Michael Beckwith has been featured in the December issue of LA Yoga Magazine!
The featured article is “Praying for a Life Vision: Sitting Down With Reverend Michael Beckwith,” with a great interview!
We’re all wondering what is meant by the current turn of calendar events, so we had a chat with the teacher many in LA view as a significant mentor to learn how to set intentions, make plans, and even pray.
LA YOGA: What do you feel is the significance of the end of the Mayan calendar and the 2012 Solstice?
MBB: You know, it’s interesting how every so many years a prophetic statement ignites the collective human interest and socio-cultural-spiritual strata offer up interpretations. Technology and the news media had their heyday with Y2K and the world prepared for chaos. Now the religious, spiritual, and scientific pundits are preparing us for differing possible outcomes for December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar and Winter solstice.
Contemporary spiritual teachers consider it a time of transformation and give a sigh of relief that the collective consciousness will finally realize its materialism, greed, and ravaging of the planet and begin to transform its ways. Traditional religious media is then compelled to offer its perspective which is apocalyptic, filled with doubt, worry, fear, doom, and gloom. Then there are the neutrals, the philosophical individuals who don’t formally align with either view but use this shift of ages an opportunity to evaluate their lives and set intentions for their lives and the world they want to live in.
As for myself, I’m setting my personal intentions and envisioning the possibilities that seek to emerge on the planet as individuals move in the direction of co-creating the kind of world we want to live in.
LA YOGA: What are the components of a solid and complete intention?
MBB: Setting empowered intentions begins with asking oneself what I call spiritually aerodynamic questions which assist in keeping ego out of the way and identifying what will enable us to move into the next level of awakening in consciousness. In other words, it’s not about creating an external wish list; it’s about introspecting, visioning, and identifying how we must inwardly expand in order to live our highest purpose, to deliver our gifts, talents and skills as a beneficiary presence on the planet. And then committing to honor what is revealed.
LA YOGA: What is the difference between setting intentions, making a plan, and committing to fulfilling it?
MBB: Planning is a mental activity of the surface mind, which in itself produces a to-do list but without going deep within to catch the highest vision for one’s life is incomplete. Important steps are left out such as I described: introspecting by placing spiritually aerodynamic questions before oneself; meditating, life visioning [learn more in the book Life Visioning~A Transformative Process for Activating Your Unique Gifts and Highest Potential]; committing to actualize what has been revealed through these inner processes which is authentic intentionality.
LA YOGA: How do you stay focused on your intentions without becoming too rigid or missing spontaneous opportunities or necessary adjustments?
MBB: I love that question because it’s absolutely necessary to whole-heartedly welcome spontaneous goodness into our lives by remaining open and receptive to life’s wonderful surprises. The Universe has a sense of humor, and even when we have done our utmost to be true to our intentions, a power greater than ourselves will interject and remind us not to take things so seriously, that there is flexibility called grace that delights in playing hide-and-seek with us because it has plans beyond our plans. It’s always good to keep a beginner’s mind.
LA YOGA: What do you do in your own practice to maintain that balance?
MBB: Well, I’ve built into my daily routine various practices that support me physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially. My yoga mat is right next to my bed and when I wake up I practice yoga, chi gong, and then meditate. Then I go to the gym, and when I come make a blender of my green shake recipe for myself and my family. Afterwards it’s off to my office at Agape International Spiritual Center where I participate in meetings, conduct visioning sessions for the ongoing mission for our local and global humanitarian work, and laugh a lot with staff as we share the simply joy of being and fulfilling our calling in the world.
LA YOGA: Do you feel that these ways of supporting yourself go beyond your personal life vision and committed actions?
MBB: Absolutely! When the Buddha gave the three jewels of his teachings, the third jewel is the sangha, a Sanskrit word for the community of practitioners who is consciously evolving their Buddha nature, sharing and supporting one another and devoting the merits of their practice to all sentient beings. What happens through this is the creation of an energetic field of agreement about the truth of the limitless nature of all beings and a realization that we live in a friendly universe that is for us, cheering us on, and in no way works against us. Mistakes, errors in judgment and behavior are causes of specific results in our lives, so there is no need for punitive treatment from a power or source outside of ourselves. Every being is unconditionally love and accompanied on their journey by beneficent compassion, regardless of outer appearances.
I’d like to expand on a little on how our individual practice radiates benefits out into humanity’s collective field, which is as real as the electromagnetic currents scientifically proven to exist. In fact, the collective consciousness impacts the kosmic field of existence—and that’s kosmic with a “k,” not a “c.” [Editor’s note: Kosmic is deliberately spelled with a “K” according to the Greek usage of Kosmos, meaning the sum total of reality, including matter, body, mind, and spirit.]
When you enter an electromagnetic field of spiritual fellowship, or sangha, the spiritual practices common to that community create a type of buoyancy, meaning it’s possible to maintain an uplifted consciousness. The more mature practitioners carry the newer practitioners deeper into their practice, as in the words of Jesus the Christ when he said, “Where two or more are gathered….” When you leave your meditation or prayer group, you are carried by the buoyancy of having tapped into a transcendence that you apply to the outer world whereby even the simple everyday activities like washing dishes, exercising, raking the yard are infused with a spiritual elegance. In other words, everything becomes included in your practice. So imagine when you walk into Whole Foods, for example, or a movie theatre, your presence in that place impacts the entire environment. Each of us is a walking magnetic field emitting and receiving energy from the collective energetic field.
So when we go back to your question, all beings benefit by each person’s committed efforts to uplift consciousness and radiate the energies of love, compassion, kindness, generosity, discernment, commitment, discipline, joy, creativity, beauty, awakened awareness—and so on. This is the highest expression of our social contract.
LA YOGA: What do you mean by “social contract”?
MBB: Ah, that’s one of my favorite subjects so I slipped it in hoping you’d ask! Some people might call it manners, etiquette, habits we instill in our children so that their behavior will fit into polite society, which is the most obvious aspect of social contracts. It can be as simple as how each of us have been taught to say “thank you” when receiving a compliment, saying “excuse me” when stepping through a crowd, or washing our hands, bathing, and so on. On a deeper level it translates into keeping our word, holding others’ confidences that are shared with us, being truthful—things like that. Then it can be taken far more deeply into becoming a spiritual contract we express in society. This includes things like a conscientiousness about not only revving up our respect for all sentient beings, it also includes spiritually preparing our consciousness before social interactions, so that we offer kindness, compassion, patience, encouragement as naturally as we would a smile.
LA YOGA: So does this mean you can journal about your intentions for expanding and deepening your sensitivity about this deeper social contract?
MBB: Hey, if you think it, then ink it! Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg tells us that it’s been proven how when writing things down it registers in a different lobe of the brain than thinking, listening or verbally repeating words. By applying all of these methods, we increase the potential to actualize behavior patterns of growth, development, transformation.
LA YOGA: There seems to be a lot of fear and suffering in the world around money. What can people do differently to break limiting thoughts and free themselves from a sense of scarcity?
MBB: Beginning in around 2007 when talk about economic crashes began, the collective consciousness was flooded with thoughts of fear, lack and limitation. In 2008 another level of fear generated hoarding and lack of circulating money. When I went within and communed with Mother Nature, she told me that she was going to continue blooming in flowers, growing avocados. Fundamentally, nothing has changed in universal law. Just as the scientific elegance of energy cannot be destroyed, so is it that the goodness of the universe cannot be destroyed. So the first thing that would benefit the human collective is a realization that there is enough to go around, that we live in an abundant universe. When we talk about materializing abundance in our lives, the immediate reference is to material things—money, homes, cars, the latest technological gismos. In contrast, when we realize that we have been fully equipped in consciousness to manifest a mindset of “all needs met,” prosperity will be present. Not necessarily “richness” according to consumerism and accumulating symbols of having a lot of money—you may be wearing a Timex instead of a Rolex—but you will cognize what true wealth is. Because if you have sufficiently plummeted the meaning of inner wealth, you will realize that it informs how you go about manifesting outer prosperity in your life. You will feel part of the limitless good that is everywhere present and download it into the various aspects of your life.
When an individual is freed from the collective hypnotic spell of not-enoughness, then creativity and innovation break though. Resources are made available, innovation occurs, right employment shows up. Opportunities energetically flow. Then, human ingenuity, powered by a genuine realization that there is more than enough to go around flourishes.
LA YOGA: This takes us back to where we began this interview: the opportunity before humanity in this time in history to shift and transform our global society. What are and your Agape spiritual community doing to contribute to opportunity for a collective transformation in 2012?
MBB: Since our spiritual practice emphasizes the potent field created by the sangha coming together, we have groups throughout the US and abroad that gather monthly to meditate, pray, vision, and live stream the weekly services into their study groups so that they may put those practices into action through selfless service in the world. I mean activities like Agape’s Sacred Service Saturday where individuals go throughout metropolitan Los Angeles to paint schools, clean beaches and so on without a motive for personal gain but to give, encourage individuals whom they meet. Contributing financial relief and supplies to countries ravaged by wars, starvation, and other challenges that can so easily be brought to an end through a realization of our interconnectedness, our oneness as a global family.
If compassionately loving, bold individuals would rise up and replace greed, lack, limitation, scarcity with love, kindness, generosity, and a realization that we’re all in this together, that we’re all interconnected, then regardless of the date on the human calendar a profound transformation will occur. Our planetary future as one human family is literally co-created through our collective consciousness. If December 21, 2012 of the Mayan formula motivates us to dissolve false boundaries and borders, cease calling individuals from countries other than one’s own “aliens,” put an end to religious wars, share the world’s resources, stop teaching hell and damnation and honor the trans-religious spiritual laws governing the universe, then let the Shift of Ages now begin!
Dr. Beckwith is the founder and spiritual director of Agape International Spiritual Center. His most recent book is Life Visioning~A Transformative Process for Activating Your Unique Gifts and Highest Potential: agapelive.com.
Photos by Jeff Skeirik/Rawtographer