visit the enlightened Indian saint Ramana Maharshi and sit with him in silent meditation and would experience huge awakenings of consciousness without him ever saying a word. He would heal or awaken simply through the quality of his Being. He was what I call a Radiator, that is, he healed by radiating out powerful soul energy into the environment around him.
I see there being eight other main ways that we can be of service:
We can be an Initiator and initiate new projects to bring benefit to the world.
We can also be an Infiltrator or a kind of ‘double agent’ and work our way into ‘old-story’ or backward-looking organizations and subtly try to introduce new ways of looking at the world from within them.
We can be a Proclamator ( like Barack Obama) who used the spoken word to inspire people and effect change, or an Innovator like Carl Jung or Einstein who brought a new way of seeing the world, to the table.
We can be an Investigator and explore and then bring the dark sides of organizations into the light so it might disinfect them.
We can be an Educator and educate people to start seeing the world in a new way.
We can be a Protestor and go on rallies to make our stand. We can be an Agitator where our role is the opposite of that of the Radiator. Here, our aim is to shake people into wakefulness, which is the role which this pandemic is playing, where, metaphorically speaking, we’re all shaking up!
Most of us are primarily on one or two of these paths and may have other paths which are secondary, that is, we feel moved to embrace them, but they don’t quite hold the same urgency for us. Spiritual Masters on the path of Crazy Wisdom can serve both as Radiator and Agitator!
About Dr. Serge Beddington-Behrens
Dr. Serge Obolensky Beddington-Behrens, MA (Oxon.), Ph.D., K.O.M.L., is an Oxford-educated transpersonal psychotherapist, writer, lecturer, activist, and spiritual educator. In 2000, he was awarded an Italian knighthood for his work. For forty years he has conducted spiritual retreats all over the world. In the 1980s, he co-founded the Institute for the Study of Conscious Evolution in San Francisco. The author of Awakening the Universal Heart, A guide for spiritual activists, he divides his time between London and Mallorca. For more information or to connect with Serge Beddington: sergebeddingtonbehrens.com, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or to purchase book: Inner Traditions, Bol.com.
Source: Global Heart
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