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#194  This Mighty Heart: exploring the power of Heart Intelligence with Scilla Elworthy

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We all know that we need to reconnect to our Heart Minds and to bring our Heart Intelligence up to meet the explosion of left brain intelligence – we just don’t know how to do it. This week’s guest is one of my living heroes – who does have clear, grounded ideas of how to do this.

Dr Scilla Elworthy was thirteen years old when she saw the Soviet Invasion of Hungary on the television and understood the horror of what was happening. Her mother found her packing a case to go to Budapest to help and managed to persuade her to stay home by promising she’d help to train her to be what the world needed. When she was sixteen, she worked in a holiday camp for Auschwitz survivors, and sat peeling potatoes and listening to them talk of their suffering.

Since then, she has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with Oxford Research Group to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics. In 2003 Scilla founded Peace Direct, to work closely with locally-led peace building initiatives throughout the world, bringing us daily experience in how to help prevent violent conflict and build sustainable peace throughout the world.

She has written numerous books, given numerous TED and TEDx talks and now leads The Business Plan for Peace to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of transforming destructive conflict. She was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize in 2003 and the Luxembourg Peace Prize in 2020. She is one of the clearest, most grounded thinkers I have ever met and she’s working tirelessly to create the future we’d be proud to leave behind. I was more than a little star-struck, but this was a genuinely heart-felt conversation and I hope listening to it leaves you feeling as heart-connected as it did me.

In Conversation

Manda: Hey people, welcome to Accidental Gods. To the podcast where we believe that another world is still possible and that if we all work together, there is time to create the future that we would be proud to leave to the generations that come after us. I’m Manda Scott, your host in this journey into possibility, and this week’s guest is one of my greatest living heroes. Dr.Scilla Elworthy was 13 years old when she saw the Soviet invasion of Hungary happening in real time on the television and understood the horror of what was happening. Her mother found her packing a suitcase to go to Budapest to help and managed to persuade her to stay home, by promising that she would get the training to be what the world needed. And true to her promise, when she was 16, Scilla was sent to work in a holiday camp for Auschwitz survivors and sat peeling potatoes and listening to them talking of their suffering. And that started a lifelong move to be part of the solution. Since then, Scilla has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the Oxford Research Group to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy makers worldwide and their critics.

 In 2003 Scilla founded Peace Direct, to work closely with locally led peacebuilding initiatives throughout the world, bringing us daily experiences in how to help prevent violent conflict and build sustainable peace throughout the world. She has written numerous books, given numerous TED and TEDx talks, and now leads the Business Plan for Peace to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of transforming destructive conflict. She was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize in 2003 and the Luxembourg Peace Prize in 2020. She is one of the clearest, most grounded thinkers I have ever met, and she works tirelessly to create the future that we would be proud to leave behind. I was more than a little star struck when we had our conversation, but it was a genuinely heartfelt connection, and I hope that listening to it leaves you feeling as heart connected as it did me. So people of the podcast, with great heart, please welcome Dr. Scilla Elworthy.

 Scilla, welcome to the Accidental Gods podcast and thank you for taking space in what sounds like a particularly busy schedule. How are you this morning and where are you? Are you in Oxford still?

Scilla: I live in the middle of the countryside to the west of Oxford in a very old village. And I’m very happy to be talking to you this morning. And how am I? Really, I am excited.

Manda: Excellent. Thank you. So we’re talking today because the Mighty Heart in Action has a course coming up which we would like to tell people about. But before we get to that, a long way before we get to that, I would like to go back to your early history. I came to know you through Pioneering the Possible, which was a book that genuinely changed my life and allowed me to see things in different ways. Can you talk us a little bit through your early history of how you came to be the person who wrote that book and do all of the work that led to that?

Scilla: Oh, thank you. Well, I had a very serious illness, encephalitis, which nearly destroyed my brain. I was in a coma for two weeks, but I’m deeply grateful to that illness because it left one question in my mind and my heart. And that question was, who am I? And I was in my early 30s, I hadn’t had much experience of introspection, psychotherapy, anything like that. But I had to answer the question and I sought out a Jungian analysis and plunged into that for six years. And it was unbelievably helpful to help answer this question Who am I really? And that led to many different kinds of inner work and experience, which brought me, let me just see; alongside the birth of my daughter and her growing up; to want to put myself as best I could in service to the world. That was what it seemed to be. And the first instruction was listen. Listen inside. And so I developed one way or another, a certainly daily, if not several times daily practice of listening inside and listening to nature and a garden and a lot of being outside in nature. And I gravitated quite quickly into the work of how human beings can somehow stop killing each other. And that was fundamental. I found myself before too long going on marches to stop nuclear weapons proliferation in Britain in the early 80s. And very soon I found myself, how shall I put it, chairing meetings in the United Nations building in New York. And we were puzzling out how to bring about nuclear disarmament.

Scilla: And I was on a tram, strap hanging somewhere in New York. And a voice in my head said, you’re talking to the wrong people. And I thought, hmm, yes. And the voice said, the United Nations can’t do anything about this. You need to talk to the people who actually make the decisions on nuclear weapons. And I thought, who are they? And the voice said, you know perfectly well who they are. You work it out. And what I understood was the people who design nuclear weapons, the people who financed nuclear weapons, develop the uranium and plutonium that goes into them. The people who sell the machines and delivery systems for nuclear weapons and the people who do all the secrecy surrounding it. So I got on a plane, came home and started a research group around my kitchen table. Three people, two of my old friends, and we none of us knew anything about nuclear weapons policymaking. But long story short, four years later, we brought out a book called How Nuclear Weapons Decisions Are Made. And it had wiring diagrams for each of the then nuclear weapons nations: UK, France, United States, China and then the Soviet Union. About who talked to who and not only who the positions were, but who the actual people were. It had names in it, and it very quickly got banned by most ministries of defence. But I used to find it on the top shelves of people I went to visit. All very thumbed copies. Because they didn’t know how the system worked.

Manda: Can I ask a brief question? Because this has always intrigued me. You explained this in the book and I thought the fact that you called your little group, the Oxford Research Group, it’s three of you around the kitchen table, but you happen to be in Oxford, but it sounds like it’s part of the university, obviously. So that gives you a huge cachet. This was in the time before the Internet, and you and I are both old enough to remember the time before the Internet. How did you get all that detail? Was it all in the public domain? Because that sounds a bit careless of the people involved.

Scilla: This was in the mid 1980s. There was no Internet at all. It hadn’t even been developed. But I spent a lot of time in libraries scraping out brochures from China that had somehow arrived there. I don’t know how they got there, getting people to translate them, finding out how it happened. Talking to people, asking them, being cheeky and curious. I’ve always been very, very curious. And I like asking questions, just like you do. And then I actually appointed people. God knows how we paid them anything. People who were specialists in those five countries. And they each more or less wrote a full chapter and we got the drawings done and so forth. And and it was fun actually. It doesn’t sound like fun, but the way things came together was extraordinary in a very, I would say, you know, very guided way.

Manda: Right. Yeah. And I have found when the voice in your head or the voice of the Gods or whatever else, gives you that much of a clear text instruction, then assistance comes along. I mean, even if it’s not clear text, once you’ve puzzled out what they’re trying to tell you, assistance comes along. If you follow that flow, help is given. Which is one of the things that gives me great hope that we’re not just going to barrel ourselves over the edge of so many tipping point cliffs, because the help is there. And why would they help us to power into a brick wall? So you’ve got the Oxford Research Group.

Scilla: Yes. And then we started getting in touch with these individuals. And some of them didn’t even answer. But to give him his credit, one very senior British general who I met through a friend, got it and said, I think you need some help and I’ll do what I can. So he came with us. I met a wonderful Chinese official in Geneva at a meeting I was called to and he started to arrange invitations for us to go to China. And this general came with me on one of those adventures. And somehow or another, the Chinese took note of the fact that we were researching the decision making process on nuclear weapons, and we had the most extraordinary experiences in China, that took us almost to the top of the decision making tree there. We could hardly believe it. And that was guided, with no question of doubt. But I’ll tell you one funny story. We were walking up a five yard wide red carpet in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing when we arrived, with my delegation. So I had a general on one side and an admiral on the other and an air vice marshal on the other. And the Chinese officials, very high level, came towards us, walked straight up to the general next to me and said, Dr. Elworthy, I presume?

Manda: Oh, grand.

Scilla: He graciously said, No, it’s this lady on my left.

Manda: Oh, well done.

Scilla: It was a very male environment, very, very male, 98% male. And I had many experiences where I had to get up and ask an awkward question at a big official meeting in Whitehall or wherever. And I was sort of blushing and stammering and I said, No, I’ve got to get up and ask this question, which was a kind of killer question about something I knew that they didn’t know. I knew I had to ask it. And the chairman banged his gavel and said Sit down, madam. Um, things like that. 

Manda: But did they answer the question?

Scilla: I got up and asked the question again, and dead silence fell.

Manda: Can I ask? It sounds as if you’ve got 98% male and these are people who are 100% embedded in what I would consider to be the state. The Extractivist state, but also the militarist state where buying and selling and using these weapons, developing them, at any rate, is what you do. And it’s really deeply embedded in their, I don’t know, phallic inadequacies or whatever is going on at the base, but it’s deep in there. And yet it sounds like the Chinese, the general who first supported you, people along the way get that this is not necessarily a clever thing to be doing and they could wipe everybody out. Did you see evidence of internal conflict in the actual individuals where their position as promoters of militarisation and their personal feelings were beginning to clash and you could somehow create a soft space between those?

Scilla: Yes, You’ve put it beautifully. It didn’t happen often, but it was incredibly special when they allowed it to be seen. I’m very much indebted to the first Professor of peace studies at Bradford University, a wonderful man called Adam Cole. He was a deeply committed Quaker, as I am now. And he came with us to China and he and I went and walked around the parks together in the morning before the sessions began. And it was him who grounded me, if you like, in why this is important and why it’s essential to be still inside when you’re conducting those meetings. To breathe very deeply, to realise that you’re in service. This is not an ego promotion, this is a service as best possible one can carry it out for the future.

Manda: And so in those moments, you clearly have a spiritual practice, you just said you’re a Quaker and you said early on that listening inside was one of the things that you did. Can you talk us a little bit more through the logistics of how you listen inside, what it feels like? And then as a separate ancillary question, whether you feel that you get help in those moments and and how does that feel?

Scilla: Thank you. Lovely question. Well, it’s evolved over time and sometimes I lose the thread, but I try to have a good long period of time of quiet every day. I recently got married and my partner loves to do this, so it’s a great help to have somebody to do it with because he reminds me. But it’s very often in nature walking slowly. And what I do is literally go into my heart, I move my attention from my overactive brain into my heart and see what’s there, really. Ask the heart what it needs and sometimes it’s just quiet and sometimes there’s a very clear sort of instruction that kind of bubbles up from the left wing or somewhere mysterious. And so it’s a gift, always. I’m so deeply grateful for that guidance that I very often just go down on my knees to say thank you because I couldn’t do without it. I couldn’t do any of this without it.

Manda: Yeah. Thank you. I’m aware of the time and also aware that there’s areas that we want to get to that we could also explore quite deeply. So can we move forward a little bit? I would really like to hear from you the experience in Oxford. With the ORG. And then you’ve got actual military people together and as a result of it, as I understand, we got one of the first Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. So can you tell us that story and then we’ll move forward to where your priorities are now?

Scilla: Yes. Yes. Just while I remember, it wasn’t one of the first nuclear proliferation treaties. It was a sort of add on to some that had already been done. But it was  a milestone. These were meetings held in a beautiful old, old building outside Oxford, a Quaker house actually. Very simple, very people had to make their own beds and all that. But we managed to get a number of nuclear weapons policy makers from the nuclear weapons countries, which, as you know, was then five only. It was before India and Pakistan tested. And just before it, this same professor from Bradford, I asked him if he would come and help us with his presence and he said, sure, but what I’d like to do is really just meditate. So he and four others were willing to sit in the library, which was beneath the first floor room where all the delegates (and there were probably 30 delegates). And we sat them in a circle, no desks, no papers, no invite list, no press anywhere near it. Otherwise they wouldn’t have touched it with a bargepole. They didn’t want to be identified? They didn’t want anybody to know they’d been there. And so Adam and his colleagues meditated for two days solid in the library underneath the room where the meeting was taking place.

Scilla: And the next morning, a guy from the US State Department came to me and said, Scilla, this room is very special. And I said, Yes, this is a room that was actually built in 1308, it’s wonderful. And he said, No, no, there’s something extremely unusual about it. And I said, Well, it’s been used for meetings and yoga classes and all kinds of things have gone on in this wonderful room. And he said, No, there’s something coming through the floorboards. And I said, Well, yes, that’s very perspicacious of you. Do you want to know what it is? And he said, Yes. And I told him and he went white. And I said, Well, if you don’t believe me, talk to those older people who serve you your lunch; it’s them meditating all the time. And he looked as though I was completely off my rocker. But he came back after lunch and he just went, I’m saluting now from my head, he just bent his head and saluted and said, Got it. And so we knew and I think in some way the people there knew. Because one of the things we insisted on was that they listened to each other, instead of contradicting each other or one upping each other.

Manda: And that would not be part of their usual experience, I’m thinking.

Scilla: No, I think it was quite weird for them, but because it was supportive and we enthused it all with a wonderful woman singer and even some dancing at some point, I think. 

Manda: Hang on. You had the delegates dancing? Or someone was dancing for them?

Scilla: We danced with them, I think. And it was introducing the human into what was normally terribly formal meetings. And I remember once I was chairing a meeting in Saint Anthony’s College in Oxford, and it was very formal and we had a delegation of Chinese policy makers and American and British. And so I had these two delegations sitting on either side of me in a big auditorium full of people. And it was getting quite heated. And the British were disagreeing with the Americans and the Chinese. And so at a certain point, I said, Gentlemen, could we just take a moment here? Because what you’re saying is very important, but I think we’re not really digesting it, possibly. So what we’ll do now is we will have three minutes complete silence. And to my great surprise, that’s what happened. And when I opened the meeting again, it was completely different. All the energy in the room had changed and people were actually able to listen to one another.

Manda: Well done. Goodness, there would be a lot to unpick in all of that. But I would like to move us forward to what is your priority now? Because way back a while ago when you were in your 30s, nuclear proliferation seemed like the existential threat of our times and it’s still an existential threat of our times. But we have the climate apocalypse, we have biodiversity collapse. We have the potential for AGI to basically go rogue, plus a whole bunch of other things that could happen. And so it’s one amongst many potential apocalypses. What is snagging your attention most at the moment and where are you putting your energy?

Scilla: I wrote a book called The Mighty Heart because just before the pandemic struck, I had a feeling that something was coming towards the human race that was going to be very challenging, and we would need all our skills, our interpersonal skills to deal with it, to deal with fear and illness. And I didn’t know what it was, but I just sat down and wrote for two weeks at the beginning of January 2020, and it came out as a little booklet called The Mighty Heart, and that very quickly became an online course. And then another book called The Mighty Heart in Action. Now it has focussed those who’ve done the course on their hearts and the power of the heart, which they possibly hadn’t felt before and have now found incredibly useful in dealing with grief and loss and loneliness and illness and so forth. So the reason that this is important to me now is the advent of artificial intelligence, and it has scared a lot of people very much, the advent of these technologies. And there’s an enormous amount being stirred up in people’s consciousness about AI. But to me, it suddenly dawned on me with help from all sorts of places, why we’re on the edge of a possibility of massive transformation of the human race. Namely, that AI can do everything or pretty much everything that the human brain can do. Seemingly, as far as I know.

Manda: It can do a lot of computation. It can’t necessarily do the what we would call the cognition, I would suggest. But anyway, let’s explore this. Go on.

Scilla: Yes, I’m well up for that. And as far as I know, it uses the skills of the left brain, whereas the right brain, in my experience, can look downwards to the whole picture and get a sense of what’s really going on. And the heart and the right brain, I think are interlocking, work together. And so heart intelligence, which is the main skill that we teach in our courses, is heart intelligence and how to how to develop that in yourself. So that will I hope and feel, become the balancer and I’m moving my hands up and down here. My left hand is way up in the air with the palm facing upwards. And that’s AI, if you like. And my right hand is what has been the right brain intelligence or what we might call heart intelligence. And I believe that the time we’re living through is the opportunity for the right brain, for heart intelligence to move where it should be, which is in balance with the left brain, because many of us have lost contact with our intuition, with our dreams, with our inner knowledge. All those vitally important skills for today and possibly for the survival of the human race.

Manda: Brilliant. So let’s unpick this because this feels really exciting and it feels exactly where I am in my thinking. I spent quite a lot of the weekend not only reading your book, The Mighty Heart in Action, but also listening to Zak Stein, who’s an educational philosopher, in conversation with Iain Mcgilchrist, about exactly this. And prior to that, I listened to a lady called Jill Nephew, who I think you would enjoy what she’s saying a lot. Because she talks a lot about the difference between left brain and right brain, between the capacity to compute data very fast, which is what AI can do, versus the capacity to engage with the web of life. I’m paraphrasing and putting it into my language, but that’s for me, what the right brain. The right brain is the part that can connect to the greater wonder of the world, which is massively more than the tiny bit that our left brain lets us see. But we have incultured ourselves, in a culture that lords the left brain. So here’s my question: If AI is raising the left brain up, we’re in pretty much the singularity of that curve. We don’t know how high the left brain aspect is going to go once AI begins to drive it, but it’s pretty much infinitely up. In order to balance that, we have to connect to the infinite right brain, I would suggest, of whatever we call the web of life.

Manda: My experience is that that takes time, that it takes a capacity to go inside, as you’ve described. And a willingness and a desire. In fact, a sense of my own experiences and that of my students is that once you begin to experience that, it becomes the driving imperative of your life. What I’m finding, and you may not be, I may just be teaching it wrong, is that our current world, we exist in a place where the harvesting of attention has become the leading edge of the capital growth system. So attention farming is the area of growth. That attention farming requires a lot of dopamine hits, let’s say, and dopamine and serotonin exist on either end of a seesaw. If your dopamine requirements is up, your serotonin requirement is down. Once your serotonin requirement goes up, your dopamine requirement goes down. But most people are addicted to their screens and dopamine harvesting is happening. How do you envisage us moving to a more serotonin mesh connected with the web of life way, at the scale that would bring us to a tipping point? Because if you can do this, Scilla, I have spent four years in this podcast asking people this question and everybody starts, they say the word community and then it all gets very fluffy very quickly and precision would be nice. Over to you.

Scilla: Ah. I Wish we could do something simple here. But I believe that as people learn the steps to really access their heart intelligence and they need to learn that and without wishing to advertise the course that we’ve developed…

Manda: Feel free to advertise.

Scilla: It’s ten modules, takes ten weeks to absorb it, two hours a week. And each module takes you from learning to really listen to another person, which is a way of dropping into your heart, for a start. Right through all the questions that arise and trouble us. Like, for example, being able to drop into your presence when you need it. Because being present when we’re, for example, facing some violence in the family, or a knife fight in the street or whatever, if we can drop into presence straight away, it means we’re already, if you like, on top of our fearfulness. Where the heart has taken over and we can be able to be present for what other people need in that situation, not what we’re terrified of. So that’s one of the modules. But there are other ways of, for example, turning anger into a fuel for transformation. When we spray out our anger at another person, we do sometimes irreparable damage. When we contain the anger inside the heart where it can well take care of it, it becomes a fuel for getting up tomorrow morning and carrying on with the good work. In other words, it’s a fuel for transformation. Anger drives us. And so the way we start the entire course is with the question, what breaks your heart? Because if we can get beyond the pain of what originally broke our hearts, the energy behind there for change is huge.

Scilla: And that’s what the whole course unleashes really, is our energy for change. We deal with things like our inner critic. One of the modules helps us deal with the inner critic, which has always plagued me. At 2 or 3:00 in the morning, it wakes me up and says, Why on earth did you do that? Or what a mess you made. And I’ve had to learn painfully to, in the middle of the night, get up, put out two cushions, one here, one there. And I sit on the first one and I say to the inner critic, Why did you wake me up at 3:00 in the morning? And then I moved to its cushion and I answer in its voice, which is not my voice, but I speak it and it says, Well, because you just made such a mess today, I mean, how could you have done that? And I go back to my cushion and I say. That’s not very helpful. Please tell me what I need to know that you know that I don’t know. And then it will begin to answer. And in the end, if I persist with this weird exercise, it will tell me what I need to know.

Manda: Wow. And your partner is, meanwhile, sleeping through this. I’m trying to envisage doing this.

Scilla: I’m trained now. I go into the bathroom and do it. Okay.

Manda: Go into a separate room. That’s very wise. Right. Beautiful. So we have the concept of finding what breaks our heart. For me, there’s always pain underlying rage. My very first teacher in all the world taught me there’s fear and there’s love, and everything else arises from those. And I’m guessing under the rage is fear and that’s heartbreaking. And we use those as fuel for transformation.

Scilla: That’s right. One of our teachers is expert in NVC non-violent communication, which I’m sure you know. And we also use heartmath, their methods of transmitting the energy of the heart. And so we’ve got ten expert teachers on this course. So it’s not just me talking all the time.

Manda: Sounds glorious. When is the next one starting and how do people find it?

Scilla: It’s starting in September, the next one. And you can Google the mighty heart. You’ll find it there if you Google the mighty heart. Or you can Google the business plan for peace.

Manda: Okay, I will put links in the show notes for people so they can just click on the link. But yeah, the business Plan for Peace or the Mighty Heart will get them to the course. Excellent. And it’s two hours a week for ten weeks. Anyone should be able to commit to that, I hope. So it seems to me there’s always a theory of change and most of the theories of change involve tipping points, and it has always seemed to me that the tipping points for increasing the franchise of the system say, you know, allowing people who are not white to vote or allowing people who are not male to vote, has required a certain tipping point. But you were never saying we need fundamentally to change the system. You were just saying we’re going to spread the spoils of the system a little further. So the tipping point I always feel, is going to be much bigger than this, because now I believe the mighty heart in action is saying we need a whole new system. We need not to tell everyone that they are born to pay bills and then die. And he who pays the biggest bills wins, which is essentially the system we’ve got. And that this system must grow regardless of the damage to people and planet. Have you a sense of, first of all, the mighty heart rippling out? And second, of what a tipping point might involve and how it might look when we get there?

Scilla: Oh, I do love the way you phrase these things. And I also love your insights. I think they’re incredibly valuable. If I’m honest, I don’t know what a tipping point would look like. I don’t quite think in terms of tipping points. But I do know that this shift from the left brain to the right brain and to the heart happens very fast once people get it. I can give you one example. It’s small compared to the planet that you’re talking about. But we introduced this course to a big retail group called H&M, who’ve got branches all over the planet. And it caught on with one particular person and she just was alight with it and spread it all through her teams and they picked it up. And it has now gone from boardroom to shop floor in H&M. To the extent that the final module, which is called ‘you are in service to the planet’ has, I can just give you the example, which is that shop assistants in their stores in southern Germany are receiving a lot of Ukrainian refugees, who come in and say ‘We want to be useful. We’ve got a roof over our heads now, but we want to be useful’. So they devised this scheme where they sent off to the factories, the warehouses and said, send us material, strong material. And the refugees made shopping bags out of them. Big, beautiful shopping bags. And people bought them for €5 when they bought a dress. The people who were the customers got the hang of the fact that this was helping refugees. So they brought the shopping bags back for the shop to resell them. Now all the money goes to the refugees and they feel useful. So that is the heart action going through a whole company right down to the shop floor and the whole company is excited by it. So that’s a comparatively small example compared to your planet, but it’s the best I can do at the moment without being presumptuous.

Manda: That’s an interesting point. Do you feel that it’s presumptuous to look ahead to tipping points or to assume certain kinds of change?

Scilla: You do ask good questions, you really do. No I don’t think it’s presumptuous. I rather love it when people do it, but I like to, if possible, base my forward looking on what I know works. And that’s only me and my small brain knowing what works.

Manda: Oh Scilla, that’s not a small brain. Let’s take a step back. You’ve done a lot of extraordinary things and they’ve worked.

Scilla: Well, hunches and intuitions and unexpected happenings, as you know so very well, are what I believe when we are able to listen to them, will change the entire human race and its treatment of the planet. And nature is talking to us all the time, by what she is taking away from us, quite rightly, what we are destroying. But we, I feel, the most extraordinary people are becoming receptive to what they would have called mumbo jumbo or idiotic thoughts before. So I notice that as a big change and I notice that it goes down easier, it’s more acceptable now to talk about sixth senses, to talk about intuition, to talk about all the aspects of human capacity that you and I have been discussing.

Manda: Yes, absolutely. Again, I’m aware of the time. So I have two questions. One is quite clean and short and one is is much more expansive. We’ll start with the clean and short, which is very early on, when you were talking about some of the meetings that you convened, you said the press was absolutely nowhere there or the people involved would not have come. And it seems to me that in the world that we’re in just now, a group of us hold the intention once a week for ‘all the world’s media are wholeheartedly in support of the peaceful transition to a regenerative future’. And we’re not defining what the world’s media are. I looked at the Telegraph the other day and not the paper, what’s happening around it and thought maybe the telegraph will just cease to exist. That would be fine because it seems that there’s a kind of triad of political power, conversational media power and business power that maintains the old structures. Are you finding within the media, you must have lots of contacts now within the media, again, that that these are some of the extraordinary people who are more open to change? And if so, have you any instinct of how we could help those people promote change within their organisations?

Scilla: It’s a really, really good question. I don’t have so much contact with the media as I used to because I’ve had my head down writing and organising and getting The Mighty Heart off the ground and I just haven’t had time. But now I’ve got the whole of August free to write and think, particularly about AI and HI, which is heart intelligence. I do believe that now is the right time to sort of go more public with these thoughts and these intentions. But I don’t have a sense. I mean, parts of the media obviously are alert to it. But I don’t, with great exceptions, like the ones we all know, I don’t think the world’s media is going in that direction at the moment.

Manda: We just need to get the heads of all of it to come on the mighty heart. That would be grand. Donnacha McCarthy, who’s a big activist in this area, reckons there are 60 people, 59 old white men and one old white woman who basically control the mass of the world’s media. And actually 60 people is not many. You know, it’s twice the number that you had in some of your small, tight conventions. If we could get all of those people and introduce them to the mighty heart in action, the world might change overnight. You never know.

Scilla: Yes, absolutely. Manda, I’m right with you there and very open to it. In fact, I’m going to have more time available and one of my intentions is to do a little research and find out which of the major corporations in the world have lost the most money as a result of the Ukraine war. Lots of corporations have made a lot of money, but those who have lost money, and go to them and say, look, you’ve lost 70 million, 70 billion as a result of the Ukraine war. Wouldn’t it make more sense if you were to invest a very small fraction of that in the organisations that actually know how to prevent war? And give them a list of those that work in the areas that they work. So I mean, that’s something. It’s a shifting of some of the power of money which can enable people to prevent war that would be very useful. But I will dwell on your question because it’s, like all the questions you ask, it’s a really good question. How to engage the world’s media in a way that won’t make them just shrug and say, I couldn’t be involved with that mumbo jumbo.

Manda: Yes, they would have to want to. And that’s a separate issue. Final question, because we’re very near the end. If you were to imagine forward to the end of the decade and the concepts of the Mighty Heart had spread widely and we bring our extraordinary left brain capacity and our amazing right brain capacity back into balance. Have you any heart sense of how the world feels and then looks at that point?

Scilla: Well, first of all, and it’s already happening so there’s lots of encouragement. Billions and billions of women will move into what you might call decision making positions. It’s already happening. And it’s actually caught fire from a very low base, very fast, considering the centuries behind us where women have had no voice whatsoever. So the world will be governed or steered or influenced by more people, whether they’re male or female, who have their right brain in action. Who have their compassion, their ability to feel into other people’s situations, and they will be bringing that to the fore. So that feels like it’s happening really pretty fast now. Not quite fast enough, but fast.

Manda: Brilliant. How does the world feel when everyone is right brained? I think that’s an interesting question.

Scilla: As our children are in the area where I live, conditioned to think that chemicals in the environment is disastrous and they will have stopped doing that. And the children will be telling their elders, you cannot use that material to clean the house. You cannot put that pesticide on your garden. And they’ll go to the farmers and say, stop spraying and so forth, because children are very, very powerful in this. So I can see the force of right brain intelligence as personified particularly in kids, becoming a force for change in the way we treat our environment. I would love it if we could convene some of these hugely powerful people who love spending money on missiles and

Manda: Rockets to the moon.

Scilla: Exactly. Interfering with space on our behalf. And ask them to look inside and go inside and go, because some of them have and some of them do.

Manda: Yes. That’s a whole other rabbit hole, perhaps we don’t go down. I listened to Jill Nephew recently, saying most of these guys, they meditate, they’ve done ayahuasca or psilocybin, and they’re still doing exactly that. So there’s something broken in the process there. I think if you can work with a really powerful teacher plant and still go back to work and create stuff that has the capacity to wipe everything out, there’s a mismatch. And you know, mending that mismatch I think is one of the really core things we could do.

Scilla: I agree. Absolutely agree. I’ve seen it happening in groups where people are consulting with great medicines. And I have seen exactly, as you say, very intelligent people go off and keep doing the same thing they were doing before.

Manda: Yeah, but you’re in the process of mending things. Thank you. All righty. I think we’ve run out of time, but was there anything else that you wanted to say? I will put links in the show notes to your course. It sounds fantastic. I am definitely going to sign up if I possibly can. Anything else that you’d like to say to people listening?

Scilla: Can I just go inside for a minute or two and I’ll come back?

Manda: Sure. Please do. Yes.

Scilla: What popped up was on the train to London yesterday, I was dwelling on the capacities of the heart intelligence and what all those different capacities can do. And I got to about 13. And I’d be happy to send them to you if there’s any way you can make use of them. Because we often think that, um, intuition and right brain intelligence and so forth are quite sort of nice to have, but not very powerful. 

Manda: Optional extras.

Scilla: And I’m really interested in what those capacities can bring about in terms of change. So it’s really the capacities of the qualities of the heart to bring about change that I’m interested in now.

Manda: Beautiful. That feels like a whole other podcast. Maybe when you’ve got them all sorted out, we could next spring sometime, we could do that. But in the meantime, thank you. Yes, if you send them, I’ll put them in the show notes. People listening, they will be in the show notes. Just click through and have a look. Fantastic. Thank you.

Scilla: Thank you. I’ve really enjoyed this and I just want to compliment you the way you work things out, the way you think and the way you communicate. It’s beautiful, it’s succinct, it’s clear, and it’s no woo woo. And it’s so helpful to a person like me.

Manda: Thank you. Thank you. I’m deeply honoured. You are one of my greatest heroes, so that really touches my heart space. Thank you.

Scilla: Well, it’s been a pleasure to be in contact with you, and we’ll do whatever you want to do in future.

Manda: Super. Thank you so much.

Scilla: Okay.

Manda: Well, there we go. That’s it for another week. Enormous thanks to Scilla for all that she is and does for her capacity to go deep inside to connect to what really matters and then to be a role model for the rest of us of what that connection looks and feels like. I am sincerely hoping that the quality of her stillness and her clarity of thought came across in the recording because it was really striking as we spoke. And I totally encourage you to go to her website, to read her books, to watch her Ted talks, to get more of that sense of what it feels like when our heart intelligence rises to meet the level of our left brain intelligence, to give us the balance that we’re going to need to go through. All the links are in the show notes, so follow them up. And this is also the time to ask, if you like this podcast, please head over to the app of your choice and give us five stars and a review. I always forget to ask this, but it does genuinely get us higher up on the algorithms. And much as I loathe algorithms, this is the world that we’re in. So if you’re looking for something to do, first thing is to go and look at Scilla’s sites and the next thing is to head over to whatever app you’re on and press the start button and tell us what you think.

Manda: And while we’re here plugging things, if you want to connect to the web of life so that you can ask of it, what do you want of me? And hear the answers in real time, The Accidental Gods membership is exactly what this is for. And I will put the link to that in the show notes also. So that is it for this week.

Manda: We will be back next week with another conversation. In the meantime, enormous thanks to Caro C for the music at the head and foot and for the sound production. Huge thanks to Faith Tilleray for all that she is and does. For sorting out the website, for creating the YouTube and for the conversations that keep us moving forward. Thanks to Anne Thomas and Gill Coombs for the transcripts. And as always, an enormous thanks to you for listening. If you know of anybody else who wants to be able to settle into their heart mind, who wants to bring their heart intelligence up to the level of their left brain intelligence. Who wants to be part of the living web that we need to weave to get us through. Then please do send them this link. And that’s it for now. See you next week. Thank you and goodbye.

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