CO-RESPONSIBILITY Beyond 2012 for a new conscience English edition
© Il Segno dei Gabrielli editori, 2012 Via Cengia, 67 – 37029 San Pietro in Cariano (Verona) tel. 045 7725543 – fax 045 6858595 mail email@example.com www.gabriellieditori.it ISBN 978-88-6099-154-6 Print Il Segno dei Gabrielli editori, Gennaio 2012 Cover graphics Lucia Gabrielli English version editing Andrea Johnson, Mumbai
With love and devotion to Mohandas K. Gandhi The Mahatma
From habit based thinking to the freedom of research I had strong spiritual inclinations since my childhood years, a sensitivity that I’ve embraced to search the answers for questions that had come from the very depths of my soul.1 Having been formally raised into Roman Catholicism like my fellow Italian citizens, it was the religion of my birth and the most obvious place to begin my spiritual quest for the answers I deeply sought. One such question went like this; “How do we reconcile the fact that our God should be a God of love, and that this life is the only chance that we have to determine our eternal destiny, with the fact that a Mr. Josef Stalin may die of old age in his own bed, after killing millions of human beings, and a toddler may end up run down by a car in his pram and have no chance to decide what to do of his life?”2 For as simple as it may have seemed to an adult mind, the question had thorough implications. To this and many other questions that drove my spiritual aspirations, Catholicism didn’t have any satisfactory answers to give; at least not from the men of religion I had met with on my spiritual journey. My tryst with Catholicism had come to an end on the day of my confirmation, after having completed all social formalities that the Catholic religion had implied. I bid an intimate farewell to the religion of my birth in the quest to find anThe word “soul” here is used in a general meaning By that time the Limbus was still open – it has been “closed down” by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 – and things looked even grimmer. 1 2
swers it couldn’t provide. I do not blame Catholicism for not having given me the answers; indeed I have met many Catholics both lay and religious, who have enlightened me with at least a few explanations and insights on the existential questions and issues I was after. And of course, I am in complete agreement with my Master3 that every religion, including the religion of my birth, must contain a spark of truth. Perhaps it was the Lord’s4 will that I should work out my own ways to find answers; it prompted me to set out on a journey across a broader horizon, that only became more demanding and difficult to pursue, but which also brought higher rewards. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had so far to explore life’s greater mysteries. Beginning from the age of thirteen, my spiritual quest has seen me exploring different philosophies and paths both within and outside Christianity, having traced ancient European roots to Celtic-druidic, Greek & Latin origins, and eastern philosophies with a generous dose of religious rituals and traditions; while this quest expanded greatly my theoretical knowledge on many spiritual issues, what I was left with for a long time, was an unsatisfactory fragment of comprehension that had failed to gratify my soul’s desire for truth. Prayer and communion with whatever I believed and felt to be God were my journey’s constant companions, even as I went through the frustrations of adolescence and teenage to being a young man characterized with the roughness of a somehow unpleasant personality.
Mahatma Gandhi I recognize that this way of putting it reveals my cultural roots, where God is a person God as in the abramitic tradition (Judaic, Christian, Islamic); I am aware that it contains a contradiction with my current beliefs and knowledge which the reader will discover while reading on, but I am bonded by affection to the consolatory idea of a personified God to whom we may apply for comfort in times of trouble. Therefore, as the grown ups who keep hanging their socks to the fireplace on Epiphany eve, I allow myself to indulge in this little incoherence 3 4
First glimpses of truth In my early thirties, my inquisitive nature and search for answers led me to a seminar held by an expert in eastern religious philosophies, namely Hinduism & Buddhism. For the first time in my life, I could identify with what was being said, and it actually made sense! That expert was Robert Happé. Though our paths have by now led us to different routes in our spiritual journey, my affection and gratitude for him are unchanged for he propelled a brand new start in my own path which has taken me to unexpected depths. Among other things, I still adopt his representation of the Universe as being divided into twelve dimensional plans; it’s one of the most effective ways to understand the intricacies of the metaphysical world and I will discuss it further in the proceedings of this book.5 I was an entrepreneur back then, who had a 38 ft. sailboat, a sports-car and an enviable ‘social status’. But even then, with all the money I had at my disposal, I was far from being happy. I was managing the family run building firm, which had been founded by my father forty years earlier. The market was unbelievably corrupt and disgusted me to no end; the ‘clean hands’ inquiry that swept through Italy in 1992 had managed to jail a few culprits and I was hoping for a positive change that could restore competence, transparency and honesty as the sector’s winning assets. It was pure delusion, though a pious one at that. Surviving in a corruptly competitive market like this entailed making acquaintances with both social environments and people that lacked the human virtues I looked for; and for those unwilling to bend to the perverted intertwinement between business and politics, life was difficult and maintaining an inner balance was an even harder task. I was so hard-wired to view the world as a hostile place that after receiving threats from a foolish former employee, 5
To know more about Robert’s work see www.roberthappe.net.
after due verification with the Police, I got a firearms license and carried a gun everywhere as a result. Since a couple of years I had gathered entrepreneurs from around Italy to try and start some alternative businesses; although I was personally gratified in the process, things didn’t work out as expected and soon the new business opportunities faded away into oblivion. The meeting with Happé was leading me to a new direction and my spiritual quest was taking on a new meaning; things seemed promising. This coupled with the fact that I was also starting to explore the field of humanistic studies and of energetic & holistic therapies, spurred me onward with a fresh burst of inspiration and energy. So when a wonderful opportunity emerged from a surprising6 dinner meeting with an old acquaintance from my youth, I embraced it wholeheartedly and joyfully.
A fatal encounter It had been awhile since I began contemplating about a change of lifestyle, of quitting the family run business that I was raised for, though not cut out for; this long-lost friend had taken a keen interest in taking it on. Things materialized in a month’s time beyond my wildest expectations, in the form of a written deal. The agreement assured me a substantial amount of money which I was looking forward to utilize in the pursuance of my ideas. Above all, and perhaps most importantly, it would relieve me in about eight months time of the job I’d come to hate. This appeared like a very appropriate answer to all my prayers; this result I read as the natural consequence of allowing myself to be aligned to the divine plan that was put in place for the current incarnation. According to my understanding of the fundamental Laws of life, I viewed the events that conspired as the reaction of I would have learned only later how inappropriate it is to talk about “chance”. 6
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the Universe to the right direction I was working towards through my actions; turning my efforts towards the direction in which my dharma7 lay I had somehow “concurred” with fate to supply me with an opportunity to free myself from the circumstances that weren’t conducive for my spiritual journey. Then a new phase characterized by intensity, had begun. I was engaged in preparations that would facilitate a smooth change in ownership of the family’s firm to my friend’s projects; the process had empowered me with a great sense of freedom and so I was light-hearted and happy with the way things looked set for the future. I was beginning to taste the sweetness of a future free from unnecessary concerns and frustrations that had poisoned the first few years of my adult life. I day dreamed with abandon about the possibilities and perspectives that were abundant in the fields where my new interests were focused. Eight months later, the ‘sweetness’ I had tasted earlier of a beautiful, hassle free future suffered a severe blow; the friend who had appeared to be my ‘savior’ had revealed himself to be nothing but a charlatan. I was left picking up the pieces of a business that had in the meantime lost a good share of its goodwill and values both because it had for a significant time been managed in a way functional to vanished perspectives and because the news of the deal had been widely circulated, a thing which negatively affected my credibility as an entrepreneur. What started as a terrible blow was timed to perfection with further losses and difficulties. My wife had just liquidated a business earlier that year without any capital gain. The birth of our second child, with the first one having gotten seriously ill, had put enough emotional and financial stress on the family front. To top all that, a telephone company that I had created in the last couple of years, which was apparently born too much in advance of the market’s imminent exploWe will see later the meaning of dharma. For the moment it may be intended as one’s life planned purpose. 7
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sion, was closing its second year registering a big loss. To say that it was the ideal moment to learn that God had somehow forsaken me would be an understatement; yet deep down in my heart I could never think that way, because of my deepseated faith in God’s divine plan; I knew it would never fail me. The events however bogged my spirits down and threw me into a chasm of despair and hopelessness in the days that followed.
The price of the wide path My fundamental understanding of the Laws of Life, had taken a beating in light of the events that had occurred; conviction had been replaced with lingering doubts about the perspectives and concepts I held close. I felt like a drunkard roaming aimlessly in a town he didn’t recognize anymore. I looked in vain for a sign post on the highway of life that would guide me through this delusional maze of distrust and uncertainty that had clouded my mind. I held onto my blind faith in God, though it was of little use because I had lost the assurance in my capacity to comprehend his divine plan and will for my life. Therefore, I was deflated, convinced as I was of the fact that I had misinterpreted everything that led me to the current situation. I had to resume my old job unwillingly, starting it from scratch and in the worst scenario; the business was left in a very precarious situation with a damaged reputation and lack of enthusiasm afecting my every action. My ‘lucky mascots’ were however the good teachers I was following at the time who had taught me, at least in theory, that any event in life is an opportunity to learn a new lesson which would aid in developing our consciousness. Thus I began introspecting, and asked myself the good questions: which lesson did I have to learn? What had the universe intended to teach me through the spate of recent blows that had made its way into my life? The more trivial issues and questions, like the financial uncertainties affecting our family, the legal disputes that arose with the friend etc made its – 12 –
presence felt but I wasn’t as concerned or worried about them as much as I was about the spiritual ones. That’s the way I learnt how to face difficulties; by viewing life not as a powerless victim at the hands of fate, but by laying emphasis on the idea that I was at the center, the origin of the circumstances of my life. This approach also helped me see how fast the darkest cloud on the horizon of life dissolved when the lesson had been learnt with humility and meekness. I was beginning to understand the underlying patterns, that gave shape to the circumstances in my life, with the help I received from one of my teachers in the course of group work. The experience shed light on certain facets of my life, indeed my own personality; I learnt that I had long lived a life which was disconnected with my soul’s chord and as a result, rage and discontent set me on a conflict course with the world around me. All of this had culminated into the discovery of an opportunity; the opportunity to start life in a wholly different way, a spiritually enriched way which made life fuller, meaningful and beautiful in every way. I cherished the opportunity and savored it. Eventually, a wider path had emerged, one that had offered the realization of a long held dream, all thanks to an easy shortcut that was not only a quick solution, but also gave the chance to bid farewell to financial problems forever! Bingo! I knew that it was my right, as it is for anyone, to live a life full of sense and I didn’t see anything wrong in the choices I had been wanting to make; I sincerely felt that by the spiritual path that I intended to walk I could become a new person, a better and happier citizen of the world, and thus, more helpful to my fellow citizens and, at least, more agreeable. But alas, the wide door that had appearedto be open, revealed itself to be ultimately closed; it was like a mirror reflecting something about myself, but what? As time passed, one day I eventually realized, that someone ‘up there’ had been persistently asking me as to how keen I was on taking the new road, how passionate I was about my beliefs and feelings regarding this. Did I trust my intuition about this ‘divine plan’ as much as I ought to? Did my only strength – 13 –
to act the extraordinary change that I was to do lay in the amount of millions that I had thought I was getting? Or did I really believe that change to be the true path to my happiness at whatever the cost? And if indeed I believed it, then could I afford to think that God would let me down after I decided to follow his will? Life was prompting me to answer these questions as sincerely and honestly as possible.
The blessings of the narrow door I had finally understood what I had to do. I decided to start afresh from scratch by liquidating the company and take on the challenge that lay before me as an opportunity to make a dynamic change in my life. There was a price to pay which included possibly ending up with debts, but it didn’t seem to match the benefits this change would bring about for me; a change that would help me engage my whole self in the journey of spiritual evolution with all the possibilities it offered to adopt a more holistic view of life. But I wasn’t alone, and the decisions I’d make would affect the future of my entire family. I told my wife Valentina what I thought and felt about these decisions and the understanding I had gained about life, and the way I wanted to lead it from here on. There are no words to express my gratitude to her, for she infused me with much courage and strength to embrace the potential that lay in this new way of life. She was going through a dramatic period in her own life and had much to deal with; torn apart by the pain of being a mother to an ill, suffering child, she mustered the strength and boldness to encourage me. “I am by your side; I’ve started from scratch many times before and I have no fear. We will make it” she said in a voice that was undeterred by the tough times she had faced in life so far. I began making preparations for liquidating the business that very day and as finance was not my strongest point, I consulted with my financial advisor to avoid making mistakes in that area. My financial advisor was a thorough professional and a trustworthy friend. He began his career in his chosen field alongside my father and expressed a deep disappointment over my decision. He – 14 –
said he couldn’t imagine seeing forty years of immaculate entrepreneurial history vanish into oblivion without doing anything to prevent the loss. He offered his help in finding new buyers among his esteemed clientele which I refused politely for fear of further deterioration of my family’s reputation and because I had still not come to terms with the derailed deal. The family business had to come to an end, for the better or for worse and I was determined to end it. However, I was to learn very soon the meaning behind the phrase “Man proposes. God disposes”. I planned out the next two years of activity in view of the firm’s liquidation while the attorney brought forward the legal dispute. On the legal front, the chances of getting any real compensation beyond the certain legal victory in right and principles seemed slim, yet I had a newfound sense of strength and belief to support me; the certainty of a decision that was my very own based on the faith I had in God and in now walking along the path he devised for me before I was even born. But I was, as I still am, a rational person and I didn’t ignore the risks I was running in the process of closing the business. I was also concerned about my parents who were well in their seventies now and who thought that their son was leaving the family business for a future that was clear only in the depths of my very soul; I couldn’t expect them to understand that.
The infinite ways of the Lord I was engaged in a deep meditative session led by my spiritual teacher as part of a spiritual exercise in a group, when I found the answer to the dilemma that had disturbed me all this while. I was crying for help from the universe on one hand while preventing the very same help from manifesting by interfering with my fear and lack of trust. I understood that I was myself standing in the way of the help I had prayed for; I had to accept any offer of help and let the solution to my problems come forward according to the superior wisdom of the Heavens. – 15 –
The day after, which happened to be a Monday, I decided to call my financial advisor and let him know that I was going forward with the liquidation but in the meantime he could feel free to look out for new buyers though he’d have to act with maximum discretion. At the time, I used to arrive in office before the employees came in. I would do a meditation, have a cup of coffee and not take any phone calls before my secretary arrived. However on that Monday, when the phone rang, I picked it up right away for no specific reason. It was my financial advisor and he called to let me know that in a meeting with a few of his serious, wealthy clients on Friday, he found them keen on expanding their entrepreneurial interests and although he had submitted the idea of buying my company anonymously, he had received a declaration of interest. He wanted to know if he had my permission to take the negotiations to the next level. I was absolutely amazed at the news and marveled at how infinite the ways of the Lord really are! I gave him green light and within a few days time, a meeting was arranged with the prospective clients to discuss the terms and conditions. The ‘negotiation’ lasted about 15 minutes and after a fortnight I found myself free from the chains of an ‘old life’ that was growing only more distant and strange as time passed. Thus I had learnt a lesson, in which I understood that I had to rely on God, to let him have his way with me. As for the money in the pockets, well it was a lot less than what was in prospect at the beginning of the story; coincidently, the same amount that I missed out on in the derailed deal. I read the coincidence using the same rules: it was the precise amount of financial resources that I needed as a dowry for my new life and no more. Therefore I knew what was asked of me and complied: I made my intentions clear to my lawyer and asked him to put forward a transaction proposal where the friend should pay for the professionals that had worked in vain due to his misbehavior and take full responsibility for the events he had caused; on my side I would renounce any right to further compensation. It goes without saying, he accepted promptly. Therefore – 16 –