Michael Bernard Beckwith is founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center and a featured teacher in The Secret. He teaches meditation and scientific prayer, conducts retreats, and speaks at conferences and seminars around the world. In this spiritual primer, Beckwith presents his vision of a new day:
"An enlightened society can only be created by awakened beings. It is my fervent prayer that you will be inspired to reveal your innate capacity to become a beneficial presence on the planet and actively contribute peace, compassion, lovingkindness, and selfless service to humanity and our world."
The world will be transformed when more individuals live according to their Authentic Self, their true nature of wholeness. The evolution into spiritual maturity is propelled by seven practices:
• Giving thanks for what most people take for granted
• Giving without an agenda
• Seeing who can forgive first
• Experiencing life as a celebration rather than a problem to be solved
• Talking to ourselves and not to the world
• Choosing happiness over drama
• Understanding the value of downtime
The process of spiritual liberation, according to Beckwith, is jump-started by intention and attention. It is fueled by discipline which becomes "blissapline" when we realize that it leads to a new way of being. This path means moving beyond the tyranny of trends and becoming an adventurer in consciousness. Beckwith exudes:
"A freedom song sings through me now. It's a song of infinite potential and divine possibility. I am in league with pure Spirit in the conscious co-creation of my life and body of affairs. I am a distribution center of generosity, joy, love, forgiveness, and beauty. I was born free and now enter the depths of my soul to discover my ultimate freedom. It is done."
Spiritual maturity, according the Beckwith, consists in being "creatively maladjusted," which means that you don't buy into consumerism's lies, the celebrity culture that celebrates personality over character, or the emphasis of the high-tech low-touch society that spends more on bombs than on taking care of people. As we move along the path of our spiritual evolution, we become architects of the beloved community, a term coined by the philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce. The author explores some of the challenges along the way including avoiding the myth of perfection, preventing identity theft, and spiritualizing one's livelihood.
In a rousing section called "Minding Your Spiritual Manners on Planet Earth," Beckwith hits high stride with cogent commentary on the spiritual practices of enthusiasm, integrity, respect, generosity, and creativity. Each chapter in the book contains both an affirmation and an embodiment practice. One of the last affirmations reads:
"I attune myself to the creative impulse that indwells me and seeks expression through me. I live to express my essential creativeness by performing every act mindfully, with the attentiveness of the artist that I am. My life is my canvas, and I cover it in acts of beauty, kindness, generosity, and authentic self-expression."