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Gateways to the Soul

Inner Work for the Outer World

Foreword by Steve Taylor
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A guide on how to live more soulfully and, in so doing, transform yourself and the planet

• Explores the connections between healing your personal wounds and healing the planet

• Explains how embracing unitive qualities such as love, friendship, joy, courage, forgiveness, and truth, as well as facing your Shadow sides and confronting world evil, enables you to move through important gateways leading to soul

• Offers a variety of transpersonal exercises, meditations, and guided visualizations

Humanity is in a great crisis of soul today, but there is also much good will around. As a species, we are challenged to start embracing a new story, one that enables us to be less greedy and materialistic and to espouse peace not war, kindness not cruelty, and heart as opposed to indifference. What we need is to bring more soul into the world.

In this guide about engaging in inner work to bring change into the world, Dr. Serge Beddington-Behrens reveals how the healing of our personal wounds combined with the growing of our soul life leads us directly to the addressing of world problems. Sharing inspirational stories from his own personal journey of becoming a transpersonal psychotherapist, shaman, and activist, he shows you how, by transforming your inner world, you begin creating important positive ripples that reverberate around all areas of your outer one.

The exercises and meditations he has devised will not only help you heal and become more fully human but also enable you to bring a very different kind of awareness--a sacred awareness--into all areas of your everyday life. Not only will this enable you to experience more joy and meaning as you increasingly disconnect from the clutches of the system, but you will also find yourself opening your heart, reclaiming your personal power, bringing in new myths for humanity to live by, and gradually shifting away from being part of the problems in the world to becoming a core part of their solution.

From Invitation

For many years I have been teaching week-long retreats in Mallorca about the Gateways to the Soul. And what I have learned through these retreats is that if we want to make significant advances or breakthroughs in our lives - if we want to be more open to the forces of newness in the world - we need to find the appropriate entry points or gateways that will lead us to these forces. If we can each alight upon those entry points that work for us and, very important, if we then commit ourselves to working our way through them, what we will discover is that our lives suddenly start working for us in ways we never would have believed.

Not all gateways work the same way for all of us, and one that might open to you may not do so to me. Some people find gates opening through the weapon of their intellect, others via beauty (this is the way of my darling wife - wherever she goes, she brings beauty and she makes things beautiful). Others may pass through a gateway via concrete action in the world - being a mover and a shaker for a better society. Some people touch into the new story through their visionary capabilities (Elon Musk, for example). My way has been more through the heart, as you will be seeing.

Each chapter therefore explores a different gateway. We can touch into a new story through discovering new dimensions of power, through opening to courage, through finding a deeper love, through working with our dark side, through accessing joy, through being willing to confront death, and so on, and I have chapters on all these topics.

Each entry point, if followed through, is able potentially to connect us to a different facet of “new-storydom.” Let me explain it this way. Let us say we want to find out more about Greece! If so, we need to find one or more entry points that will take us to that nation’s heart, for when we access that heart, then we potentially have access to everything we need to know about that country. The challenge is to find a way appropriate for us. Perhaps, if we are literary, we can get there through a knowledge of Greek literature. If we are a musician, perhaps we can familiarize ourselves with the folk music of that country; if an architect, with Greek architecture. Similarly, Greek food, or Greek wines, or its politics can also be revelatory. Conversely, we can fall in love with someone from that country - a very strong entry point indeed. It doesn’t matter. The more ways we have of touching into the essence of Greece, the better.

And so each chapter in this book serves as a potential gateway or entry point into a potentially new story for humanity. I could have written many more chapters on other entry points, but I think the ones I have included here are sufficient and give you enough information. As I also work as a corporate consultant, I have included a chapter about finding a new story for the corporate world as I think it very important that this arena goes through a powerful metamorphosis. My thesis, then, is basically this: if we can find the right gateway or gateways for ourselves and, going through them, we initiate radical changes in our lives, then we’ll begin seeing the world in a new way and so start living in a new way. Certain things we used to do, we’ll stop doing and certain others things we never thought we’d be involved with, we find ourselves taking up. So whether we are a butcher or baker or candlestick maker, or economist, educator, professor of engineering, IT consultant, social worker or housewife, this new way will then gradually get injected more and more into the way we think and operate.

What I hope you will start to see as you get more into this book is that the shift from an old-story way of approaching life to a new-story way is a transition on many levels. Not only will your vision be expanded, but you will become fitter physically, emotionally and mentally as well as having access to many significant human qualities that may not have been available to you before.

Evolving your soulhood

I talk a lot about soul. If there is one thing which distinguishes the new stories from the old, it is that in the new stories we have a lot of soul and in the old ones soul is very much obscured. Find a gateway into a new story, and soul in all its many manifestations starts emerging. Learn to experience joy or to open your heart in love, and soul appears. We can say, then, that every chapter in this book represents a different gateway into soul, and as all of them have exercises at the end to help you work through what you have just read, you may also view this book as being a kind of work manual to help you evolve your soulhood.

This book may also be seen as a follow-on from my last book, Awakening the Universal Heart: A Guide for Spiritual Activists, where I argued that if we learn to open up our hearts and realize more of the humanity existing inside them, that we can become a very potent force for change in the world. As I believe it is mainly through our hearts that we can hear the promptings of our soul, for me soul and heart are very close to each other and the more we have of one, often the more we have of the other.

Dr. Serge Obolensky Beddington-Behrens, MA (Oxon.), Ph.D., K.S.M.L., is an Oxford-educated transpersonal psychotherapist, shaman, activist, and spiritual educator. In 2000 he was awarded an Italian knighthood for services to humanity. For forty years he has conducted spiritual retreats all over the world. In the 1980s, he cofounded the Institute for the Study of Conscious Evolution in San Francisco. The author of Awakening the Universal Heart, he divides his time between London and Mallorca.

“This uplifting book is packed with spiritual exercises to help us work to bring about positive change both in our personal lives and in the life of our society. It gives us hope and insight as to how to approach our current challenges and in doing so take responsibility to heal those wounds that we human beings have inflicted upon ourselves. Deeply engaging!”

– Penny Sartori, Ph.D., author of The Wisdom of the Near-Death Experiences

“In this wise and compassionate distillation of his life journey, Serge has given us an invaluable handbook for spiritual and psychological health and development in our complex era of unparalleled challenges and opportunities. He provides a series of gateways and key insights into essential aspects of life, such as courage, forgiveness, joy, and work, along with extensive practical reflections and exercises to do at the end of each chapter. A hugely enriching and rewarding read.”

– David Lorimer, program director of the Scientific and Medical Network, UK, and author of Resonant Mi

“This book is a vast compendium of ideas and exercises that can help us take the next steps in our own soul awakening in ways that also make them a contribution to the further evolution of the human species.”

– Thomas Yeomans, Ph.D., founder of the Concord Institute

“In a time of unparalleled crises, Gateways to the Soul uncovers with laser-like precision the soulless, amoral, ruthless dynamic that drives our so-called civilization. Knowing that nothing will change in the outer world unless changes are made in our inner one, it then leads us gently but firmly into the neglected chambers of the soul, bringing clarity, insight, and the possibility of transformation to entrenched unconscious patterns of belief and behavior. This book heals, informs, and enlightens, releasing us from the corroding power of old wounds and old habits, some of which may have festered inside us for centuries. A brilliant manual that teaches us how to live life in a different way, engaging with its abundant energy, discover its secret intention for us, which is to consciously embrace the freedom to be who we are meant to be.”

– Annee Baring, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and author of The Dream of the Cosmos

“In this book about wisdom and compassion, Serge introduces us to practical gateways to walk through into our shared future. A spiritual classic.”

– Dale Mathers, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and author of Alchemy and Psychotherapy

“Serge Beddington-Behrens is a wise and inspiring soul. His new book is full of insights and provocations that will stir you and help open up your heart and mind.”

– William Bloom, Ph.D., founder and co-director of the Foundation for Holistic Spirituality and author

“Serge is absolutely right in saying that we cannot retrieve our individual or our collective souls without also retrieving the soul of our beloved earth, with its every molecule as alive as we are. In the harm we have done to our world and in this great storm of crises we have currently unleashed upon ourselves, we can only successfully navigate our way forward and start melting our blockages by realizing our unity with all life.”

– Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D., evolutionary biologist, futurist, professor in residence at Chaminade Uni

“An excellent guide for breaking out of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and how the world is that will help us become more alive and awake to the untapped potential we all have to create a better world.”

– Peter Russell, futurist, eco-philosopher, author of The Awakening Earth, Finding Your Own Happiness,

“If you savor this book by Serge Beddington-Behrens, your life will be enriched. You will hear and feel one of the kindest and most beautiful voices of personal and spiritual wisdom from a man who has dedicated his life to serving and uplifting his fellow human beings and this planet that we all share.”

– Stuart Sovatsky, Ph.D., author of Advanced Spiritual Intimacy