by Anonymous, UK
I find trust to be a strange thing and speaking personally, not something that comes very easily to me. I was recently given pause to consider some of the people/institutions that we unconsciously trust.
The first one that came to mind was our relationship with Banks, who we daily entrust with our money, therefore making them enormously significant to us personally. It was interesting to reflect that in recent years that trust has slowly been eroded, be that in funds on deposit (Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland), miss-selling of financial products (PPI scandals) or the total lack of management’s personal integrity (which comes up again and again in the bonus scandals, and more recently in the LIBOR fixing and laundering of drug & terrorist funds). When you list it like that, it reads a little like a recent James Bond movie!
Once I’d started down this track, I began thinking about other institutions in which we have placed an enormous amount of trust but which have shown a steady pattern of abuse:
The Media provide us with a glance into every facet of life, and that freedom of expression enriches our society. However, there is a responsibility that comes with that free speech, and that is to make sure it is done with clear journalistic integrity, and not just for personal gain, sensationalism or worse still as ‘hate speech’ (intentional harm toward an individual or group). When I look at the Media, I am again struck by the lack of integrity which has crept in – and the enormous effect that has on society (just look at how far reaching the Leveson Enquiry into the phone hacking scandal was, or how damning the Hutton report on WMD and the Iraq war was on the BBC, which above all has tried to uphold some of that social responsibility). Little further needs to be said about the ‘moral compass’ of the paparazzi.
And that brings me to ‘the big question’ – how can we entrust someone or some organisation with understanding or supporting our connection to God?
Many people align to what they know best in the form of an established religion, which gives them a sense of community, worship and a relationship with something unknown and yet immutable. But again as with the other examples, many of these age old institutions have been corrupted, and what is worse, have used their power to corrupt others. The Catholic Church has a particularly poor reputation at the moment with the exposure of all the sex scandals and financial irregularities. Their choice of Pope this time round has been particularly interesting given his involvement in some of the scandals that abound (the Pope’s Butler leaked Vatican documents to combat the evil and corruption in the Church). Other denominations have their own inconsistencies – be that militarised Clerics promoting terrorism, or an inability to agree on whether one’s gender or sexuality should alter our relationship to God.
Others in their search for something different, not trusting the main religious orders, have sought out new ideas and themes in what has become known as the ‘New Age’. But we are well aware that this ‘movement’ has been riddled with charlatans, charismatic gurus and cult leaders who have abused their power. Their list of misdemeanours is equally impressive – with well documented sexual abuse of entire communities, financial embezzlement, drug abuse, secrecy and control over personal liberties including gated communities.
So how can one choose what to trust these days? Especially with something as personal and intangible as discovering more about one’s relationship to God?
Many years ago I remember reading about the Dalai Lama, who seems to me to be one of the few religious leaders in this world who has maintained an impeccable record through his unbelievable compassion and approach to life. In spite of the incredibly difficult situation he has found himself in with China and Tibet, he is someone that the world has GROWN to trust through his integrity and commitment. His advice on how to choose what path to take was to spend 5-10 years studying and reviewing everything you can about what is being taught, what example is being set and how life is being lived. After this review period you will know deep and true whether what is being presented can be trusted.
So that is what I did when I met Serge Benhayon in 2002 as I was not ready to commit myself to any particular path of study, although I have always been open and looking for answers. Over the next five years those around me were deeply involved in the work of Universal Medicine, helping to organise courses, give talks and working as practitioners, and this gave me a very detailed view of Universal Medicine’s work. At the same time I got to know Serge personally as a friend, to be with his family on holidays, to watch his kids grow up, and be privy to many of his business dealings.
After five years I can tell you that here is a man that has ABSOLUTE integrity, complete consistency and an unwavering love of people. He treats me in the same way regardless of whether I engage with the work or not. He treats people with the same love and honesty regardless of whether they are his kids, or someone he is meeting for the first time. He has the integrity to live exactly what he is teaching, to say the truth no matter what, to eat, sleep, walk and talk in a way that supports him to be even more available to those in need, and with no scandal, financial irregularities, or personal substance abuse.
Over ten years on, and his kids are grown up now. They are a beacon that shines through the loving choices they make and everything that Serge has inspired them with. The same can be said for those that have been studying with Serge over the years – learning about themselves, what holds them back and how to truly love, both themselves and everyone else. I can feel the difference in myself – a connection to a warmer and deeper place inside myself, and a gentleness and compassion that is available for others in my relationships and business.
And what does he teach? That life is all about the choices we make, and the best way to make those choices is from deep inside your heart – to live your own life with love, joy, harmony and truth – and to encourage that in others. Simple really.
So if you are going to make a choice about something, I can recommend that you find out a lot more about the individual/s and the organisation not from reading about it, but from seeing what it does, meeting the people involved and feeling the results of its work – and if you discover that they are consistent (that is, truly living what they ‘teach’) then you can learn to trust in the path that they tread.