Q&A with Geoff Thompson, author of The Divine CEO

1. What is The Divine CEO about and why did you write it?

GT: in short, the divine CEO is the higher soul.

This is the aspect of our nature that is in exile, and only takes up permanent residence in the body once the animal soul (or the ego) wakes up – this is usually triggered by a crisis or an epiphany (same thing really) – goes to war with its selfish impressions, kicks them out, and makes clean and make room for its higher twin. This inner war or kenosis (self emptying) is often referred to in Islamic traditions as the greater jihad. The higher soul enters us to the exact proportion that we make room for it. 

‘We can have as much of God as we like’ as the old saying goes ‘but we first have to make room for Him’.

Once we make a connection between the lower and higher soul, a covenant is made. The ego surrenders it’s pseudo autonomy over the body, and gives it over to its rightful owner, the soul: this (in Christian theology) is known as freedom under authority.

Once connection is established, the soul becomes our direct teacher. Like a divine sat nav it charts the perfect path for us, and allows us to follow our own personal dharma.

We might do a million disparate things on our earthly sojourn, and all of them might seem very worthy to us, but really we are only here to do one specific thing, and the soul will show us what that is.

On this point, we follow intuitive commands and directions, and, like light travelling through water, the soul will calculate the billions of possible routes we might take, and it will proffer us the one route we should take: the optimum.

I write about it because it is my dharma to write about it. That’s my instruction, the command of my soul.

Part of this direction is to pass on to others what I have been taught, and also to underline the essence for myself, so that I can understand it to a higher level.

One of the delicious aspects of metaphysical practice is that we don’t tend to get the full knowing until we voice it to others: we don’t really know what we know until we pass what we know on to others.

2. Guy Ritchie once said that you are ‘a spiritual trouble maker’ because you have taken your practice outside the safety of theology, and tested it in the practical crucible of the competitive world. Can you provide some examples of times you have tested your practice in the competitive world and what did you learn from that?

GT:  Ever since I can remember, I have always been a trouble maker, but only in the sense that I would never take yes for an answer. I think I was aware, even as a child, that my teachers, my peers, my family, my society our leaders  were only offering half-truth-answers to the questions I was asking. And a half truth is either a full-fat lie or it is an interim truth. I wanted to know which,

and I innately knew that unless I went out and experienced phenomena for myself I was never really going to find out, I would always be living a life of hand-me-down truths, a second-hand jumble-sale type of life, and that really is not good enough. Certainly it is not the kingdom that we were all promised.

I could see that most people – myself included – were taking others people’s truths, and weaving them into an unsatisfactory life. They never really questioned what they were being told, the never did the rigour on the aspect of reality that was being presented to them. And the reason for this was fear. People (I found) were very afraid of challenging the mores. And when (if) they challenged it, they were very quickly noted as trouble makers, criticised, and even physically attacked.

I was the same at first; every time my aspiration put its head above the parapet, it was quickly targeted, if not by the voices around me, certainly by the conditioned voice inside my head. This inevitable led to depression, which only compounded my fear. Then, while suffering a particularly deliberating depression in my early twenties – which, like all the others I had been assailed by previously, threatened to stray around forever – I found an unexpected charge of courage from Somewhere and decided that I was no longer going  to be a punch bag for my own body-chemistry (like with most people, it was the rush of Adrenalin that placed bars around my world) and decided to fight back. I wrote down every single thing that I was afraid of and systematically confronted them one by one. This one single instruction from my soul (and it didn’t come it couldn’t come until my ego surrendered, until it was literally on its knees) transformed my whole life. The fear that had been holding me back, became the fuel that propelled me forwards. The forces that blocked my path were consumed in the act of volition. This is not a metaphor: they were literally consumed. And of course, I realised later, that’s why these adverse forces fight like their life depends on it, to stop you from evolving: their life does depend on it, because in the act of ascension they are annihilated. Since that first encounter my whole life has been about challenging the social mores, challenging the concepts of class and privilege and potential and the so-called limitations of the manifest world. To excel you have to become an outsider, and that by definition is what a spiritual trouble maker is.

3. You are a former bouncer, world ranking martial arts guru, and BAFTA winning screenwriter. How have you incorporated spirituality into those various arenas?

GT: Everything I have achieved so far in my life is due to the miracle of expanded consciousness: all the things I wanted to experience were already there, but I couldn’t see them, they were just outside the periphery of my awareness. As I manually expanded my awareness I found myself in the experiences enjoying them, rather than on the outside of them, wondering how I might get in.

Spirituality was incorporated into all those arenas by proxy of the fact that I broke through the firmament of my old realities – the perception, the cognition, the limiting concepts – and into the frequency of the new. The very act of changing bandwidths is a spiritual, metaphysical Siddha.

I grew up in a working-class environment in an industrial city, where oil and graft were seen as honest and anything other was above our pay-grade. We were educated just enough to get us employment in factories and shops and other places that were absolutely respectable, but unequivocally below our potential. To do anything outside of those limiting expectations meant challenging everything you knew, everything you were taught and everyone you loved. The moment you thought you could do better, you were deemed a big head,  pretentious, or a dreamer, and you were very quickly (explicitly and implicitly) herded back to your pen by the Shepard of fear, and warned not to try and get above our station. To try and do better was the equivalent of saying you were better than everyone else; I was very afraid of people thinking that about me. I knew I was not better than anyone else, but I also knew that I was a lot better than the situation in which I found myself living, Breaking out of these perceptual prisons was to the highest degree spiritual. Naturally, when it came to writing, I wrote, not so much about what I knew, rather I wrote about what I had experienced in order than I might know more. As I said earlier, until we have processed our experiences – and I processed mine with a pen and paper – we don’t really understand the process. All my work is autobiographical by nature, and through brutally honesty I have been able to separate the wheat from the tare, and reduce the mass of my learning down to a understandable and teachable concentrate.

4. More specifically, as a screenwriter, how have you been able to incorporate your spirituality or expanded conscious awareness into various movies and screenplays. What has that been like?

GT: I have to say that it is absolutely exhilarating to write a book or a play or a film about my experiences and then – before, during and after the process – understand those experiences at an entirely different level.

I injected all my stories with as much honesty as I could muster, and experienced expanded awareness, arcana, as a reward.

For instance, I didn’t understand the undeniable, metaphysical power of forgiveness until I wrote a book, a stage play, and a feature film about how I forgave a man who abused me as a boy. I didn’t understand why

– as St. Paul says (Romans 12:20) – that forgiving someone was like heaping ‘fires of coal’ on their head. I didn’t understand that forgiveness (in the sense of letting someone off with a crime) was not even a human power, it is a divine imperative, and our only job was to recognise this, and give our grudge over to the self-levelling Universe: Reciprocity levels the hill and fills the valleys without need of our witness. I didn’t understand for even one moment that to let go of our juvenile belief that we have the power to forgive, and give it over to a Power that does, was like shining a light onto a shadow. I didn’t understand also, that I often held onto my own grudges and refused to forgive others because deep down I realised that the moment I stopped looking at their sin, I would be forced to look at my own. Mine was a quite conceit. When I confronted the predator that abused me and told him that I forgave him, I was able to see that I was full of error myself; I had so many things that needed to be forgiven, and I had not even looked at them because I was so busy distracting myself with what everyone else was doing wrong.

You can only be forgive to the degree that you can forgive others, because our sin is hidden behind the belief that the forgiveness of their sin was in our hands. It is not. But the cleansing of our own is: the moment we stop looking at the faults of others and start looking at the faults of ourselves, we start to really work. Through repentance – and I mean repentance in the Judaic sense of return (to God or Goodness) or the Buddhist sense of refuge (returning to the still center)we are able to cleanse ourselves, and in doing so make room for expanded consciousness. I didn’t so much incorporate spirituality into my work, but I did incorporate unfiltered truth into every story, and this produced the fruit of spirituality.

I once wrote a ten minute film about called Bouncer:

You would not think that this subject matter could contain spirituality, and I didn’t really aim at anything metaphysical, but I did feel compelled to tell my story as it is. This proved to be so powerful that the ten minute script attracted a Hollywood actor (who worked for free he was so moved by it), and was BAFTA nominated. On the surface the film was about a bouncer, sub-textually it was about the unrelenting power of reciprocity.

If you aim for the truth in your work, you will not miss God.

5. In the book you talk about how to contract your ego. What does that mean? Do you view the ego as helpful or harmful in our spiritual pursuit and how can one manage it?

GT: Some years ago I spoke to Uri Geller on the phone; I asked him ‘Uri, how can I improve?’ He said, ‘Geoff you must expand.’ On another day, hungry for knowing, I spoke to Ghandi in a deep meditation, I asked him the same question, ‘Mahatma, how can I improve?’ He said, ‘Geoff, you must make yourself small.’  It might sound contradictory but actually they were both offering the same, sage advice: in order to expand we must contract. In order to contract we must expand. When we contract the ego, consciousness expands. When we expand consciousness, the ego contracts. 

We contract the ego by subjugating it, by bringing it under conscious control; we can do this through disciplines (physical, psychological, spiritual), through control of palate (which includes everything we ingest through the five senses) through works (study, selfless, anonymous service) and through repentance (as mentioned earlier). The ego is a pseudo magistrate; it thinks it is in control, we take that our control back by making the body and mind unhospitable for the ego.  Eventually, the ego surrenders, and becomes the wiling servant of the soul, recognising that it never really had any control anyway, and also recognising that it can get everything it wants if it meets the needs of the soul. At this point, the ego becomes (what I call in the divine ceo) the sentinel ego. It takes direction or commandment from the higher self, and enacts it in the manifest word: this instruction might be a book we need to read, a habit we need to change, or a charitable act we need to carry out. 

While the ego is in charge, it can be very dangerous, because it works from a purely selfish perspective, and often brings the soul into disrepute and causes it it to suffer. The ego (as they say) makes a good servant, but a bad master. Once the ego is broken and controlled, it is a very powerful and necessary ally: after all the soul cannot operate in the corporeal world without an egoic intermediary.  In the Torah this is demonstrated allegorically in the story of Moses, who represented the awakened but inarticulate soul, and his brother Aaron who became his spokesperson or emissary, his sentinel ego. 

Every time the ego is reduced, consciousness floods into the vacated areas, the places that we have reclaimed. 

So, when ego contracts, consciousness expands.

We expand consciousness through meditation, through breath work (yoga, tai-chi, qigong, high end martial arts budo etc.) through prayer, through religious study (exoteric, and then esoteric) and through works (service etc).

When we expand consciousness, ego contracts.

Ideally we would try and work on expansion and contraction at the same time. For the serious adept, their whole life will be dedicated to this task: so that he or she is not dipping in-and-out now-and-then, rather they are in constant union with the divine.

6. Have you experienced any serendipity or synchronicity in your life? If so, how?

GT: I could probably write an entire book just about the serendipity and synchronicity in my life. The more cantered I am in spirituality, the more occasions of serendipity and synchronicity I experience. Perhaps I can give a couple of strong examples, bearing in mind that I go into greater detail on all these aspect in my book. 

Serendipity: I have become very developed in (what I now call) divine networking. Unlike traditional networking, where you might work a room and try to make as many potentially profitable connections as possible, specifically connections that will profit you or your business, with divine networking you do none of that. You are not looking for fiscal profit, or well-connected associates, in fact you are not looking at all, rather you are waiting, waiting for an unmistakable feeling, a divine introduction. The signature is often so subtle, and usually so unlikely that you could quite easily miss it, or pass if off as unimportant. Once the introduction is made – and this can happen anywhere at any time, the Universe is expert at bringing you hidden charity-opportunities when you least expect it  – you immediately follow the instruction of your intuition. The instruction might be anything from buying a rough sleeper a cup of tea, offering someone a free book, or even meeting them for a chat, if you intuit you can guide them. The idea is that you follow the instruction, and then, afterwards, forget about it, don’t give any thought to the why or the ‘what’s in this for me’. The moment you bring your own profit into the equation, the divine connection is broken, and the magic dies.   A quick example: I was doing a book signing in Manchester. I knew I would be divinely introduced to someone, but I did not know who. I was approached after the event by a young guy called Ben, who was working at the shop as an assistant. He said he’d been inspired by my book, and wanted to become a writer himself; he asked if he could meet me for an hour, perhaps do an interview with me that he could try and sell. On paper this delightful lad was of no obvious profit to me, but I felt a spark, I knew that he was the one I was ordained to meet. I met him the next week, and ended up spending half a day with him. After we parted I never gave it another thought. A week later I was contacted by Ben’s sister (Natasha) who simply rang to thank me for spending time with her brother. She told me that she was a film producer, and asked me if I’d consider writing a script for them. This one meeting lead a BAFTA nominated short film called Bouncer, and a BAFTA winning film called Brown Paper Bag

Synchronicity: I wrote a film called Romans 12:20 https://vimeo.com/10904113 an autobiographical script about the metaphysical power of forgiveness. I added a fictionalised adjunct to the story about the abuser committing suicide after he is forgiven, just to reinforce the concept of reciprocal recourse. In my own life this was not true; the abuser in question was still very much alive. The day we started to cast the film, I was on the phone to an old friend, who happened to mention that the my abuser – a man very well known locally – had been arrested for historical crimes against children, and had killed himself rather than face his day in court. It was very chilling. I’d only written the suicide into the script because it felt deeply intuitive, it corroborated with the story narrative, but before the film was even shot, this strange act of synchronicity occurred and seemed to vindicate everything I was trying to say about the universe settling its own accounts. 

7. What are you planning to do next?

GT: I don’t really plan too far ahead, other than the fact that I have two books out this year, and I know I‘ll be helping to promote them. I just wait for direction, and that always comes from the work that I am putting into the world.   There’s a great line in the Old Testament, Isiah (49:6) that I do my best to heed:  

“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead you”. 

I send out my books, my films, my plays etc. and the response that I get from them always leads me in the most direct way and to the most delightful encounters, usually meetings with new teachers who help me to be more productive during my sojourn of the Great Earth.

8. Any tips you might want to offer to the people out there reading this interview?

GT: There is a great line in Dante’s Divine Comedy, “your fame is waiting for you, but you will not find it from a cushion or from a bed”.

We have to do the work. The work won’t do itself.  We have to be comfortable with discomfort: there is no growth in comfort. And you don’t need anyone else’s permission to live your own life in your own unique way. Waiting for permission is disempowering; empower yourself, give yourself permission.