An Interview with Michael Bernard Beckwith - Spiritual Thinker, Author and Teacher
Jun 02, 2009 11:55AM
Dr. Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith is the founder and spiritual director of Agape International Spiritual Center, in Los Angeles. A teacher featured in the film, The Secret, he teaches universal truth principles found in the New Thought-Ancient Wisdom tradition of spirituality.
Q. While writing your latest book, Spiritual Liberation, did you experience any “Aha” moments?
A: Yes. I discovered that there’s nothing like sitting down before the blank page and realizing that the “you,” which sees itself as an author, isn’t who is writing the book, but rather is the vehicle that made itself available as a scribe. It’s much like the great composer, Brahms, who said that when he sat to compose, he entered a deep, interior state and literally “saw” the notes, “heard” the instruments and wrote down what was revealed to him. Writing the book was a truly a humbling experience, because I encountered the subtle line that separates ego from surrender to the Divine muse. It wasn’t something that I anticipated; however, I’m grateful that it occurred.
Q. How do you envision the book serving as an influence for good?
A: My intentions were to stir an inner fire in readers to develop passion—and compassion—in their lives, and to help them realize that venturing into a spiritual practice reveals how we can awaken and fulfill our highest potential as spiritual beings having a human incarnation. I also wanted to offer practices that would support readers in becoming a beneficial presence on the planet: processes that can cultivate inherent goodness, wholeness, joy—the keys to healing ourselves and the planet.
Q. What do you mean by the concept, “conscious participation in evolution,” and why do you believe humanity can achieve this?
A: My personal experiments in the laboratory of my own consciousness proved to me that, by consciously entering practices used by great spiritual teachers—Jesus, Krishna, Sri Aurobindo, St. Theresa of Avila and others—to evolve qualities like compassion, joy, peace, creativity and enlightened awareness, I could make progress in these directions. I know that if I can do it, everyone can. If one person is a candidate for enlightenment, then, just as the Buddha taught, we’re all candidates. It’s great news that we’re no different from these illumined beings; all we have to do is commit to waking up, just as they did.
Q. Please share some of the practices that evolved people apply and how they make a difference in their lives?
A: Evolved people give thanks for what most people take for granted. In today’s economy, we’re seeing an escalation in gratitude, because people are reflecting more deeply on what happens in a society that is based on consumerism. Being increasingly grateful for the simple things in life is a wealthy wayto live.
Evolved people give without an agenda, simply for the joy of being generous beings, because they see themselves in others. They have an awareness of their oneness with all beings.
Forgiveness of self and others is another hallmark of an evolved person. Rather than seeing life as a problem to be solved, evolved people see life, including all of its challenges, as a celebration of our precious human birthright.
Q. What basic understanding do we need in order to grow into spiritual adulthood?
A: Immaturity’s mantra is: “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” When we shift that to: “I want to know more of who and what I really am; I want to express my true nature of love, joy, creativity, abundance, compassion, self-giving and generosity; and this same good, which I desire for myself, I also desire for all others,” we embrace the personal law of life. We align with the laws governing the Universe and begin to grow up and show up.
When we quit demanding that others make us happy, stop believing that the outside world and outer accomplishments determine our self-worth and drop the notion that the world owes us something, then we are on the road to spiritual maturity. We grow out of our childhood fantasies that there is a “Great Something,” outside of us, manipulating the environment and running the affairs of the Universe by a reward-punishment system. We realize that we, ourselves, are responsible for our own life. Being a spiritual grownup is a liberating way to live.
For more information on Michael Beckwith’s global ministry, visit AgapeLive.com.