Lewis Griggs

Lewis Griggs – A Biography


Lewis Griggs

Lewis Griggs



I grew up in a family that was very wealthy and privileged.  My parents were both descended from the Mayflower pilgrims, and from the founders of several large corporations.  In politics, my ancestors had literally co-created the states of Minnesota and Washington, and my maternal grandfather was the author of President Truman’s Marshall Plan.  My family was close friends with corporate founders, CEOs, and politicians such as President George Bush and Governor Bill Scranton.  After I graduated with a BA in Political Science from Amherst College in 1970, I worked for President Nixon and other Republican politicians.  Thus, I was imbued with the knowledge that as an (deleted space) Episcopalian and Republican WASP, I was a member of the elite.

Although as a child I learned in my family that we are all one under God,” I also got the very clear message that here on Earth in the USA “We are the chosen ones.”  As part of the Calvinist heritage that imbued (word was just used. Maybe “pervaded”?) the Puritans (deleted space) that settled in America, I was brought up to believe that my wealth, class, race, culture, intellect, education, looks, etc. were a sure sign of Grace from God.  However, it was incumbent upon me as a privileged leader in society to have the policy of “noblesse oblige.”

After my work with Republican politicians, I worked in the corporate world and then in public television in Boston and San Francisco.  I fell in love, and came to San Francisco to be with her.

On March 11, 1977, I was in a car accident.  In Berkeley, at the intersection where University Avenue goes over the highway, a truck did not stop at the sign and my car crashed into it.  My head hit the windshield, and I felt a sharp pain in my head and shoulder.

Suddenly I realized that I had left my body and went swirling up into a white tunnel that was like the swirling white tornado in the movie Ghosts.  I realized that I was dead.  It felt very peaceful.  There was total acceptance – no anxiety or even curiosity.  My one regret was that I had no way to let my girlfriend and family know that everything was okay.  I wished I could let them know that despite their natural sadness because they had lost a loved one, they should let go of my Spirit and trust that it was now in pure Peace.

I was moving very fast and upwards in the tunnel of white light, and then – suddenly – I stopped moving.  Everything was now very still and I was surrounded by a White Light.  This White Light radiated energy, love, peace, and grace were all around me and permeating me.  There were almost no boundaries: it was as if I had individuality and was merged with the light at the same time.

Then I heard a Voice which I can only describe as male, deep, and profound.  I believed at that moment that I was hearing the voice of God.

I remember clearly that the Voice said, “Lewis, you are called here to have this conversation and to be sent back because you are not doing your work.”

My response was, “Okay, I surrender, take me, I’m yours, I will do your work.”

The Voice said, “No, Lewis, it is not my work you have been called to do, it is your work.”

I responded, “Well, what is my work?”

The Voice said, “What is it Lewis that keeps you from being all that you are capable of being?”

I felt confused, because everything in my life had seemed okay, although I had sometimes wondered if I was doing what I was “supposed” to be doing.  So I searched deep within myself, and said,

“Well, it must have something to do with my having been told that we are all one under God, but that here on earth I was more privileged than others.  I could never figure out how to bridge that gap between myself and anyone else from a different background.”

Then the Voice said, “There it is Lewis – there’s your work.”

Immediately after that I found myself swirling back down the white tunnel into my body.  I remember fitting myself back into my body like putting on tight rubber gloves.  Then the White tunnel went back up and left me there.

There I was, back in my body in a totaled automobile, with the ambulance having just arrived.  My body was fine!  I laughed and thought, “My life is now supposed to change, but I was not told how that would happen or what I was supposed to do.”

But my entire life changed.

For one thing, I began to notice that I looked at people differently.  I began to look past the superficial differences such as education, race, culture, and so on, and saw the essence, the soul in people.  I saw that our souls were connected and that we were all part of the One.  I did not ignore the uniqueness, but I was no longer judgmental.  The differences were gifts to one another rather than boundaries.

I also began to notice some doors opening and others closing as if guiding me on a path.

I had the idea that I should go to Stanford Business School, although I did not know why.  There I met and married a woman who was the daughter of a CIA agent, and she had grown up in Europe and the Middle East.  Hence, she was multi-lingual and multi-cultural, and she taught me to appreciate other cultures.

After I got my MBA from Stanford, I raised venture capital for corporations for two years and met several foreign executives.  In the process, I discovered that my heritage of ethnocentrism was a barrier to mutual understanding and business.  For the first time, I recognized the necessity for understanding other cultures.

With my wife’s assistance, we started a series of training courses for business organizations on cross-cultural consciousness.  I was one of the first trainers in the new field of diversity training, and the first to use videos, workshops, and national conferences for executives.

However, through it all, despite my increase conscious awareness and my decrease in ethnocentrism, I still presented my training with the same ego and personality that worked for some but seemed to block the experience my authenticity for others.  So the Universe gave me new learning.

On 15 June 1997, I went white water rafting with my two teenage kids.  A tree fell down on the raft and my son and I were hit.  Both of us were in a coma and close to death.  My son recovered in 2 days, but I was in a coma for 8 days.  During this time, I was trapped inside my body with no awareness and with severe brain injury.  The doctors did not expect me to live through the first night.  When I came out of the coma, I did not remember who anyone in my family was, and I could not read, write, walk or talk.  It is as if my soul was trapped inside a body and a mind that were no longer functioning, and yet I discovered my essential core self while I was trapped within myself as if in the center of a tornado where even a feather doesn’t move.

In the three years of daily hospital assistance with slow recovery, I discovered that I am not just the more extroverted personality or ego that I identified as my successful self before the accident.  What I learned is that what I am goes far beyond the ego, mind or body.  We all have individual personalities and gifts that make us unique.  However, the essential core of all of us is the individual Soul that is an aspect of the One.  My Purpose now on earth is to let people know that we are all One and unique, beautiful individuals at the same time.


See lewis’ web site: www.Griggs.com.