by Betty Dravis
Betty Dravis: Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Bryant. I’m honored that you found time in your busy schedule to be with us and share your life journey. I met you indirectly through my Dream Reachers co-author Chase Von, but we have many friends in common.
As I understand it, your main mission in life is to create peace and harmony, not only throughout the world, but in individual lives. Since you reach and touch the lives of tens-of-millions of people, you have achieved beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Where were you born, and what were you like as a child? I’d also like to know how and when you got started on your current path. Were you always a soulful person “with a mission?”
Bryant McGill: First, let me thank you, Betty, for the opportunity to participate in this interview. I have always been fond of your Dream Reachers books, mainly because they reveal to others the power every person has to live amazing and purposeful lives; purposeful in the deepest sense. I am also thankful to Chase Von through whom we met.
You asked where I was born and what I was like as a child. I was born in the deep south, in Mobile, Alabama, which is also known as the Azalea City. I was raised on a little dirt road in the country, in a town called Semmes. I spent much of my childhood outdoors. We had animals and horses and acres of open fields. I would hike deep into the woods, drink from running streams and sit in pear trees, eating pears, cut with a child’s pocketknife.
I was a sensitive, creative and funny child, who liked to make people laugh. But there was also a part of me which was defiant, willful and curious. I was born asking the question we are disingenuously encouraged to ask and always punished for when we do… That question is, Why? That question, more than anything, will get you into trouble if you are a child, or an adult. And so it was that I was a trouble-maker, and a natural system buster. I think secretly, many people hope someone will ask the questions they themselves are afraid to ask, even though they will likely punish the person asking.
I guess that is my optimistic way of looking at “Tall Poppy Syndrome.” Deep down I wanted to know why and if the answer did not agree with my own instincts, there was a hardened steel of defiance in me; a rock that the hammer of so-called authority broke upon, when trying to forge me into its likeness. I realized many years later, that my methods of exerting and protecting my independence and originality had been deeply flawed, immature and ungraceful, in a brute-force way. You see, my understanding of power and strength, were modeled after the society in which I was raised; a spiritually sick society. To me, strength was a show of force; strength was hardness; strength was toughness. This is what most people learn about strength from observing the alleged seats of power, in the form of police, government, military…and from school, TV and society in general.
Fortunately, as a seeker and lifetime student of the world, the seeds of softness and sensitivity had been sown in my soul by wiser, gentler hands, and I found my way to a more graceful understanding of the true nature of true power. As the Sufi’s once knew, I now know: that just like water, softness overcomes that which is hard. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but water, though it is infinitely yielding, will cut through a canyon of the hardest granite. It reshapes the hard and strong, in the contour of its flow of energy. No power can overcome water, though it can easily be conquered.
There are gentle ways of sculpting one’s life, and the world, with time, invitation, gentleness, cooperation and surrender. There is a subtle beauty and power in surrender; a cooperation with the divine. When one learns to focus energy through surrender and sensitivity, they become what I call, “reality benders.” I have had a wonderful journey from childhood to this time called, the NOW. And because it was my wish, I have become the best parts of my childhood. All I ever wanted was to be that pure child. A child’s world is a magical place. My life is still magical and always will be. So if you want to know what I was like as a child, the essence of that child still lives within me and his gentle innocence is my truest strength.
Now, to answer your question about how I got started and if I have always been a soulful person with a mission… Well, from a young age, something kept whispering to me that things were not right with the world; that something was not right with me, as a product of an unnatural and dis-eased society. There was a call in my heart to journey beyond the confines of the path placed before me and one day I answered that call. As a troubled teen, with deep turmoil and fear in my heart–and with two apples and twelve dollars as my only possessions–I opened my door, walked to the highway at the end of my country dirt road, stuck out my thumb and like a leaf in the wind, blew away into the great, wide-open world. I hitch-hiked thousands of miles away… I left my friends, family and hometown, and did not return or communicate much for twenty years. I went on a journey…a journey within.
At a certain point on this journey, I began disconnecting myself from the construct of lies and illusions people feed on in the consumer-driven, consensus-reality called, “the modern civilized world.” I turned off the television for twenty years. I unplugged myself. I worked to erase the programs that had been written into the fabric of my consciousness by our hidden masters. I began dismantling the artificial edifices that had been erected in my heart, mind and soul from birth, by unknown builders. Brick by brick, word by word–advertisements, slogans, clichés, judgments– layer by layer, I took down the false idols and symbols of identity, belief, self, pride, ego, ambition, and so-called knowledge. I questioned every belief and fact a person can “know.” I doubted everything, especially that which I “knew” with no doubt. Something in me told me not to believe! “Unknowing” became my comfortable friend.
Decades later when I would learn of the Zen mantra “great doubt, great awakening; little doubt, little awakening; no doubt, no awakening,” I could only smile knowing this simple truth had transformed my life in so many ways. Buddha’s admonition that one “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense” had been a golden path I had instinctively followed, that led me to a grand reunion with my original self, my authentic-self, my higher-self, my true soul, and my innermost beauty.
I turned off the lights and lit a candle. I opened the window and listened to the wind, and in that quietness I could hear the whispers from within, “Freedom… Truth… Beauty… Peace… Love…” I stood outside and looked up into the vault of the heavens. I invited truth and God into my life. I let the animals, the sun, the stars, the moon, the insects, the fire, water and elements, and the quietness become my teachers. And as the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” so it was that when I was ready, the teachers did appear. One after the other, some of the greatest minds in history would open their lives and hearts to me with their friendship, mentoring and tutelage. Eminent naturalists, great poets, renowned thinkers, prolific authors, great spiritualists; these elders, all appeared one-by-one, each offering me a gift, which was given in love and selflessly, for they knew then what I know now.
Then one day, I looked around and saw that the ugly world was a different and more beautiful place, because I was different and more beautiful. I had somehow emerged on the other side of the looking glass. I was on what I call “The Beautiful Path,” a positive life path, walking hand-in-hand with the dreamers, believers, lovers and keepers of the faithful vision of a kinder and more beautiful world.
Betty Dravis: Oh, Bryant, my heart goes out to that young boy who had to run from home to find himself… But it worked for you, and you have accomplished so much that it’s difficult to choose the highlights for this interview. Having observed you for years, I know you try to remain modest, so I hope you don’t mind if I mention some of your most phenomenal accomplishments. To me it seems that founding the Goodwill Treaty for World Peace–along with being acknowledged and upheld by so many individuals and government bodies as a de facto Ambassador of Goodwill around the world–are some of the brightest stars in your crown. Further, being formally recognized with a Congressional Commendation by the United States Congress, honoring your “highly commendable life’s work as a Goodwill Ambassador at Large, for World Peace” must feel like an enormous validation of your work, ideas and principles. How does all this make you feel?
Bryant McGill: You know, Betty, some of these recognitions you are speaking of were given to both myself and my beautiful friend in all things positive, Lesley “Chase” Barton. It is really because of Lesley that some of these astounding honors were awarded. Lesley has done so much for others…and for me. For me personally, when these grand things happen, I feel like it is not really happening to me. Later I forget, and then when I remember I am amazed at what has happened. There are times I can hardly even believe it myself. But always after the elation, soberness is usually not far behind because I know that with these honors come deep responsibilities.
The acknowledgments I have received are not only exciting, they are useful, and given with a purpose of encouragement. Each recognition represents a small transference of power, energy and permission to operate in a jurisdiction of worldly affairs; they are tools that make moving forward and opening doors easier, allowing me to inevitably do more good work in the world. I view each of these honors as a trust granted to me by society; a trust that must not be broken.
Betty Dravis: Spoken like a man of integrity, Bryant. Your statements are deeply profound… Now, many people learned through the news–and even more widely, through your national, public service announcements on TV with Lenny Kravitz and Lou Gossett, Jr.–that you had been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. How did you feel to know that a group of deans, college chancellors, professors and politicians would respect your work enough to make such a nomination possible?
Bryant McGill: I was really shocked and surprised. I am, of course, grateful to those people, and I feel that it was a sign that we are on the right path, but truly, the journey has just begun. The state of the world is sad, and when I say the world, I mean the real world–the source of the current world’s state–I mean the world makers, the creators: us. There is no “world” outside of what we create.
We can do so much better. We must. We will.
I can do so much better. I must. I will.
I have literally just scratched the surface; I have just begun. I know that many sense a new age of simplicity and peace on the horizon, and many are ready to begin the wonderful service of making that world real. I know you also mentioned the World Charity Day PSA, and I would like to thank them for my inclusion in their project. It was a lot of fun filming in Hollywood and participating with them. And I must also say that I love Lenny’s music and style, and I hope to collaborate with him one day…to write songs about peace. I would just love that! I can’t help it. I love all the musicians, artists, dreamers and believers. Let’s just all believe together and we will be amazed at what will happen next. As a humanity of people, we always create what is in our hearts; we always bring that which is within us out and make it real in the world. Creating peace and beauty is easy. It is just a matter of what vision and desire we carry in our hearts.
Betty Dravis: Bryant, I knew you were a popular man—what today they call a “hot commodity”–but until I started researching for this interview, I didn’t realize how famous you really are. Even though your life goals are very altruistic, in many ways you remind me almost of a socialite monk, or a humanitarian rock star… If there is such a thing, you are it! I get that impression because you are everywhere. The Wall Street Journal even ran a front-page article about you and your celebrity friends, and you are constantly seen in all the glam places around the world, with living legends like the late Michael Jackson, to popular film stars, billionaire business moguls, and even royalty. You have “hung-out” with hundreds of the most prominently successful individuals in the world. You must have an incredible time with some of these very creative and talented people. What are some of the things you have learned through your experiences?
Bryant McGill: I love to be around cutting-edge, creative people, Betty. I find that many of these people are also on the cutting edge of humanitarian and social issues. However, I actually spend most of my time alone and meditating, writing or creating. My time alone is very important. Believe it or not, even though I am a very public person, I am also a very private person. I spend much more time alone–on creative endeavors, or working with my clients, or involved in humanitarian projects–but, when I do get out, I like to shake things up, have a good time and meet stellar new friends.
I have learned so many things from these experiences you mention. I have worked with many of these people as a life coach–or what I sometimes call a “soul coach” or motivator. I have worked with celebrity entertainers, top CEOs, doctors, professional and Olympic athletes, politicians, and top performers during career turn-arounds and personal breakthroughs.
Through these experiences I have learned some very important things. First and foremost: money prestige and power have absolutely nothing to do with happiness. The more money you have, the more zeros your problems have on the end. If you were to talk with the richest people on earth, they would probably tell you that they need another billion dollars…and fast. When you get rid of any problem in life, like money, you get a whole new set of problems. The trappings of materialism and material pursuits are ubiquitous and permeated through all layers of the social economic strata, from the very bottom to the very top.
I have learned that there is no such thing as a human experience without pain, turmoil and strife. It is very easy to look around at the illusion of life placed before you–other people driving nicer cars, wearing nicer clothes, making more money, having more toys–and to think that these people “have it made,” and to wonder to oneself, How did these people do this, and why can’t I have this type of success and happiness. But the truth is: that behind the scenes of any great or idyllic life there exists the same exact personal crises–emotional turmoil, family problems, financial dilemmas and painful human experiences, losses, trials and tribulations–that exist for every other human being who has ever lived.
I have found this knowledge to be an important part of my own development as a person of compassion. Because I now know that every person I encounter, no matter who they may appear to be, is likely to be dealing with powerful problems and having a very difficult time in some sphere of their life. They may be a billionaire, but perhaps they don’t get the love they feel they need from their significant other. They may walk in the nicest clothing, with a strong and confident gait, but around the corner and in their quiet places alone, they wilt into tears over losses, guilt or regrets.
Life can be hard for everyone and this is why it is so important for us to all treat others gently, with courteousness, patience, and with an open mind and heart. You never know what that other person is going through at that moment, or how your smile may make it possible for them to make it through another day, or how your impatience or unkind words, may devastate them, sending them into deeper despair. This is why I am so careful, so conscientious, and so very mindful about the way in which I deal with others. I am very mindful, not only about my words, but also about my energy and how it affects others. I made the conscious decision that I wanted to be a blessing in the lives of others and to raise every person I encounter to a higher level with my energy, efforts, words, actions…or just a gentle and authentic smile. I do this because when I see another person, I see myself.
One of the great benefits I have also enjoyed by being around “successful” people is the unique opportunity to observe and identify success patterns–which through study, I have reduced to behavioral models of extreme simplicity–that can be used by anyone desiring to remove the obstacles to their unique path of purpose. I have learned much about the unlimited capability of each soul to have abundance and fulfillment through kindness, compassion and love. I used these secrets I learned to turn my own health around, transform my energy and body, lose weight and achieve many of my dreams.
As a coach, I now teach others what I have learned from some of the most amazing people in the world, from top celebrities, world spiritual leaders, gurus, and champions of all fields. I discovered that the best-of-the-best are often deeply spiritual and evolved beings. Through invitation, reverence and communion with the divine in one’s own self, all things are possible. Above all activities, I love helping others, and so that is what I do, and I am so blessed that I can be a simple instrument in helping others re-discover their happiness and joy.
Betty Dravis: The world needs more sincere, caring people like you, Bryant, and it’s encouraging to know you are teaching and help so many.
I know one of your close friends is Susaye Greene, the legendary singer from “The Supremes,” who wrote hit songs for Michael Jackson and co-wrote songs, performed and traveled with friends Diana Ross, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. I bet she has some fascinating stories to share. How is she to work with?
Bryant McGill: Susaye is such a ray of sunshine, Betty. I just can’t say enough fine things about this exceptional lady. Susaye and I share a special friendship and a true soul connection. I see in her such a beautiful and radiant woman who deeply loves life, and who through her immense heart, loves nothing more than creating beauty. One of the things I enjoy the most about Susaye is that she has a rare dignity to her manner and a comportment about her person that lets you know you are in the presence of a kind and wise master. We have been involved in projects together for many years and are always energetically connected. She has a strong online presence and is heavily involved in the arts community, so I encourage everyone reading this interview to look her up on Facebook and on her websites.
Betty Dravis: Wow, Bryant, there is much more to successful people than most of us realize. Thanks for sharing such fascinating information about Susaye. She is someone I’d love to know.
In addition to what we discussed above, you also are a speaker at many universities, corporations and government functions and your books and software are even used as part of the curriculum at the university level. I recently saw in the Los Angeles media that–in your role of Goodwill Ambassador –you delivered a speech at a televised event with many dignitaries: the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, Sheriff Leroy Baca (LASD), Charles L. Beck, the Chief of Police of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Gerald Levin, the former CEO of Time Warner, Sergio Duarte, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs for the United Nations, and the world famous artist and activist Lin Evola, the Founder of The Art of Peace Charitable Trust. What was your latest speech about?
Bryant McGill: I was there speaking at an important and truly historic occasion–the commencement of the transformation of illicit weapons to create The California Peace Angel project. My message that day was on the impact of illicit weapons, and I was there speaking in support of my friend Lin Evola, a fellow master creator and artist. The first time I met Lin I was profoundly affected by her and her vision, her purity, devotion, commitment and sense of duty. My commitment and faith in her and her vision is absolute, because her visionary project is about transformation, peace, and love. It is a project she would say belongs to the world.
There are so many ways in which we hurt one another and sometimes it is with illicit weapons that we hurt others. But, it is always the intention to hurt another that does the harm, and likewise, it is also intention that is the antidote to such terrible sufferings. Like the intention to lay a gentle and caring hand upon a broken spirit or limb, and heal and make whole, through the transformational powers– of art, peace and love. Lin’s Peace Angel project is a beautifully powerful metaphor of the transformation within; a transformation we must all continually make. I was honored to speak at that event and to make my intentions known. My intentions are for a more peaceful and beautiful world, and we are now creating that world together.
I was grateful to be there to enjoin my energy, mission and purpose with other creators to say, “I believe in the power of peace and love to heal.” It was also so encouraging to stand with some of the nation’s greatest peace officers, to look them in the eye, and to witness that these visionary leaders, truly do believe in and see a greater world; a more beautiful world where all people are free, safe, and at peace.
I am meeting with the sheriff and chief of police again soon, to sign the Goodwill Treaty for World Peace and to have further constructive dialogues about the ways in which all people can make the world a safer and more beautiful place.
Betty Dravis: It’s odd, Bryant, but I received the final answers to this interview from you on the very day I faxed my signed Peace Treaty to the people involved in gathering signatures. Please tell us more about the Treaty and how and why you founded it? Who are some of the people who have signed it? In what countries has the Treaty been represented, and how were you received by the populace? I saw photographs of you with many politicians and celebrities signing the Treaty. What is it like to personally meet with, and get to know, such amazing individuals who all care so deeply about the state of the world?
Bryant McGill: Much of my life and work is concerning what I call “simple reminders,” and teaching people about their power of intention. I feel that we are so off-course as a human species that what we often need is to be reminded about the simpler things, which so many have forgotten or erased. We have lost touch with much of our humanity and our real creator-power. We need less information and less complexity. We need to create a quiet and calm place to allow the healing of that beautiful expansion of love within each of us, which is the seat of possibility for all great and good things. We need simple reminders of who we are, what we are and what is possible. All things are possible, through invitation and love.
The Treaty was born from the philosophy that a simple reminder and oath of intention could re-awaken in a consciousness what it already knows deep inside: that the world should be, could be, and will be a more beautiful, safe and peaceful home for all creatures and people…if we choose. I have always believed that one person really can make a difference. I AM that person, and so are YOU. There is nothing special or magical about what I do, or have done. All I have done, and will continue to do, is simply carry a torch of faith, optimism and enthusiasm for a safer and more harmonious world. A passionate fire for a more beautiful world burns within me, and it is that same warmth within you that will tame the coldness of indifference and cruel apathy.
I love all people, all creeds, and all nations. I am deeply in love with life. I am grateful for life and have a profound and abiding reverence for life. At a deep level, all people understand this basic respect for life, even those who do great harm… We all understand that life is a beautiful gift. I want to appeal to that simple understanding inside of each person, whether they are a president of a country, a celebrity, or a local neighbor or new friend. My intellect is nearly useless and words are limited, but the humble heart whispers its quiet truth to each soul we encounter, and beauty always inspires greater beauty.
In a world that wants me to be something else, I hope to simply have the courage to be beautiful, and let my heart’s unbridled truth flow and move upon each person I encounter. I hope to merely be a simple instrument of encouragement; a reminder of what every person innately knows, but may have forgotten. Is that so much to ask? Let us all encourage others to let their love flow freely. There is a great endless river of love and creative power in each soul, and when the artificial dams that restrain us are breached, the resulting flow can turn a desert of suffering into a paradise, containing all of the colors and blooms of each unique, vibrant soul.
I see that beautiful, peaceful place in my heart. It is real. At every moment “The Beautiful Path” is but a single choice away, and I will choose that path again, and again, and again. I deeply pray that each person will choose to walk upon the beautiful path with me. It is upon this path that we will encounter the famished and forgotten souls, who we will lift gently in our arms and nourish, with the nectar of our hearts– LOVE.
The Treaty has been represented in Italy, Australia, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Jordan, England, America, The Vatican, Japan and many other countries, both privately and in cooperation with governments, NGO’s and international bodies. As you mentioned, many celebrities, politicians and social leaders have signed the Treaty, and you asked what it was like to meet with these people in person. In every instance of our travel we have been received with open arms, love and goodwill–which is nothing short of an inspiration.
I have met personally with entertainers and serious activists, such as Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle, Jason Alexander, Montel Williams, Gary Busey and Raymond “Ray” Romano, who all enthusiastically put their signatures and hearts into the project and its simple message. I have met with, and shared the message, with sports stars like Charles Barkley, Ray Lewis, Hines Ward, Wade Boggs, Michael Strahan, and Evander Holyfield, just to name a few from a very long list. I have held private meetings with musicians such as the late Michael Jackson, Celtic Women, members of Earth, Wind and Fire, and most recently, Dave Mason who signed the Treaty, though he and I have not yet had a chance to sit down together. The last Treaty signer I met with privately was Her Divine Grace Dadi Janki, the beautiful, ninety-four-year-old spiritual leader from India. Some of these people became my friends and I have traveled with them and stayed in their private homes; they have expanded my vision of the world through their unique perspectives.
Betty, to me, it is so refreshing to see people with such public responsibility who are still able to think and act without publicists, managers and overseers. These are people who can think for themselves, and who take the responsibility to say: This is my oath, this is my signature, and even if we don’t know how to create it, even if it seems impossible, no matter what, this is what I stand for and this is what I believe. That courage, optimism and leadership is beautiful to see in this world today. So each time I meet with one of these people what I think and feel is gratitude. I think to myself, I am proud of you, and I am blessed that I can witness another soul exercising their unique power to declare before all people that they believe, like little children, in the power of LOVE, to transform the world. I believe in that power more and more every passing day.
Betty Dravis: You’re right, Bryant. Love is powerful and it’s people like you and others you mention who will make a difference. And as you are quick to point out, people like me and my readers too…
But now I’m curious about something: When you met Dadi Janki, India’s revered spiritual leader, you gave her a very special gift, a large precious gemstone that you dug from the earth with your own hands, and later cut yourself. It’s been said that for ten years you looked for a pure heart to whom you would give that stone, and that you had even considered kings, princesses and holy men. It warmed my heart to learn you had presented it to Dadi Janki when she signed the Peace Treaty. I was touched when you told her, “We are all precious…we are all gems, and you are a precious gem, Dadi.” That was very insightful of you and you made a wise choice.
Bryant McGill: Do you want to hear something amazing, Betty? Something that will stir your soul? I can hardly believe this myself, and it is what I call a miracle. Two nights before meeting Dadi, while lying in my hotel bed almost asleep, in a half dreaming state, a voice in my dream told me I needed to have a very special, large gemstone I had cut many years ago, sent to me and that I was to give it to Dadi Janki. So I phoned home and asked that it be shipped overnight to the resort.
The next day, the stone arrived and I took it with me to the event. As I walked in, I was astonished at the sight of large, colored-glass gems everywhere! As it turned out, the whole program was about how we are all “Gems.” Dadi Janki was handing a glass gem, blessed with her love, to each person in the crowd. After the program, a table had been prepared for our private meeting where Dadi was to sign the Goodwill Treaty. I sat across from Dadi and we silently looked into one another’s eyes and souls for a very long time. I took her hand and placed my gemstone in her palm. I told her about my dream and how I sent for this real gemstone, which I had mined and cut by hand. I told her, “Dadi, we are all precious… We are all gems, and you are a precious gem, too, Dadi.”
And then Dadi handed me a glass gemstone in return. The space between us was charged with high energy as we exchanged drishti. Our souls smiled at one another as we basked in the warm spirit of the synchronicity and beauty of that sacred moment moving upon us. There was a great knowing and transmission of information in that moment. It was divine and it was perfect.
The following day, I met with a woman who had contacted me on the Internet and who was in deep distress. Her distress came from not knowing where home is, or what it means to truly have support and love from a family. She had suffered through profound abuses and neglect. When I travel to different cities, I make an effort to meet with one or two people that my inner-voice tells me to meet. So, in following that inner-voice, it was decided that I was to meet with this woman who had reached out to me. I had a small window of time, so I called her and let her know I was available.
A few hours later she arrived at the resort where I was staying and we met in the lobby where there was a comfortable and private area for us to sit. We sat facing each other and holding hands as we listened with care and with ease, while surrounded in quiet and divine grace. After a while of heart-felt conversation, I paused for a moment and pulled out the gem Dadi had given me and said, “This was a gift from Dadi Janki. It was blessed by her and will bring blessings and protection to whoever possesses it. I want you to have it.”
She immediately broke into sobs of gratitude and healing. She then told me, out of all the people in the world, she had just been watching videos of this extraordinary, yet humble soul the world has come to know as Dadi Janki. The purest and highest spirit moved upon us and tears streamed from both our eyes. The circle of giving was now complete, and in that moment the world was perfected and all we could feel was pure unconditional love. The highest place in me met the highest place in her. We were both there because we had listened to our hearts, and we were both being taught beautiful lessons about listening to the quiet promptings that led us to a moment we each will remember forever. The special gift I gave her was simply my open heart, and there is no gift greater. The act of true giving is indistinguishable from receiving.
Betty Dravis: You’re right, Bryant; your story does stir my soul. That’s a wonderful, moving example of the power of giving and receiving. When you described the exchanges between you and Dadi Janki and between you and your Internet friend, I could feel the love flowing freely…feel the bliss in those breath-taking moments…
I also heard you recently met with the “hugging saint” Amma (Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi) and received her blessings for your mission. I’m a “huggy” kind of person, so please share those moments with us.
Bryant McGill: Meeting Amma and receiving her blessings and Darshan was such a beautiful experience. I met with Amma close to San Francisco where I presented her with the Goodwill Treaty for World Peace. It was a very powerful moment. Amma took the Treaty in her hand, laid it upon her bosom, and pulled me into an embrace…with the Treaty between us. During Darshan, Amma blessed the Treaty and my path in life, that I would be protected as a humble instrument in my mission to bring more goodwill and love into the world. It was absolutely wonderful, and her heart and smile are with me forever.
Betty Dravis: You paint a vivid scene, Bryant; I can just picture that spell-binding moment. Now with those fascinating experiences in mind, this seems like a good place to ask a lighter question. If you could spend an entire day with anyone else in the world (living or dead) who would you choose?
Bryant McGill: I would wish to meet any human being on Earth who is low and lift them up. What we do to another, we do to ourselves.
Betty Dravis: That’s a perfect answer, Bryant; one worthy of your purpose and the true purpose of all life. And what would you say to a person who is low, depressed and desperate?
Bryant McGill: To the low and downtrodden I would say: Rise-up and please allow me the privilege to be your humble servant. I am just a simple student of the world; what lesson do you have for me? Let me be your brother and friend. Let me be a hospitable and comforting voice. I am no more than you. I am only a simple reflection of divine light–the eternal image of creation. What good you see in me is God’s good. We are all illuminated with the same universal light. I do not want to squander my divine gifts through weakness, so help me to be complete by allowing me to serve you.
I am not higher, better, wiser or greater, just because you seem low at the moment. No! In fact, I look to you as my teacher. I am just a student who learns by looking at the divine architect’s creations and art– YOU. His art is incomprehensible! Will you be my teacher? Will you lift me when I am low? Will you take my hand when I have fallen? Will you love me when I have failed? No matter, I will do these things for you, for you are the creator’s beauty that I will protect. What, or who the creator is, I leave entirely to you… Whether you believe in random destiny of chances, child of Darwin, intelligent design, cosmic consciousness, or a monotheistic God, it does not matter; you are still a beautiful creation, and all respect and honor to the true author and architect of your beauty.
It is never too late, and love will heal you—your love. Many of my readers, and especially those in the prisons where I sometimes speak, have had very troubled lives and have been neglected and abused. If you have been hurt, do not wait for love to come find you and heal you. Remember the important truth that love works as an agent of healing both ways; by not only receiving, but also by giving. We are made whole only when we make others whole.
If you have not been invested in as a person, or have been neglected or abused, do not be bitter. Instead, ask yourself, “In whom can I invest my heart, love and service?” As the great Mahatma Gandhi advised, we should all be the change we wish to see in the world. Growing up, every person may not have had the best of families or experiences, but in this time called now, each person can experience that love and beauty they wanted…through the lives of others they touch. What a beautiful chance to experience what you may have missed from another perspective, by giving another soul what you know all people deserve.
Betty Dravis: I didn’t anticipate the complexity of your answer, Bryant, but it’s very thought-provoking and sincere. Really, quite simple when one ponders your truth…
How do you stay so humble when you are surrounded by worldly glamour and materialism, and when you are adored by so many? How do you not get lost in it all? What is your idea of humility?
Bryant McGill: Humility and full consciousness are inseparable, Betty. Once you become fully conscious and self-aware, or awake, you are immediately humble. Only unconscious people and “sleep-walkers” who do not know themselves and what they really are, can lack humility. True humility is greatness. Humility and greatness are not mutually exclusive, but are fully compatible. God is great, and God is good, and we are to be as God-like as possible. I seek to be both great and good. Humility is not weak. Not being great is a form of extreme arrogance, while being great is an act of true humility. You see, it is arrogant to not be the great and marvelous being you were intended to become. It is supremely neglectful and insulting to the heart of creation to squander your divine birthright. It takes an act of absolute humility to accept the mantle of greatness which was written into each of our destinies. All strength comes from humility. So I ask, are you humble enough to be great?
Betty Dravis: I’d like to say you are a stellar example of what Chase Von and I call “Dream Reachers” in our books of the same name. You might not know it, but our creed is: Only Those Who Stretch to Reach Their Dreams Find Themselves Living Them. Bryant, you are the ultimate Dream Reacher, having your dreams fulfilled in a grand way. And speaking of great accomplishments, I see you have lost over a hundred pounds of weight and have transformed your body and health. How did you accomplish this amazing goal?
Bryant McGill: Thank you for the compliment, Betty. I AM…living my dreams, and I am so happy for that fact. As far as my health is concerned, I was really worried and afraid I was going to die because I was so unhealthy. I could not even walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I was truly, and frighteningly, unwell. The first step to achieving wellness for me was learning humility. To abuse the gift of life and one’s own precious body is a form of extreme arrogance and self-hatred. So one of the keys for me was reacquainting myself with the beautiful gifts that can exist for a being who has respect, gratitude and humility for all that is available for us, to sustain our bodies in health and longevity.
There was also a decision that I made wherein I concluded that I wanted to live life with health and vigor. I decided I wanted the energy and vitality to do and experience all of the wondrous things in life that are available to all people. I wanted the strength and stamina to lead a life of activity, exploration and true excellence. Ultimately, it came down to me deciding whether I wanted to advance toward the grave in a state of decrepit stupor or rise and advance in life as a fresh, vital being, full of youthful energy and joy.
In my quest for understanding, I realized something very important one day: that the human body is an unfathomable and miraculous microcosm of divine order. The intelligence, complexity and order of even a single cell rivals that of a large modern city. Our bodies love us! Just think about it. The universe within– your trillions of cells all cooperate in a grand orchestration to serve and heal you. Your cells work around the clock in total unison and harmony, cleaning, repairing, restoring and nourishing your entire physical being. Every person’s body wants nothing more than to cooperate with them in achieving optimal health. But I realized that I was at war with my own body. I was waging a terrible war of violence against my body by bombarding it with stress, toxic environments, lack of sleep and the most terrible and dreadful toxic foods known to man–otherwise known as the modern American diet and lifestyle. Obesity is not only a life choice, it is a disease. When you are obese you are chronically diseased and you are moving toward the grave at a rapid pace. My body had become addicted to heavy greases, oils, animal fats, highly refined carbohydrates, sugars, salts and an endless array of toxic chemicals.
I discovered that simply by getting out of my own body’s way, letting it do its job and cooperating with my body, it would heal itself from the dreadfully debilitating sickness of obesity. To lose weight I did very little outside of gentle and peaceful cooperation with the inherent wisdom and intelligence of my own body. Through meditation and gentle and peaceful cooperation, the body will heal itself with little or no effort. When we are at peace with ourselves the total expression of that true peace includes our outer being…our body. Losing weight and being healthy is so simple and easy. I’m now writing a book called “The Peaceful Body” that explains all of the details of my program. I am on the first year of a two-and-a-half-year transformation process, where my goal is not weight loss, but rather true health and respect for the gift of life.
Betty Dravis: Wow, Bryant, I’ve seen photos of you “before and after” and the visible change is simply astonishing. This might sound like a cliché, but you truly do look many years younger now. You really are, as they say, a living example of transformation—of mind and body.
During your radio show, through the Internet, your books, and as a soul coach, you give many helpful success tips to your followers. What simple advice do you have for our readers to start them on the right path?
Bryant McGill: First and foremost, turn off your television and seek quiet meditative places as often as possible. To all of your Dream Reachers’ readers out there, I say, Go for your dreams! Go for your dreams and never allow the opinions of others to discourage you. To dis-courage means to take away courage. Be courageous in the face of criticism and “nay-saying,” personal attacks and passive aggressive “supporters” who secretly wish for you to fail. Do not listen to cynics, critics, skeptics or negative people. Do not let negative entities have any power over you. Negativity is a disease of the mind. If they try to block you with a wall of negativity, just walk through it like a ghost.
I realize a lot of starting authors, actors, artists and creators in all fields receive negative feedback about their so-called, lofty goals, their “dream world,” their “unrealistic” plans and their delusions. They are often told they need to be more “realistic” and “down-to-earth.” Never listen to small minds and small imaginations. These people suffer from delusions of no-grandeur. They suffer from extreme delusions of no-grandeur when all evidence points to the contrary, showing that there is great grandeur to be had, and creations of opulence await only your unique spark of imagination. That is how every marvelous thing in the world was created– by someone who did not listen to that sad nonsense.
Learn to market and share yourself and your creations, whether it be books, poetry, paintings, music, pottery, inventions or ideas. Be proud of who you are–your output in the world, in the form of your creations–and share your unique-self and your beauty, unapologetically. Ignore any person who frames your efforts at sharing as “shameless self-promotion” and narcissism. There is nothing more shameless and narcissistic than tearing down others–their plans, efforts and dreams–just to make themselves feel higher and better. This happens less when you are more established and “successful,” but when you begin a journey, these broken people can be vicious and devastating to your plans. People who presently live in fear and darkness will always be shocked, unsettled and even afraid of authentic creator power. Their dark and low vibrational energy will sometimes attack what it cannot understand.
I get about a thousand emails a day, and only around one nasty email a month, so that tells you just how rare and sad these afflicted individuals are. I could never imagine myself actually putting life-force and energy into writing a person a letter just to say something critical or cruel. What a waste of my creator energy, and how very mean-spirited. I would rather use that same energy to send a stranger a letter pointing out something nice or supportive, and I do that all the time. Remember, what we do to another, we do to ourselves.
I love these words by Theodore Roosevelt, and I think you will too:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Many years ago I had a realization that, at that time, was very helpful for me, and I hope it is possibly helpful for your readers. I realized that one day I will face death, and I will die and depart this realm. No other person can die for me; this I must do on my own. So, while I am alive–and since no single critic is going to lay down and die for me–I will absolutely not allow any person to tell me how to live. This is my life and I will live it how I choose, without worry or distress over outside opinions. I do not need any person’s approval, except my own. I would be devastated if I were on my death bed filled with regrets of things I wish I had done, but did not do, because of criticisms and lack of approval from others.
My advice is also to get on and stay on, what I call, “The Beautiful Path.” A person on The Beautiful Path always seeks beauty without and within, in all they do and experience. In every person they see beauty, and in every experience they find beauty because beauty has been cultivated within. Even with harsh and mean people, they find themselves appreciating that person in some way, and even during hardship and tribulation, they receive their lessons for growth with gratitude.
The Beautiful Path is not a place outside of yourself, but is a place you carry with you everywhere you go. The Beautiful Path, is the place you want to be, to re-center; it is the garden of peace you seek, but is not a place that exists in the world– it is within. Go there, within, and if you nurture a beautiful garden in your heart, the singing bird will come and fill your world with beautiful music.
A person on The Beautiful Path is also on their path of purpose. Find your unique path of purpose. When you are not on your path of purpose you are sure to be miserable. Any time a person denies their heart’s calling in life, because of so-called duty and responsibility, they are cheating themselves…and the world. Always ask yourself: “Responsibility to what, or to whom?” Is it responsibility to mediocrity, subjugation, materialism or economic enslavement? What sick institutions are you bound to upholding through your “responsibility” and to what master do you suborn yourself day-in and day-out? You have a greater duty to be true to your heart and your purpose in life. You have a great responsibility to become the full expression of your true-self and to rise to the full measure of your unique potential.
Every soul has a gift and greater purpose. When we suppress our desire to be true to our greater purpose in life, we can become depressed, and over time, we may even become physically ill. To deny the course of our own nature is a crime against our own humanity. Imagine a world where all the great artists, musicians, inventors, Olympians, healers and dreamers had surrendered their dreams and yielded to the mundane responsibilities of common existence and common expectations. What a sad, deprived and cheated world that would be! Live your life with worthy pursuits that are to the benefit of all people. There is only one you. Live your true purpose and share your unique gifts with the world.
Also as a good piece of advice, I suggest that everyone meditate, and do the introspection required to find yourself. It is so important that you understand what you really are–and trust yourself! There is nothing external of yourself that you need. Everything you need is within. Learn to quieten your mind and be present, mindful and in the now–even with your own self. Do not dwell in the past, or in the future. The past is inaccessible and the future is ever advancing, and therefore, also inaccessible. There is only this blessed moment called now, and beyond that, there are no guarantees. As Prince Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism wrote: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” So, simply be the glorious creation you are and let your radiant heart smile for all to see…and become love. Finally, and most importantly, do not allow people or creatures to suffer.
Betty Dravis: There is great wisdom in what you say, Bryant, and I’ve experienced more than my share of nay-sayers during my writing career. It takes much thought, time and patience to arrive where you are, but it appears you are helping many people get there.
It is truly mind-boggling to even think about how you manage it all. You have come a long, long way from that dirt road in Alabama. How do you manage to run so many successful operations? You must be terrific at organizing and delegating authority. How do you accomplish so much?
Bryant McGill: I do accomplish a great deal, Betty, but I accomplish so much by doing as little as possible. I call it “do nothing and accomplish everything.” The main action I take to move forward is a form of inaction: being still and quiet. Too much aggression and work will move what you desire further away. Creation is an act of cooperation, not force. You do not rape the universe, you make love with the universe. For me, all things are accomplished by the meditative act of releasing illusions and simply becoming. My main tools are invitation, patience, time, gentleness, cooperation and surrender. I have let go of everything and that is how you get everything; you let go of everything. When we try to control, we become controlled; when we release, we become free. Creativity is the greatest expression of liberty. Creation is an act of freedom, by a creator consciousness. I do very little outside of being free.
Betty Dravis: It took you many years to get where you are, Bryant, and it almost sounds magical in its simplicity. I admire your diligence and will power in achieving your heart’s desire by becoming your own person, not to mention what you are doing for others.
Regretfully, we’re nearing the end of our interview, but I can’t leave without asking about your beautiful daughters. How important is family to you, and in general?
Bryant McGill: There are many types of families. We love most those who we serve most, and with families there are endless ways in which we serve. Our children and other members of our families are independent entities. We do not own them and they do not belong to us; we can only know them. They belong to the world and to themselves, and for a brief period in this ephemeral existence we have the privilege to share time with them and serve them and their needs.
I remember in vivid detail the moment each of my darling girls was born into life’s keeping. I am a contemplative person by nature and there has seldom been a period of time that has gone by wherein I did not reflect back to the moments my children were born. What I remember most–having had a true lasting impact on me–are two things. Of the two, what I consider most awe-inspiring was their first breath. I have thought intently about it over the years; about its profound implications on my understanding of the mysterious world around us and, ultimately, about its beauties. There I stood in each case as they came into the world, and I witnessed their very first, amazing and miraculous breath. With that breath came the animations of life and their helpless, compelling cries.
The second thing that has continued to impact me is that as this happened–in that instant of their springing to being–I helplessly wept tears of utter and absolute humility and joy, as a witness to the sacred gift of life and creation. Each time I think about the moment of their births, it poignantly reminds me that I have, continue, and will forever cherish each and every breath and beat of their precious hearts. It also continues to remind me that each soul I encounter once took that first breath, and was, and is, also a beautiful child.
As Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), the famous Lebanese poet, philosopher, and artist, once wrote of children:
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you, for life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
My children belong to the future, which is a place I cannot visit, but for now, in this moment, I am blessed to call them my friends, and to witness their beauty and growth, and to be a mirror to them, that shows them their uniqueness and true beauty. No matter what I create or accomplish in life, my children will always be my greatest co-creation.
The most important thing I can say about family, is we are all family. I hope one day we can all evolve from the clannish institutions of isolation of the people outside of exclusive family boundaries. We are all children of creation. We are all one, we are all brothers and sisters, we are all one beautiful human family.
Betty Dravis: Confidentially, Bryant, I read that Gibran quote about the “bows and arrows” when my children were small and it let me know in no uncertain terms that I did not “own” them. I didn’t like it at the time (laughs), but it gave me pause to reflect and impressed me deeply. Thanks for reminding me.
I’m reluctant to leave you because there is so much more to you; more than time and space allow. But I’ll console our readers by giving your web addresses where they can find you.
For a last tidbit, I hear you have an upcoming speech you will be delivering with a former United States President, as well as the possibility of meeting the president of India and Gandhi’s family. Please mention any additional plans or events coming up in the near future.
Bryant McGill: Well, Betty, currently I am working on a weight-loss and wellness book called, “The Peaceful Body.” I am doing a lot of Soul Coaching, as well as wellness and weight-loss coaching in Los Angeles. I have also just opened new business offices in Beverly Hills. I have a reality show in the works, and a documentary under production.
My main web addresses are as follows:
Betty Dravis: I knew there was more, Bryant. (laughs) And since you were also interviewed by a best-selling author from the UK, Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, I look forward to getting a copy of Mind and Motivation: The Spirit of Success, not only to compare notes about you, but to learn from other experts she interviewed in their chosen fields in the arts, sciences and psychology. These sound like inspirational, motivational and revealing personal stories of how they attained their goals. This book sounds a little like our Dream Reachers with a focus centered more on “the mind.”
This, and other interviews, including the interview for Mind and Motivation may be found at:
You are definitely a Renaissance thinker who leads from the heart toward a world of unlimited possibilities. It’s been a pleasure meeting you and enlightening to learn more about you. I hope you continue your quest “to prove that life is still beautiful and that all people have the power to have a better life and world–now.” You have certainly inspired me to take a different approach to make my dreams come true. Thanks for everything, and please keep in touch.
Bryant McGill: Thank you for the honor and privilege to be included in your series of interviews, Betty, and I wish you and all people a life of great purpose and joy.