A Lifetime Of Blessing: Pierre Pradervand
Posted by Kozo Hattori on Jan 19, 2016
On the last Awakin Call with Pierre Pradervand, we were able to glimpse just how deep Pierre’s life-long dedication to blessing goes.
Serving the World, Not the Self
Early on in Pierre’s life, he had a sense of service and what his role on this planet was. Growing up in England during World War II, Pierre received the blessings of love and compassion for others from his grandmother. After he finished college in Switzerland, he spent an entire year working in the slums of Marseille.
When the U.N. offered him a lifetime contract with a salary twice the Geneva average, two months vacation per year, access to special U.N. shops, and no taxes, Pierre said no! “I saw that I had become a good little bourgeois with a nice little wife, a nice little house, two nice little children, and a car. And I would fall asleep at the beginning of my life. That is not what I came on this planet for.”
So he packed up his bags and left for Algeria, which had just undergone a revolution, without a contract. In total, he spent 11 years in Africa working for NGOs, working with the American Foreign Service Committee, and starting a grassroots educational magazine that became the best selling international magazine in the whole of French speaking Africa,
From NGOs to Blessings
After spending decades working to make tangible external changes in the world, Pierre had an experience that shifted his focus from external change to internal consciousness, for as Pierre asserts, “the most important thing in the whole planet today is raising world consciousness. That is the thing that is going to transform the planet very, very deeply. All is consciousness. Everything starts with a new awareness.”
Pierre was working for an NGO in French/Swiss school system in Switzerland after he returned from Africa. With no money in the budget, Pradervand invested the equivalent of $25,000 of his own money to organize a roving exhibit on world hunger “because it was and still is one of the main social issues in the world.” The exhibit called “Ending Hunger Today” was a great success.
At the same time, he joined The Hunger Project which started in the United States’s world campaign to end hunger. A slogan of the campaign was “end hunger by the year 2000,” which would have been possible in the early 80s if there had been a political will.
Pierre’s employers were a bit leftist and didn’t like anything that came from the States. Moreover, one of the directors of the organization hated Pierre and wanted to get rid of him. First, Pradervand was forbidden to speak of The Hunger Project in his work with schools, which he abided by. Then he was told point blank that either he stop saying that we can end hunger by the year 2000 in schools or he quit.
“I was just flabbergasted--dumbfounded. Here an organization trying to end hunger telling me to stope using a very powerful slogan. So I quit my job. I didn't want to commit a moral harakiri. But I developed the most huge incredible resentment. And it was eating me up night and day. It became what psychologist call an obsession.”
Then one day reading the Sermon on the Mount with Jesus stating “bless those who curse you,” Pradervand had a moment of clarity: “Of course, it was so clear. Of course that was the solution. And there and then, I started blessing them. Blessing them in their health, in their joy, in their family life, in their finances, in every conceivable way.”
A few months later, when these blessings spread to people in the street, the supermarket, and the post office, his life was filled with joy. “I would travel the whole length of the trains to be sure to bless every person on the train. It was such fun.”
Pierre spent three years constantly blessing the man at the NGO who forced his resignation to heal himself of his resentment. Ten years later, he met this man whom he had once considered his enemy and persecutor in a city near Geneva. Pierre describes this experience in ecstatic terms: “I had inside me one of the greatest explosions of joy in my existence. I gave him a huge hug. And we ate together, and for three days my heart was singing, singing, singing.”
Spreading Blessings Around the World
One day while preparing for a talk for an international youth meeting on the theme of “Healing the World,” Pierre suddenly wrote out a one page manifesto that later became the text of “The Gentle Art of Blessing.”
This simple one page document was transformed into a youtube video that has gotten nearly 200,000 views. The depth of wisdom in this powerful document can be glimpsed in every line. Here are a few examples:
"On awakening, bless this day. For it is already full of unseen good, which your blessings will call forth. For to bless is to acknowledge the unlimited good that is embedded in the very texture of the Universe and awaiting each and all."
"On passing people in the street, on the bus, in places of work and play, bless them. The peace of your blessing will accompany them on their way and the aura of its gentle fragrance will be a light to their path."
"To bless means to wish unconditionally, total, unrestricted good for others and events from the deepest well-spring in the inner most chamber of your heart. It means to hallow, to hold in reverence, to behold with utter awe that which is always a gift from the creator. He who is hallowed by your blessing is set aside, consecrated, holy and whole."
"To bless is to invoke Divine care upon, to think or speak gratefully for, to confer happiness upon, although we ourselves are never the bestower, but simply the joyful witnesses of life's abundance."
“Trials are Blessings in Disguise”
One of the most challenging and surprising edicts in “The Gentle Art of Blessing” has to do with misfortune: “When something goes completely askew in your day, some unexpected event knocks down your plans and you too also, burst into blessing: for life is teaching you a lesson, and the very event you believe to be unwanted, you yourself called forth, so as to learn the lesson you might balk against were you not to bless it. Trials are blessings in disguise, and hosts of angels follow in their path.”
Coming from someone who has never experienced true hardship, this insight would ring hollow, but Pierre speaks with the compassion and empathy of one who has been through a “dark night of the soul.”
A few years back, Pierre “was at the rock bottom of a dark valley for almost three years.” His fantastic marriage of 26 years just fell through; he had the greatest health challenge of his life; because his energy had dropped so low, his workshops just crumbled; hence, his income shriveled up; and finally, his spiritual path of 40 year just “blew into smithereens.” Things were so dark in his life that for two years he could not even bless.
Yet this dark night of the soul lead Pierre to an uncompromising will to forgive: “at the bottom of the pit, I first had to not judge myself and then forgive myself. It took a long time. But today I can really say, I am grateful for having been through this incredible trial.”
Pradervand continues to practice unconditional forgiveness which allows him to bless some of the most difficult others in existence: “I can say that I even know that it is true that President Assad of Syria, behind the tormented terrible mask of someone destroying their own country is an innocent child of Divine Love.”
For as Pierre makes clear, it is impossible to judge and bless at the same time: “They exclude each other absolutely and totally. So if somebody has problems constantly judging others, you just start blessing. Dear friend, try blessing.”
"Just Start Blessing"
It is as simple as that “just start blessing,” because “blessing will cover your heart with honey and the heart of all those you bless.”
Staying true to his word, Pierre ended the call by blessing everyone who was listening: “From the very bottom of my whole heart, may you be enfolded in grace. May you treasure the infinite goodness that is the essence of who you are. May the light of your divinity shine not only for those around you, but for who you are. And may your heart be covered with honey. Goodbye, precious listener friends all around the world. I love you. I send you all the very, very best, and I will keep you in thought and in blessing. Goodbye.”