Jane Murray, a former commercial lawyer qualified in the UK, Ireland and New York, and now a start-up entrepreneur in the United Kingdom, has shifted both in her life and in her career from inhabiting the head-space to the heart-space. As she's sought connection and belonging in a disconnected world, she has seen and experienced the power of small acts – and now seeks to amplify them to foster greater inner and outer peace.
As a lawyer, Jane spent her career
based in London specializing in venture capital and running a fund in Gibraltar for a few decades. She 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. For the last decade of this time in the venture capital world, she was studying and teaching Fourth Way philosophy and trying to cultivate an inner space while navigating a cut-throat external working world. The tension between her inner and outer worlds imploded with the sudden death in 2015 of her father – a technology innovator and entrepreneur who had helped develop SMS technology, and with whom she had worked. The loss of her father, coupled with the subsequent corporate battles, compelled her to focus on her three passions: peace, community consciousness and technology.
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, connected and out of their headspace into their heartspace in the most stressful times of the day. “This is not about changing yourself,” the company says. “It's about being your best self.”
Peacebeam delivers five minutes of peaceful time through the app Insight Timer
. The idea for the offering came to Jane fully formed in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. She was struck by her own naiveté, as she had believed that the kind of borders that existed no longer did. Jane conceived of Peacebeam as a way of helping others address the stress and overwhelm of living in a city. She realized the largest urban community was the one that commutes into and out of London daily – people doing the same thing at the same time and, although they don't typically look at or speak to each other, sharing the same space. Jane wanted to activate people's heart centers so they might see the idea of their (our) connectedness.
Jane is an avid watcher of the transformative technology space and believes that the next big evolution on consciousness will be the move from the headspace to the heartspace. She sees technology fundamentally as a delivery system for our human intentions – and if those intentions are unconditional good for ourselves and the world around us, we could make some pretty staggering changes.
Jane believes there has been a seismic shift in consciousness in the last 20-30 years that technology has compromised. As we moved forward into the technological age, we created borders based on our internal worlds of which we were unaware. She says that if we don't understand our internal borders, then we will create a world that we can't move on from. We won't understand how we can connect deeply within ourselves and with each other. Our internal spaces are being eroded with the spread of technology. The growth of the well-being industry is a testament to that, but the well-being industry has created an exaggerated sense of individualism and wealth: it is all about my consciousness, my enlightenment, my well-being, which is fed by some of these technologies. This leads to a kind of narcissism, which is destructive.
we need to capture this emerging wave of shifting consciousness and move it from wellbeing to world-being. She sees Peacebeam as working within the creative constraints of the commute time
to activate our innate humanity. She says we forget how powerfully creative we are. Jane’s experiences have convinced her that the motivating force for overcoming any challenge is love. There is no algorithm for it, but people are constantly acting from it. The creative capacity that we all have, that sets us apart, that no technology or machine can replicate is our connection to self and to each other. That's what has been eroded when we give our agency away to technology, and that's what is restored through love. Jane sees technology as the delivery system for our human intentions – unconditional good for ourselves and the world around us, a space where wisdom, values, ethics, and technology coalesce and where small acts like taking five minutes to feel centered, compassionate, kindness, empathy and caring can make big changes in the world.
She is using that wisdom in the service of others through Peacebeam. Having been part of the old paradigm, she sees that her generation – those who bridge the old world and the new – are called to contribute that unique understanding and help navigate the transition. There is a job to be done of palliative care for the collapsing old structures and midwifery for the birthing of the new. “Neither process is straightforward but we need everyone who feels moved to lend their energy to the space where wisdom, values, ethics and technology coalesce,” she says. “That is the arc of the future and where small acts will make big changes.” She is simultaneously a cynic and an idealist and believes it is imperative to hold both views while we are at the cross-roads of this new era. She wants to mobilize this generation to get involved and has conceived of and initiated Peacebeam to do just that.
Join us in conversation with this inspiring leader!
Five Questions with Jane Murray
What Makes You Come Alive?
Belonging and connection. We live in a world of disconnection and individualism and that has always given me a lot of friction, although I didn't realise that was the issue until well into middle age. I have been a lawyer and VC for a couple of decades and had adapted myself, as we all do, to a world where kindness and connection aren't considered to be useful unless it results in money or influence. That is just the sea that we all swim in. Now, creating moments for people to connect to themselves to their communities and to their world makes me come alive. And the moments are brief, but it doesn't matter, I believe that brief moments of connection are infinitely more powerful than I am capable of understanding.
Pivotal turning point in your life?
My father's death was irrevocably transforming. Nothing about me, my relationship to the world, to meaning, to fear, to life, is the same.
An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?
The first time in my life that somebody listened to me without interupting, silver lining, or re-orienting my thoughts is something I will never forget. It was about 9 years ago, I was so surprised by the energy of this person, so focussed and gentle and kind. This is not a particularly dramatic story but it changed me, I understood for the first time, what we do when we listen to another person, it is so profoundly kind.
One Thing On Your Bucket List?
Getting a pilot's licence.
One-line Message for the World?
We belong to each other and to our planet.