The rollicking adventures of a man born into privilege, who chose to leave his old world behind to find a path of soul.
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.
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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’! In what is a most impassioned, personal and yet joyfully revealing, dutifully chronicled new prose, author Serge Beddington-Behrens has brought forth his recollected various encounters along his magnificently sculpted path through life, in a way that not only illuminates it all gloriously for us, but allows us to also follow along; in, perhaps, more ways than one. As Serge himself says, I am choosing to write about my life because I believe I have a not uninteresting and, in some places, quite an amusing story to tell, especially for people who are familiar with the kind of background I came from. or who would like to know more about the journey of personal transformation and its many challenges. Also, as my profession requires that I’m always listening to and working with other people’s stories, and as I’ve already written two books about transformation, I feel it is now time to say a few words about my own personal odyssey. Thus, and in closing, having met a lot of interesting people along the way, not to mention all the places he has found his way to, of course, his vast array of colorful encounters allows Amazing Grace to showcase a rather delightful, openhearted and definitely open-minded new book of adventures; ones that he hopes you yourself will perhaps feel moved to embark upon similar journeys of your own down the line (all to help aid in our planet’s survival, of course). ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review
- Fascinating Fun Read - Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars I loved this account of a man who was raised as royalty in Britain searching for his soul through the American human potential movement. He offers many stories and details of famous people whom I have known, heard of, or read about. I was involved in that movement in America, too, during the 1970's and 1980's, and I can tell you that Serge knows what he is talking about. There is a lovely, heartwarming self-facing tone that engages the reader thoroughly. I could not put this book down. If you love a good story, or if you are involved in your own spiritual search, this book is for you! ~ Dr. Susan Campbell -Author, Philosopher, Coach, Psychotherapist,, Amazon US
There is one genre of spiritual books which has always appealed to me: the spiritual autobiography. I especially love Richard Jefferies’ The Story of My Heart. Gandhi’s The Story of My Experiments with Truth and Alan Watts’ In my Own Way. Thomas Merton’s The Seven Story Mountain and Gurdjieff’s Meetings with Remarkable Men are two other classics of the genre. Serge Beddington-Behrens’ Amazing Grace is a new spiritual autobiography which is both highly entertaining and deeply illuminating. This is partly because Serge’s background was so extraordinary, and - superficially at least - the very antithesis of spirituality. He was born into immense wealth and privilege. His father was a multi-millionaire, a business tycoon who was a confidante of Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle. Serge’s mother was a Russian princess, whose parents had fled Russia during the revolution, narrowly escaping with their lives. During Serge’s childhood, the family had 16 servants - cooks, butlers, maids, chauffeurs, gardeners, etc. Every meal - even breakfast - was a lavish affair of multiple courses. At weekends, Serge’s father regularly held ostentatious parties at their country retreat, at which the great and good of British society would mingle. Tellingly, Serge writes that he was glad of the servants’ company. They would often play sports with him, while his father constantly worked, and his mother was emotionally distant due to the trauma of her childhood. Despite his privilege, his childhood was unhappy. As he writes, “Despite all those servants and nannies and governesses and gold spoons; despite all that material plenty, I felt I lived in a desolate world. Serge followed the traditional trajectory of his class, from elite public school to Oxford, where he was a member of the infamous “Bullingdon Club” - essentially an upper- class clique of drunken hooligans - that later spawned two UK Prime Ministers. Inheriting a love of exercise from his father, Serge excelled at sports. He was a keen competitive skier, a sport at which he represented England. In fact, it was while skiing that Serge had his first powerful spiritual experience, aged 19, when he “became conscious of what I can best describe as being a soft, loving presence around me enfolding me. It seemed to lift me up and very slowly turn me around. I heard soft music and everything felt jellylike and peaceful and I observed myself land perfectly on the snow with my skis pointing in the right direction.” After university, Serge was a dandy and playboy, who attended endless parties wearing garish costumes from hippy boutiques. He provides many hilarious anecdotes from this period, often involving his romantic liaisons (the term ‘complicated’ barely begins to describe his amorous activities). But there was a sense of growing dissatisfaction inside him. Whilst he clung to the comfort and security of upper-class society, he also felt repelled by it. As he puts it, “There has always been an ongoing battle between these two parts of me, as the very world that I despised also gave me comfort and security. As I grew up, I would find myself veering from one extreme to the other.” When he was 23, Serge’s father died, his inheritance freeing him from the necessity to find a career. But rather than plunging into even more fervent hedonism, Serge turned to spiritual exploration, which soon became the main theme of his life. I wonder if - at least unconsciously - this was a reaction to bereavement, which often has a transformational effect, with a longing for philosophical and spiritual meaning. Certainly, by this point Serge clearly sensed that wealth and hedonism are not the route to lasting fulfilment. Perhaps this is paradoxically - at least for some people - the greatest gift which inherited wealth can bring: the first-hand experience that material wealth does not mean lasting contentment, so that one can rapidly move on to seeking fulfilment at its real source, the inner world of psychological and spiritual development. At the age of 27, in 1972, Serge moved to California, to pursue self-exploration more assiduously. This period of his life has a good deal of historical interest, since he was at the epicentre of the burgeoning “human potential” movement and connected to many eminent figures.He remained there for 14 years, undergoing a great deal of therapy and self-development, whilst not entirely abandoning his colourful life of yore. His return to the UK led to many challenges, both financial, emotional and physical. Serge shows acutely how such challenges can generate spiritual growth, as much as any spiritual practice or path. This book has a marvellously warm, light- hearted tone, and the reader always feels that they are being addressed directly, as if in Serge’s company. At the same time, Serge deals with his own spiritual development and experiences with depth and insight. He shows that wealth and privilege can be almost as much an obstacle to inner growth as poverty. He shows that the first essential phase of spiritual development is a process of de-conditioning, of unpeeling our false, social selves so that we uncover our authentic spiritual nature. Serge’s book illustrates how challenging this process can be, but also the great joy and fulfilment that emerge when we achieve authenticity. I am sure that, in the future, this book will be seen as an essential book of spiritual autobiography, comparable to some of the classics of the genre. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer Scientific and Medical Network
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Amazing Grace: Memoirs of a Transformational Journey by Serge Beddington-Behrens is an enthralling and heartfelt narrative. Beddington-Behrens, a man of unparalleled style, has not only embraced life to the fullest but has also endured profound suffering in his relentless pursuit of a profound transformation. In this captivating memoir, Beddington-Behrens shares his remarkable journey towards a completely redefined existence. His story is one of passion and resilience, as he grapples with the challenges that come with breaking free from conventional living. With eloquence and sincerity, Beddington-Behrens recounts the trials and tribulations he faced along the way. His experiences serve as a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the power of personal growth. Through his vivid storytelling, Beddington-Behrens invites readers into his world, allowing them to witness his profound metamorphosis firsthand. His narrative is both enlightening and inspiring, offering valuable insights into the transformative power of self-discovery. Amazing Grace: Memoirs of a Transformational Journey is a testament to the author's unwavering determination and unwavering commitment to living a life of purpose and fulfillment. Beddington-Behrens' unique perspective and captivating writing style make this memoir a must-read for anyone seeking personal growth and a deeper understanding of the human experience. ~ P Loveday (Reviewer), NetGalley
Absolutely loving this book. I met Serge years ago but never knew of his background. What an amazing story he has to tell. I can’t put it down. ~ Miss Midas , Amazon UK - Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
- An Excellet Read - Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars This is the life story of a man born into very privileged circumstances and details the lifelong struggle he has deliberately undertaken to break away from the many false values engendered in him from his childhood to become a loving, heart-centered evolved person as opposed to a status and privilege centered person.....in short, it is the story of his own personal spiritual quest, the quest to find his true self and his real place in life as a supportive, loving and caring person. I read the book in two sittings in one day. I couldn't put it down. The book is extremely well written, and its fluid emotional style draws you over the pages effortlessly as you get completely caught up in the story. This is a book i think you will very much enjoy reading if personal growth and the spiritual quest are something you also are interested in. ~ DSG, Amazon Canada
In ‘Amazing Grace’ my dear friend Serge has described not only his own transformational journey, but he also speaks for many of his generation who grew up in the ferment of 1960’s hippiedom, looking for new ways of being and living. This is a passionate and engaging narrative by a man of unique style who has lived fully while also often suffering deeply as he struggles to break through to a whole new way of living. Born into a huguely privileged background entailed its own dysfunctions and wounds and these very much shaped the agenda of Serge’s life journey as he felt that many of the values which he had been raised to subscribe to, were the very ones which needed to be surrendered if one was to have a world that worked. A deeply humane and wise book. ~ David Lorimer - programme director of the Scientific and Medical Network and author of many books including 'Resonant Mind' and 'Science, Consciousness and Ultimate Reality.'
Serge’s journey from titled entitlement to spiritual seeker, told with panache and humour, show us how staying true to our deepest vision brings profound, lasting changes in our outer world, and the worlds of those we meet. This transformation inspires us to rebalance our lives, valuing Self over ego, having the courage to face mistakes and discover the ordinary; and with it find the extraordinary, the miracle of being human. To step free from ‘material blessings’, he explains, is not a sacrifice, but a gift- personal freedom. If you feel trapped by this too, here is a guidebook towards an ever-opening inner door. ~ Dale Mathers - Jungian Analyst & Author of 'Alchemy and Psychotherapy'
A marvellously entertaining account of Serge's adventures through the material and spiritual worlds, filled with equal measures of humour and spiritual insight. Serge writes as if speaking to a close friend, and offers the distilled wisdom of a lifetime of spiritual exploration. ~ Steve Taylor, PhD -Steve Taylor, Ph.D. - Poet, University Lecturer and Author of 'The Leap and The Clear Light'
Serge Beddington-Behrens is a unique person and friend, whom I met in England in the mid 1970s. We shared much in the area of spiritual search. In Amazing Grace he opens his soul, mind, and heart with honesty in looking-back at his personal development from his British aristocratic upbringing in his childhood to the present mature phase of his life journey. He conveys beautifully the challenges and conflicts of growing-up in this context and his struggles to become his own person with a deep vision, concern, and sense of identification with the perils and opportunities we are all facing on Planet Earth in this crucial phase of our collective evolution. ~ Abelardo Brenes, Ph.D. - Co-author of The Earth Charter and multiple academic publications in Psychology, Peace Education, and Sustainable Development Education.
In our present times of obsessive consumerism, billionaires who spend fortunes going into space, media moguls and false information to say nothing of hogging the limelight film stars, it is refreshing to read the memoirs of someone who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, the son of a Russian princess and a very successful businessman, educated at Harrow and Oxford, but who decided to put all that behind him and seek another way to live. Serge Beddington-Behrens has travelled the path to self-enlightenment through experiences via Carlos Castaneda, Findhorn, fasting, Shamanism, Zen Buddhism and much more. He readily admits that without his financial inheritance it would have been a much more difficult journey, but the importance of this memoir lies in the fact he chose a difficult path to follow in life rather than the one, given his upbringing, which would have been much easier to follow. As he says, we need a new vision of life- one with heart, compassion, and wisdom. Read this book and hopefully you too will start to search for a new vision in your life. ~ John Bell M.A.(Oxon.) - Educational Consultant
Once upon a time a son of princess… Reading Dr Serge Beddington-Behrens' book will take you on a fascinating journey. You will look forward to the next chapter and regret having finished it, but you will be left with a true taste, a thrill in your soul, a desire to shine and honour your own nature as the author has so skillfully done. ~ Pier Luigi Lattuada M.D., Psy. D., PhD - Transpersonal Psychotherapist, Author and Spiritual Teacher