By Serge Beddington-Behrens / www.o-books.com
Amazing Grace is a memoir of someone who has lived a very interesting, unusual, and unconventional life. Born into wealth and privilege – his mother was a Princess, part of the Russian Royal family, and his father was a multi-millionaire financier, Serge was first educated at Harrow and then Christ Church, Oxford ( where he was a member of the infamous Bullingdon club). However, it is the story of someone who came to decide that there was much more to life than living it chicly and glamorously, and that if one wants to find real meaning, one is called to find this very elusive thing called one’s real self!
So having lived a pretty elitist social life at university, where he dressed as a dandy, was seen as a ‘deb’s delight’ and went to every smart party that existed, a big shift happened when he left. He realised that his old life was not making him happy and so instead of becoming the banker that his father wanted him to be, Serge decided to dedicate his life to discovering truth and finding out who he really was behind his egoic mask.
This search took him on many interesting journeys and meetings with some remarkable human beings. He met some of the foremost thinkers and philosophers of the time, sat at the feet of many mystics and holy men and holy women, and trained as a shaman and a transpersonal psychotherapist. So instead of carrying the mantle of his father where fame, power, materiality, success and becoming a societal ‘somebody’ was the main name of the game, he chose to dedicate his life to becoming a teacher of transformation and an activist for a better world – doing his best to have his life make a positive difference in as many areas as possible.
This then is the story of a man’s gradual transformation from boy/dandy and socialite to healer and activist for a transformed planet. And it’s a rollicking good read. At no time is Serge afraid to share some of the darker sides of his nature and the struggles he went through in coming face to face with his macho-ness, his narcissism, his despair, his superficiality, his wimpiness, his struggles with women, his elitism, snobbishness and manipulativeness. The underlying message of his life is ‘Folks, if you and I are to survive, we need greatly to ‘up our game’! He quotes the great Indian sage Sri Aurobindo.
To hope for a change in human life without a change in human nature is an irrational proposition….an impossible miracle.
This then is the very honest, open, no-holds barred story of a man struggling to be more human and finding much joy out of the process of dedicating his life to helping others do the same. He has many anecdotes that make one roar with laughter, and one realises that even when he is going through the ringers, his sense of humour never abandons him.
So, if you want a romp through Oxford in the early sixties where echoes of Brideshead Revisited still existed or want to know more about the swinging sixties generally leading to the counter cultural and ‘new age’ movements of the seventies, or what was the significance of the Human Potential movement that was birthed in San Francisco, then this book will interest you.
If you also want to know more about how ‘higher consciousness’ operates, and what we can learn from gurus and holy men and how certain psychedelic substances (which he calls sacred substances) can , open up the doors of our higher perception, this book may also be for you.
Its title is based on the fact that Serge has always felt that a graced presence has been with him and has looked after him and guided him, and that this was the case even before he knew anything about spirituality. He tells a story about how a Qi Gong Master healed his leukaemia and how, when doing an international ski race, he experienced what felt like angels intervening and rescuing him from crashing onto rocks.
This memoir was written when Serge was 77 and we not only learn about the different stages that men go through as they age, but also how in a culture that primarily only values youth and beauty, Serge has learned not merely to come to terms with his elderhood but has found much about it that gives him joy and satisfaction. An uplifting read.
Amazing Grace: Memoirs of a Transformational Journey is about one man’s struggle to discover his soul in a soulless world, in which he argues that a new kind of human being needs to emerge if our society is to be healed. This new person will need to be someone who will have ‘worked on themselves’ to have become less materialistic and less ego-centred, more planet-friendly and, in particular, more concerned about the well-being of their fellow human beings.
In this honest and no-holds-barred book, we learn that if we choose to undertake such a journey, there is no avoiding a confrontation with all those areas of ourselves which prevent this. In author Serge Beddington-Behren’s case, this included his need to come face to face with his chauvinism, his ‘little boy’ who refused to grow up, his narcissism – the myth that the ‘right woman’ would save him – and the delusion of being ‘special’! Chronicling his encounters with the many wise people he’s met along his way, Amazing Grace shows how to let go of attachments to false narratives and assists one in becoming more honest and open-hearted. Serge’s adventures are amusing in places; his hope is that upon discovering the many gifts and blessings that came his way as he aspired to evolve, the reader might feel moved to embark upon similar journeys of self-discovery, vital to our planet’s survival.
Amazing Grace :Memoirs of a Transformational Journey by Serge Beddington-Behrens is available from www.o-books.com and from wherever books are sold.