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Jane Murray: Moving from Headspace to Heartspace and Midwifing the New
Nuggets From Jane Murray's Call
Last Saturday, we had the privilege of hosting Awakin Call with Jane Murray.
Jane Murray, a former commercial venture capital lawyer and now a start-up entrepreneur in the United Kingdom, has seen and experienced the power of small acts – and now seeks to amplify them through transformative technology to foster greater inner and outer peace. As a lawyer, Jane was actively involved with companies during the technology boom and witnessed the shadow side of that boom – the de-coupling of value from values, as well as the results of extraordinary material success without concurrent wisdom. Jane founded Peacebeam as the culmination of her own movement from headspace to heart-space. Peacebeam calls itself “a facilitator for kindness” that offers short audios (called peacebeams) that are designed for commuters and busy people to get calm and connected. Jane believes that small acts like taking five minutes to feel centered, compassionate, kindness, empathy and caring can make big changes in the world.
Here are some of the wisdom nuggets that stood out from the call ...
- Peacebeam has been around for 18 months now – it was an idea that came to Jane “fully formed. So I don't take huge amount of personal credit for it. It was one of those moments we get in our lives where a very clear direction is shown to us. I had had a large-scale discontinuum in the life that I was living in 2015, when my father died and the world shifted for me. I had [already] been struggling for a few years with reconciling my own personal values [in the professional world I operated].” Then came the summer of 2016, with its “divisive referendum leading to Brexit”, and then the US election cycle. “Peacebeam came out of desire to reconnect first myself and also to help reconnect others back to power to make decisions about the kind of world they want to live in.” It is based on the recognition that small, daily acts can have big ripples.
- Peacebeam offers short audios that are “not meditations, but activations” – designed to have people “not in their mental space, but in their heart space. Once we activate heart, everything changes – physiology changes, how we speak changes. Those small changes create the tapestry of the world we live in.”
- “Our personal journeys are not disconnected with the times we live in – we live our personal truths in the context of those larger trends and changes. How we process things on a micro-cosmic level has a profound impact on the larger picture – the macro-cosmic.”
- “The event of my father dying set off a cascade of things in my life – it meant the end of my father, then the end of a lot of the businesses I was involved in, death of identity, relationships that I thought were something else. It was sort of a Greek play for a few months.”
- “I had had a long and intense spiritual path for the preceding 12 years – I believed I had the answer to everything, having become a student of the Fourth Way (and teaching that). I had managed to lie to myself that I had somehow become enlightened. It sounds absurd, but that's what I believed.”
- “After those events [surrounding death of my father and aftermath], I found myself at sea, and in a very dark night of the soul. None of the knowledge I had acquired was helpful to me. Those series of events left me with no place to go but inward. So that was how I understood the difference between the two [the head and the heart]. I had programmed my mind with knowledge before -- you can get away with that for a long time. Eventually my heart caught up with me. You can't get away from the heart. There are certain ways of living that our heart won't tolerate – the mind will, but not our heart. The heart steps in to mediate our relationships with the world. That's where I understood the distinction for me between those two things. I found that what's helped me in that period was the very simple and the very small things. Kind words. Encouragement. Smile. Words not said, when that's the most helpful. Those small things were the profound stirrings of the qualities of the heart – hope, faith, trust, etc. – animated by those small acts of kindness.” It was a “profound movement away from a grandiose sense of spiritual knowledge. … Simple is not easy – but appeals directly to the landscape of our soul.”
- “Our relationship to power (and my relationship to power), and our humanity's relationship to it, has been very skewed. By moving into heart space – reclaiming our relationships to our heart – that's where we access power in the true sense. Where we have the power to make choices that are enhancing to our own lives and the lives of those around us, as opposed to not. My own sense of power recalibrated in that time as well.”
- I realized that with regard to “practices I had adopted early on, I had a real lack of trust/faith in them. I had almost developed a strangely talismanic relationship to those practices – almost like I was bargaining with the universe. If I do this, you have to deliver on the kind of life I imagined. … That was the truth of it – we all have a myth/construct/legend of how the world will be. I had a sense of exceptionalism (often goes with modern modalities). If I have a personal practice, etc., the laws of nature/universe wouldn't affect me. That was a deep belief in me.”
- “So during that interregnum period – I had no practices whatsoever, other than a consistent prayer of grace. This is a contemplation practice, not a meditation practice. I have to have a period every day of quiet contemplation, whether it’s 1-1/2 hours or 5 minutes. Contemplating the mysteries of the interior – it’s hard to language that because it’s different for everybody. Then a continual prayer that I will not be afraid of the life that I have been given.”
- “I read as well – material that I find inspirational. That's one of the most important things for me when I feel overwhelmed or disconnected – I read something that is inspirational or sacred to me. Divine reading, where people have really explored the inner landscape and the world of the heart.”
- “We never know what is a big choice and what is a small choice. We think we do. There is such a ripple effect, unseen – prevents the mind leaning into what's related to my destiny.”
- “Peacebeam was different from other things I was involved in -- I can only use the word ‘animation’. There was an interior animation present for me that didn't exist for other things. Internal animation where there is a pull and push at the same time. It was something I could not let go of. I felt an animation I hadn't felt in anything else. It was not an easy thing to do – it meant starting a business again (I didn't even think it would be a business). I just wanted to reconnect people to their powers of choice to determine the world we want to live in. …In the past, something would have had to appeal to my vanity.”
- Through exposure to the ServiceSpace ecosystem, Jane was exposed to “giftivism.” “Giftivism was a massive source of energy for me. The power that [the ecosystem] has to empower people trying to get these things off the ground. … I have had lots of visible and invisible help in keeping the faith and moving it forward.” Absent involvement in ServiceSpace, “my way to externalize this deeply internal call [to create Peacebeam] would have been to go to my default settings of creating a business plan, etc. I found that being around ServiceSpace kept me steady in terms of simplicity, small acts, moving slowly, with no need to scale overnight.”
- “In the 20th century we moved out of the age of reason into the age of energy – the world of the invisible. 2019 is the 20th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee popularizing the web. The impact of that – in terms of scale/speed of change – no part of our lives has been untouched by that. We have moved from a world of the material into a world of the invisible without having caught up with that. So the more reactionary issues we are seeing is also a reaction to that. For this call, people dial in remotely – this is all in the world of the invisible. Our relationship to information and ideas, the world we now live in, is energetic, not just physical. The world we live in is virtual.”
- In this new world, “everything is connected in a palpable sense. The speed at which we operate would have been unimaginable 30 years ago. As we deal with issues thrown up in reaction to that, what we require to navigate the world is a connection to our heart and intuition. Heart is the mother-ship. It determines how we are going to interact together and how we are going to move forward together in this world of hyperconnectivity.”
- “Peacebeam is simple way of helping people start to build the simple muscle of connection to themselves and others around them. It is simple and accessible to all. There are aspects of the current mindfulness movement (modern secular spirituality) that are inaccessible to many people still. Peacebeam is so simple and accessible – goes directly to the heart.”
- At the same time, “heart connection still requires physical connection. Online communities also require physical places for people to go to. There is a huge internal call for people across the world to make connection to each other. I see that wherever I go and whomever I speak to. There is an awareness of loneliness and isolation in a way I don't recall ever being spoken about before.”
- “Humans are designed for connection. To group together. If we're all making a small contribution consistently and diligently, then I'm extremely hopeful.” There is also an increase in the space of “transformative technology – anything designed to enhance people's experience of a conscious life – so much happening in that space that is designed to create connection.”
- “There is a huge transition we are making as civilization. We are moving incredibly rapidly from our rootedness the material world to the realm of the invisible, where our life is now lived. We need a highly attuned intuitive sense [to navigate that], which is the province of heart, not the mind.”
- “We are just beginning to make the journey from the mind to the heart. The crises that we see are signposts to point us in the right direction.”
- “This is not just a question of my well-being, but a question of our world-being. It’s something we need to solve collectively. Peacebeam and the idea of activation is to speak to that part of ourselves (the heart) which is the seat of virtues like compassion, empathy, understanding.... When they are stimulated, that creates a particular kind of energy – a physical, mental and emotional energy that has congruence to it.” The intent of Peacebeam is to draw “notice to how you feel, breathe, then [to inspire] activation, then to beam … that energy to go out from [you] to the world around [you].” The idea is to create not just moments of mindfulness, but also to foster “accountability for that – [in terms of how you then contribute to the] world of energy. Our thoughts and energy create the world we live in.” “We are active systems of cause and effect – that's the point about power. We must understand how powerful we are. The power we have is immense. It’s as simple as whether you smile or not. We can' have any idea of the ripples of that small act.”
- On how her personal shift affected her interactions with others: “Lots of relationships not rooted in truth dropped away.”
- On embracing not knowing: “As a lawyer, people pay you to know. So it would be very painful to admit that I don't know or am unsure of something. So [we] develop a false and brittle exterior of certainty. That then extended out in all areas of my life. … It permeates all parts of your life, so I had developed a very rational approach, which implies there is a reason that is graspable by you for everything that happens. When you hit a big crossroads and events in your life that you cannot account for – there doesn’t seem to be any reasons [for those events] – for me that was an enormous relief – to be able to let go of that and a part of myself that desperately looked for reasons. That's a feature of my mind. That’s one way for me now to test whether I’m in my mind or in my heart. When I'm constantly looking for reasons for things, that's when I'm in my mind. The heart doesn't really require reasons.”
- “Kindness is such a misunderstood thing. Our society dismisses it as if it’s the province of the weak. But it’s the most powerful thing you can do, to be kind.”
- “When we have these false constructs – it’s very easy, indeed it’s a requirement to keep these false constructs up – you have to be very judgmental of other people.”
- Our generation has the special task of ensuring that the processes of change are properly seeded and begun based on where we are coming from and where we want to get to in a way that is kind, responsible and has accountability. “We're born at particular time for particular reason.”
- Jane is interested in the purpose of the Anglo-American model of company and how that can be reimagined. “The company is a beautiful legal idea. We need to inject new consciousness into that. Our intention with Peacebeam would be to use revenue to generate an internal fund which would be available for peace-related projects that ordinarily wouldn't get access to capital.”
Lots of gratitude to all the behind-the-scenes volunteers that made this call happen!
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