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.

Positive Consequences of the Virus:
1) This crisis can profoundly unite humanity and make us realise that ‘we are all in it together’ and thus what unites us as opposed to what divides us, can be emphasised. We can therefore come to realise that this is a time for supporting and helping each other and that taking personal responsibility for ensuring we do not spread the virus around, is also our service to the larger whole.

2) It also enables us to question the way we live and to ask ourselves what is really important in life and what is not. As millions of us will have less money, we will need both to appreciate and conserve what we have. We will also need to live simply and be kind and generous to our friends who are in trouble, and not waste our resources. I doubt that too much consuming or overindulgence will go on during this period!

3) It is also getting us to confront death, with all the positive consequences involved. (One reason so many of us human beings live so unconsciously and often miserably, is that we tend to be ardent ‘death deniers’- filling our lives with continual activities so we don’t have to confront the fact that one day we will no longer be in our physical bodies!) I say that the more we choose to face death – and now this is being forced on us from outside – the fuller our lives can be.

4) As many businesses will be forced to close, meaning that many of us will not be so ‘outwardly’ busy, it will give us time for ‘inner work’ – for more contemplation or ‘being’ and less ‘doing’. It will also give us time to practice being more mindful and intimate with those close to us whom we are being compelled to ‘hunker down’ with.

5) It will help us take the seriousness of our world situation more deeply into our hearts and see that we cannot go on ignoring the many problems going on all around us and that many radical changes in all areas of human endeavour, are being urgently called for.

6) Evidence is also starting to surface that certain institutions, which long ago reached their sell-by-date, do us little good and which are being kept alive through artificial means and need to collapse in order to be ‘reborn’ at a higher level, are now starting to crumble. This is particularly the case with our whole Capitalist system which desperately needs to evolve, as in its current form, it serves the well-being of less and less people. Perhaps this crisis will accelerate this process.

7) Perhaps people, tribes and nations will stop being at war with one another, and nationalism and protectionism may fade away as we all realise that we have a ‘common enemy’ to address and that it can only be confronted effectively through our collective efforts.

Negative Consequences:
1) Some of us may find ourselves unable to cope with the changed lifestyles forced on us and, as nations are habitually used to doing what is in their own interest, the need to act co-operatively in all the many ways they are being asked to at this time, may prove too difficult.

2) Many good and worthy people may die and the virus may mutate.

3) Many businesses – especially small ones – may go under and many people may lose their livelihoods as income no longer comes in. Also, the worst hit by crises tend always to be the poor and the vulnerable.

4) Instead of inspiring love for our fellow man and promoting a desire to help and support one another, this pandemic may encourage the opposite and a spirit of fear and ‘everyone for him or herself’ may grab hold of many of us. We’ve seen hints of this in the panic buying in supermarkets. Also, feeling scared can lead us to do stupid and dangerous things. We may see more crime and more anarchy on the streets as the spirit of ‘I have got to survive and to hell with everyone else’ predominates.

How I View this Pandemic:
I think it is important that we be both realistic and idealistic and understand that both scenarios are possible. I, however, am profoundly positive. Yes, things may be hard. Yes, many of us will go through difficulties and more people will die, but at a deeper level, I believe that in the long run, this virus has actually come to save us from ourselves!

Perhaps a sacrifice is required for a greater good. (We remind ourselves that the word comes from the Latin meaning ‘to make sacred’!)

We need to understand that the Evolutionary Forces or Divine Intelligence work in mysterious ways seldom comprehensible to us, and that what from our ego viewpoints, looks only to be negative – for example, the financial crisis that is currently keeping many CEO’s and bankers awake at night – may, at a deeper level, be symptomatic of a powerful human-collective initiation asking us all to open our eyes and our hearts more and change the way we relate to money and how we operate in the world.

Let’s admit it. The system does not work. Or not for most people. It needs to collapse for something new and better to emerge in its place that benefits more people on the planet.

And it may be that this pandemic is setting up the conditions for this gradually to take place… I predict that in a few years now, people will no longer stand for climate change deniers and populist world leaders, and that humanity-as-a whole will start ‘growing up’!

The change will be that our politicians will be forced to listen to us, meaning that if they wish to be elected, they’ll need to wake up from their casual business-as-usual and ‘let’s just protect my country’ and start initiating policies crucial to the survival of our planet.

In Other Words, Planet First, Profit Second.
Yes, my friend, it may well be that the policy shifts we collectively begin to bring about as a result of this virus will, in the long run, both SERVE our planet and SAVE our planet by forcing us to make those shifts which we know we need to make, but which we’ve held back from doing because we are too lazy/stuck in our old patterns.

Hey guys, this virus may be our saving!

Here is What I Think We Are Each Challenged To Do:
We need to obey the rules and recommendations given us by the experts and also not forget to use our common sense.

We need to work at strengthening our immune systems and practicing positive thinking. Choosing to see ourselves and others from a compassionate viewpoint does as much good as doing yoga and exercise, eating healthily and taking the appropriate supplements, which of course we also need to do.

So every day affirm your love for yourself, those close to you and for all of humanity. Pray for inner and outer strength to be given you.

Drink plenty of water and visualise yourself as being strong and that no nasty little virus can get through your defences, and don’t just focus on what is falling apart but think about what may be being built up in its stead.Serge Beddington-Behrens

Have faith and accept that the times we are currently going through are certainly challenging but may well bring out the best in us.

Please feel free to send on this newsletter to anyone whom you feel might benefit from it.

With love,
Serge

THE ART OF LETTING GO

The-Art-of-Letting-Go-Serge-Beddington-Behrens

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: 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

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.

Anyhow, I gave a little talk about my life and said how curious it was that at a time when most of my friends are retiring, I am about to enter the busiest period ever, as I hope to be starting a Centre or Institute for Spiritual Activism, based on my book, and this will require a lot of hard work. I’ve never quite been able to slot myself into those categories that psychologists have formulated for us, which tell us about the ‘seasons’ of a man’s life, and how one ought to feel and what ought to be central to one’s agenda at certain ages! Perhaps, at some level, I’ve never quite grown up!

Be that as it may, the launch for Awakening The Universal Heart on the 11th of September (auspicious day) was a much more formal occasion and while I didn’t wear a tie (my wonderful partner Martina strictly forbade me), I was smartly turned out. Casual chic I think is the term! It took place at the delightful Russell Hotel in Russell Square where we hired a beautiful oak-panelled room which gave an air of dignified solemnity to the occasion. This was for press and also for friends and colleagues and many ex-clients whom I have always kept in touch with; but they were people I hadn’t known as long and so felt I couldn’t quite let my hair down as much. My old friend Sir John Whitmore introduced me and dear Tim Wheater, one of the great flautists of our time, graced the occasion quite beautifully.

A podium was supplied for me and I gave a little talk which was recorded and where, I think, I summed up quite well what the book was about and where I see my future work lying. I am happy that on both evenings, plenty of books were sold and many people bought several to give to friends, which was good as I intend all the money from their sale to go towards the establishing of this Centre or Institute. What I am engaged in now is trying to find people who are also interested in this idea.

Serge Beddington-Behrens Book Launch

Awakening the Universal Heart – the 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 September 10th and the other the next day.

Awakening the Universal Heart Book Launch

On September 10th, 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 , Continue reading

Darkness before the Dawn

Night, 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), Continue reading

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: Continue reading

An Interview on Spiritual Activism

Spiritual Activism

Serge Beddington-Behrens Spiritual ActivismQuestion. 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? Continue reading

A Message of Hope

Crisis = Dangerous OpportunityA Message of Hope: Night, 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. Continue reading

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