Hi, love. I’m so grateful you’re here today.
We’re going to be talking about something that’s really close to my heart — faith and spirituality.
We’re all on different journeys — maybe spirituality isn’t something that you normally think about on a daily basis. Or maybe you want to grow your faith, but you’re struggling to find a community of other people to grow alongside you. Or perhaps you just have no clue where to start.
I know I’ve been there, but when I started going to the Agape Spiritual Center years ago, I felt like I was hearing spirituality and God talked about in a way that I had always felt was true. Reverend Michael Beckwith, the Founder and Spiritual Director of Agape, has been such a wonderful teacher in my life, and I am so excited he came on the show to share his wisdom.
In this interview, we talk about finding your spiritual path, transitioning into a plant-based diet, and navigating racism and fear in our country. I loved being a part of this conversation and know it will raise your consciousness as you read along.
Who Is Reverend Michael B. Beckwith?
Michael Bernard Beckwith is the Founder and Spiritual Director of the Agape International Spiritual Center. Based in Los Angeles, California, Agape is a trans-denominational, multicultural community of thousands of local, national, and international members and live-streamers.
Highly regarded for his teachings on the science of inner transformation, Michael embraces a practical approach to spirituality that acknowledges the accelerated pace of our contemporary times. His unique transmission of spiritual practices, including meditation, affirmative prayer, and life visioning, enable the practitioner to take the experience of inner peace coupled with awakened awareness into the activities of everyday life.
Michael is also a sought-after meditation teacher, conference speaker, and seminar leader on the Life Visioning Process, a program designed to uncover the crystal clear destiny that you were created for. Dr. Beckwith is also the author of several successful books, including Life Visioning, Spiritual Liberation, and TranscenDance.
Michael has appeared on Dr. Oz, The Oprah Winfrey Show, OWN Help Desk, Larry King Live, and in his own PBS special, The Answer Is You. You can also tune into his radio show on KPFK — Wake Up: The Sound of Transformation to hear more wisdom.
Despite all the spiritual work he’s done today, Michael wasn’t always a man of faith. In fact, he was an atheist for a long time. He was brought up in a Methodist church, but as a teenager, he was restless due to some church politics that were going on with the current minister, so he parted from the church.
“There was not a sense of congruence with me, and I became more atheistic … even through college. And [as] a matter of fact … when [I was] attending Morehouse college, [a guy named Kenneth and I] would go out and convert Christians to atheism.” – Michael B. Beckwith
Michael would study the Bible for the sole purpose of “blowing holes in it.” But something changed when he moved back to Los Angeles to transfer to the University of Southern California. At the time, he was part of an organization, and one day, he attended a meeting. During this meeting, a voice asked him, “If you were to take over the world tomorrow, would the world be any different?” He looked behind him, but no one was there. He heard the voice again, asking the same question, and he realized that it was coming from inside of him.
He started reflecting on himself and what the organization was doing in the world, and he realized that it was full of people who wanted to change the world but hadn’t begun the change within themselves. He never went back to a meeting, and one week later, somebody in the organization actually shot another person because of a disagreement. It was as if some force was purposefully moving him to something greater.
While attending USC, Michael started having lots of inner spiritual experiences, such as lucid dreaming, hearing voices, and leaving his own body. He had one lucid dream in particular that stood out to him — in the dream, he was killed, but then he woke up to see himself surrounded by “this universal presence of love and beauty and intelligence.”
That’s when his spiritual awakening began. He started studying the mysticism of faith, and soon, he had dreams of a diverse, spiritual community. Although, at the time, he didn’t want to be the one to start it. Instead, he became a licensed spiritual therapist for seven years and led workshops and seminars, but that dream of a spiritual community kept coming up. What started as a gathering in his living room turned into the Agape International Spiritual Center — a spiritual community that crosses all barriers.
The first time that I met Michael, he was on stage and speaking these words of wisdom. I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is everything I ever thought in my head. He’s answering all these questions that I had for the last, like, 15 years.” It was a magical experience, and today, I’m so THRILLED to share this interview with you all on the Get Loved Up podcast.
Finding Your Spiritual Path
I think a lot of people, myself included, have difficulty understanding spirituality growing up. Sometimes, people adopt the faith of those closest to them, and others prefer to reject faith altogether. It can be hard, and even scary sometimes, to navigate through a spiritual awakening, so I asked Michael for his wisdom. How do we get to a higher level of consciousness? How do we find our own spiritual path?
“It’s attainable for everyone. … I would do emotionally backed affirmations, meaning if there was fear or anger, instead of pretending it wasn’t there. I would turn the anger into an affirmation. … Through prayer, through mediation, through study, etc., you’re setting yourself up to be a candidate for an insight, right? So an insight is a moment in which you have an ‘aha’ moment.” – Michael B. Beckwith
Have you ever had an “aha” moment? Did something happen that made everything — your life, your faith, your relationships — just click? If you haven’t experienced this type of spiritual awakening, don’t worry — Michael gave us so many ways to start that process in ourselves. Prayer, mediation, and affirmations are all great ways to start investing in your spiritual growth.
“You have to stabilize [that moment.] And then it becomes integrated [into your life.] … One of my favorite statements is, ‘You don’t have to rehearse to be yourself.” After a while, you just show up, and this is who you are.” – Michael B. Beckwith
Once you have that initial “aha moment,” you have to invest in it. It’s a continual practice of checking in with yourself, your emotions, and the world around you. It may not be easy at first, but if you keep at it, you’ll find yourself becoming more and more who you were made to be. You’ll shift past negative frequencies to positive vibrations and open up your soul for growth and love.
“It’s all frequency and vibration. People forget [that] ‘personality’ comes from the word ‘persona,’ and ‘persona’ means ‘mask.’ So we have a personality, and that’s the mask that was forged as a reaction to whatever we were growing through [as children.] … You develop certain personalities, but that’s not who you are, right? … There’s an old English word that created the word ‘character.’ The word ‘character’ means ‘the etch of God on your soul.” So we all have that etch of God in our soul.” – Michael B. Beckwith
I love how he distinguished between “personality” and “character.” I know that it’s so easy to feel like an imposter when it comes to faith and spirituality, and while it may take some time to adjust to that frequency, it unlocks who you truly are. Don’t be afraid to believe in something bigger than yourself — it opens your mind, heart, and soul up to so many wonderful spiritual experiences and personal growth.
Why Michael B. Beckwith Only Eats Plant-Based Foods
In addition to talking about his spirituality, I was so excited to talk about Michael’s healthy lifestyle, particularly since he only eats plant-based foods. This diet shift began shortly after his spiritual awakening when his body suddenly became ultra-sensitive.
“Once I had the spiritual awakening, … my body was sensitive. … And so I remember eating some chicken, and as I took a bite from the chicken, I could feel the pain that the chicken had in dying and the life [that] the chicken had. It was all in my body. I could feel it. I put it out. I said, ‘Wow, what is this?’ And I realized I was picking up on the grief and the anxiety and the fear [of] the chicken. So I remember calling my mother. I said, ‘I’m going to be a vegetarian.'” – Michael B. Beckwith
Once Michael had his spiritual awakening, he was way more in tune with positive and negative energies. When he ate meat, he was overwhelmed by the sense of pain that the animal went through. But this is only one reason why Michael decided to switch to plant-based foods.
“As I began to study it, [eating meat] wasn’t as healthy as [eating] plant-based [foods], right? I began to study amino acids. … You don’t need meat to get protein because the body has to digest it [and] put it back together. You’re burning out your pancreas.” – Michael B. Beckwith
When you eat meat, your pancreas has to produce lots of enzymes to digest that meat, and over time, that wears down your pancreas. On the other hand, plant-based proteins are a lot easier on your digestive system.
Not only are plant-based foods healthier for you, but they are also healthier for the environment.
“I realized what we were doing to our environment by all of the factory farming. … It’s unsound, [and] it’s unsustainable. If everybody’s eating meat, you’re gonna kill the planet.” – Michael B. Beckwith
For these three reasons — energic, health, and environmental — Michael made the switch to becoming vegan. I personally have seen so many vegan restaurants pop up recently, and I really think that people are starting to realize that eating meat all the time isn’t necessarily a good or helpful practice.
Maybe you want to start eating more plant-based foods, but you’re not sure if you can do it instantly. That’s totally okay. Michael has some advice for you if you’re considering becoming vegetarian or vegan:
“And so I would advise anybody who [is] just starting out [to] maybe not do it all in one plunge. Just cut back on it. And maybe on certain days, you don’t have meat, but other days, you get a little meat until finally you realize, ‘Oh, I’m feeling a lot more energy. … I have more brainpower and, … I’m in a better flow.” – Michael B. Beckwith
Switching to solely plant-based foods may seem intimidating, but it is totally doable. Instead of viewing meat as your “main dish,” consider it your side dish. Gradually begin to eat less and less, and you’ll start to notice the positive effects in your body.
I really think it’s beautiful that more and more people are becoming conscious about their eating habits — eating plant-proteins over meat, practicing intermittent fasting, etc. Personally, I’ve found that I have way more spiritual clarity when I’m putting these kinds of foods in my body.
Fighting the Racism Narrative
To close out the interview, I asked Michael what advice he would give to his 14-year old self. His answer gave me chills:
“Whenever you hit the wall, just do not give up into a complacent comfort zone because the universe is gonna … open something up for you. So [when] I think back to [when I was 14], [I] was a junior in high school. … We were the minority at the school [as] Black people, and we had to develop a philosophy to survive … the onslaught or racism, even from some of the teachers. I remember … we had to write a composition about our future, and I wrote that I was going to go to USC. … I got a C on it because I was dreaming too big. … The teacher — who was White — said that that dream wasn’t … for me.” – Michael B. Beckwith
Michael did end up going to USC, and now he’s helping change lives across the world. But despite everything that he’s done, he still experiences racism to this day. Personally, I feel like right now, a lot of this racism is coming to light under the Trump Administration. People are starting to realize microaggressions and what white privilege really means. On one side, people are still really blind to it, and on the other, people’s eyes are opening to the social injustices of our society. Here are Michael’s insights on the current times:
“Well, the beautiful thing about [President] Number 45 is that he’s basically allowed for the dust that had been accumulated … on the rug to be seen. It has been swept away for so long. And people have been thinking that because certain laws have come into place over the years, that there was no issue. Right? But people don’t understand that the narrative has changed. … Then you have police brutality. As an example — in Portland today, Blacks make up 4% of the population, [and] they’re pulled over 56% of the time. … The laws are changing, but the narrative has to [change] too, right?” – Michael B. Beckwith
In the constitution, there’s a line that says, “All men are created equal.” The problem is, at the time the constitution was written, African Americans were not considered “men.” The laws may have changed, but the underlying narrative has stayed consistent throughout history. With Trump as the President, social injustice has been rising to the surface, and nothing is hidden anymore.
“I call [Trump] an evolutionary trigger. … He just says what’s on his mind. … [But] you can’t heal [racism] if you’re suppressing or repressing it. … So he’s basically bringing to surface what has been trained to be repressed or suppressed in our nation. … So we’re in the process of healing. It’s like a pimple being popped.” – Michael B. Beckwith
The healing process can be hard, but to rewrite the narrative, we have to heal the old one. Reverend Michael Beckwith, alongside the Agape community, is committed to helping that healing happen:
“So Agape came into existence so that people could collide and love and debate and work together and pray together to actually see [that] we really are one.” – Michael B. Beckwith
Agape is doing some incredible work in the world, and so I’m proud to call it my spiritual community.
Get Loved Up with Michael Beckwith
This interview with Michael Beckwith was so powerful, and I was so honored to have him on the show. I wasn’t able to fit everything in this post, so definitely check out the whole interview here to learn more about Michael’s transformation and how he’s transitioned out of relationships with love and grace.
And if you want to hear more from Michael, check out the Beckwith Inspires app. On the app, you’ll be able to access more interviews and messages like this one. You can also connect with Michael on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or on the Agape website.
This interview was such a treat for me. I appreciate everything that Micahel has done in my life and in the lives of so many millions of other people. His life is about loving yourself, loving God, and loving the planet, and that’s what Get Loved Up is all about. He’s such a blessing, and I hope you were inspired by this interview. If so, tag Michael, @michaelbbeckwith, and me, @koyawebb, on Instagram with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways. We would love to hear what you learned.
And if you’re looking for a conscious community that practices daily self-care and makes healthy living a priority to promote healing, social justice, and spiritual connection, then check out my Wellness Entrepreneur Mastermind. I created this Mastermind to inspire your optimal health and expansion beyond any conscious or unconscious limitations or setbacks. If it sounds like something you may be interested in, we’d love to have you join us.
Until next time, love — keep yourself open to spiritual experiences and let yourself be healed. I love you.
- How Michael converted from atheism to his present faith (1:05)
- What he had to heal from in order to evolve (7:20)
- How to stabilize and integrate insights (11:04)
- The difference between our personality and our character (12:45)
- How to move through a difficult struggle (15:45)
- What inspired Michael to become vegan (24:48)
- How our consciousness is evolving as a society (31:15)
- Easy ways to try out a plant-based diet (32:55)
- The story behind how Agape got started (38:44)
- The importance of being inclusive in faith communities (48:05)
- How Michael navigated a transition in his relationship (50:55)
- Advice for conscious uncoupling (57:12)
- How to view our societal trauma and healing right now (1:14:15)
- How Michael gets loved up (1:27:41)