Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center, teaches meditation and scientific prayer, as well as the Life Visioning Process, which he created. He is a regular guest of Oprah and CNN, and speaks at seminars and conferences around the world.
C2: How do you define spirituality?
MBB: When defining spirituality we have to begin with the word spiritual itself. Common etymology tells us spiritual means “of or concerning the spirit or soul.” The Latin root, “spiritus” means to breathe. When we add to that that meditation practice is about observing the breath, it becomes complete. So spiritual is synonymous with our soul-qualities including love, intuition, peace, intelligence, compassion, and other qualities that are non-dual in nature. To practice spirituality is about becoming more and more conscious of the Reality of being, of our true nature. A spiritual person is one who is waking up to that which is limitless and timeless about his/her true nature.
C2: Do we need spirituality?
MBB: Whether we think we need it or not, it’s already a part of us–the most vital aspect of our being that animates our very life. We are spiritual beings having a human incarnation.
C2: Your teachings have been described as New Thought-Ageless Wisdom. Can you explain how this differs from traditional organized religion?
MBB: The New Thought-Ageless Wisdom tradition of spirituality has as its foundation the awareness that this “Great Something”–by whatever name we choose call it: God, the Ineffable, Existence, Cosmic Intelligence, Unconditional Love, or no name at all–is within us. Next, we teach that we are here to consciously participate in our own inner evolutionary growth, which is an inward practice that culminates in fulfilling our candidacy for enlightenment, right here, right now, on the ground where we now stand.
Mainline religions direct people more outwardly–that if they surrender their life to an outer figure who will save them, if they live by a certain set of beliefs, they’re guaranteed heaven in the afterlife.