About Bloggin With Rich

I was born in London in 1955 and have lived a very topsy turvey life. I left school at 15 with no qualifications, and had I not left voluntarily, I would have been asked to leave. I always felt that I didn't fit in anywhere, and as a result, by the time I reached the age of 17 I'd had 24 jobs. I joined the army in 1976 hoping that it would give me a purpose in life but instead I became even more disillusioned and turned to alcohol. I hated the army because I found it to be such a hypocritical organisation and as soon as I was eligible to do so, I bought myself out. Whilst in the military however, I did enjoy my experiences in Germany and in 1980 went back there to work, staying for six years. My heavy drinking continued during my time in Germany and by the time I returned to the UK in 1986 I was heading down into a deep depression. I managed to haul myself out of it in the mid-to-late 1990's but my life hit an all time low in 2000. In early 2001 I found my spiritual pathway and started to turn my life around. I now live in Gloucestershire in the UK and I'm a successful medium and healer. I'm also the author of ten spiritual publications and have produced five meditation and three chanting CDs. I'm a workshop facilitator in various spiritual topics and I also give profound interpretations of dreams. There are plans in 2014 for another book, provisionally entitled "An Idiots Guide To Spiritual Law" and a series of audio books in CD form. Connect with me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorrichardfholmes

Who Am I? Part Twenty Two


You may recall that I shared with you the story surrounding the book, “Discover Your Psychic Powers”, by Tara Ward? Well, what I didn’t say was that when I went to buy it, another book jumped out at me, “Psychic Surgeon”, by Grant Soloman. In fact, this book jumped out at me before I even clapped eyes on the Tara Ward book, so I ended up buying both of them. Hold that thought because I’ll be returning to this in the next post…

Sitting in the development circle run by John Geis was the best thing that happened to me since I found Wood Green Karate Club back in 1974.I became disciplined in daily meditation and I seemed to be going in the right direction. I was now back at work too and I’d moved out of the flat in Gorse Hill. All-in-all life had got much better; there was still the little matter of my drinking but I will also be coming to that in the next post. John’s group sat in the living room, while his wife Sue’s group sat in the healing room. Afterwards the two groups would gather in the healing room and chat over tea and biscuits. The healing room was a wonderful room; it had such a beautiful energy that it was impossible not to feel at peace when you were in there. Around the walls there were various paintings and pictures of holy men and spirit guides etc. We had Christ, the Dalai Lama and also a small picture of an Indian man with hair like Jimi Hendrix. He had one or both of his arms (I can’t remember exactly) raised as if in blessing. I noticed the picture but didn’t pay too much attention to it; I suppose mainly because I didn’t have a clue who it was and I wasn’t inspired to ask about the man’s identity.

many months later, Sue’s group had undergone some changes and she had a new set of people sitting with her. One of these people was a man called John. One night, before group started, myself, John Geis and the other John were standing chatting in the healing room. Somehow, the conversation got around to the Indian man with fuzzy hair in the picture. I said casually, “who’s that, one of them guru blokes”. John Geis looked at me in disgust and said, “that’s God”! I didn’t understand what he meant and I didn’t realise it at the time, but in that moment, Sri Sathya Sai Baba introduced himself to me and it was the start of a great love affair. It was always impossible to describe with words just who or what Baba actually was; he always used to say, “You can never comprehend who I am, so don’t try”. He has been described as a holy man, a saint, God in human form, an Avatar* and much, much more. But for me, the simplest explanation, and what I truly believe in accordance with my actual experiences of Baba, is that he was a ray of light direct from source, in its absolute purest form, that took human birth in a physical body.

The difference between Baba and Christ, for example, is that Baba was a full Avatar, which means that he took birth with all the powers that he displayed (and many more that he didn’t display), and he was performing miracles at the age of three. Whereas Christ, although a highly evolved soul, had to go through an awakening process to realise the truth of his being. I’m not going to go too deeply into all my experiences with Baba, or Swami as I called him, because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, and I’ve already written so much about him in several of my books. Instead, I’m just going to give a bit of an outline and let the reader carry out further research as they wish.

Sai Baba was born in Puttaparthi, a remote village in southern India, on November 23, 1926, and given the family name of Satya Narayana Raju. From a very young age he was materialising books and pencils for his playmates out of thin air, quoting ancient scriptures word for word and composing wonderful music and poetry. He was beaten and even subjected to torture by his family who thought he was possessed by evil spirits. But at the age of 14, after many, many miracles and being hailed as guru by the villagers, Satya Narayana announced his Divinity and his mission for mankind, and was henceforth known as Sai Baba. As word of this incredible God-Man spread, Puttaparthi started to attract visitors from all over India and eventually the whole world. An ashram was built, which after a while simply couldn’t cope with the throngs of visitors from the four corners of the globe. The ashram, known as Prashanthi Nilayam (Abode of The Highest Peace) eventually expanded into a township in its own right, with shops, a post office, a bank, a police station and various other outlets. The darshan* hall alone holds 20,000 people, and every year millions of people pass through Prashanthi hoping for healing and guidance.

I was fortunate enough to visit Prashanthi on two occasions. However, by the time Baba gave me the inner call in 2009, and again in 2010, the ashram was just so busy, that especially during festival times, it made Vatican Square on new Pope day look like an empty room. As you would expect, there was also an element of negative press associated with swami; indeed some horrendous things were written about him over the years that were very upsetting for devotees. But swami just ignored all the negative stuff and quietly went about his mission. The negative press generally came from people who either had no experience of Baba, or who had experience of him but became bitter when he did not give them his undivided attention. The closest I ever managed to get to him was about 4-5 feet. By this time his physical form was very frail and he was in a wheelchair. However, I’ve written this about him so many times in the past and I’m going to write it again. He was an incredibly beautiful being. It was obvious to me that he was not of this world; he had a really dead-pan look on his face, but when he smiled it made your heart melt. He radiated pure love and I am eternally grateful that the Avatar took me under his wing.

For me his two greatest miracles are his fresh drinking water project and his series of Super Speciality Hospitals. Swami’s fresh drinking water project, which is ongoing, started in 1994 and its aim was to supply remote villages in India with potable water. It was the largest project of its kind ever undertaken by mankind, but thanks to Baba over 800 (and counting) villages have been supplied with a fresh supply of drinking water. Also, Swami has built several Super Speciality Hospitals where the poor and needy can get specialist heart and eye treatments completely free of charge. An architect that had undertaken work for the British Royal Family said that the planning alone for such a bold venture would take five years and the building many more years. Yet the plans for the first hospital, erected on the outskirts of Puttaparthi, took just five months, and seven months later no less than three heart procedures were carried out on the day the hospital opened.

I wrote about Baba more extensively in my book, The Amazing Journey, so I’m going to bring this post to a close now. However, Swami will pop up again before I complete my story. Below you will find links to a couple of old blog posts relating to Baba, a you tube video of his famous vibhuti (sacred ash) miracle and to my page on this blog devoted to The Amazing Journey

*Avatar – The descent of God into a physical body. Even though all of us are a descent of God into a physical body, an Avatar is the descent of God in its purest form into a physical body.

*Darshan – Within the sight of a Divine being.

Blog Post It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

Blog Post God Goes Home

The Amazing Journey

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Who Am I? Part Twenty One


Special thanks to Štefan Štefančík for the photo

I have always maintained that my strange experiences in the middle of the night began in 1999. However, the more I think about it, the more it occurs to me that it must have been earlier. I will also add that I will not be wrapping this up in this post, I will be doing that later and revealing the greater understanding of the subject that I have these days. I would be lying if I said that the experience didn’t frighten the life out of me. It didn’t happen very often but when it did I really knew about it. It all started with isolated incidents of being pinned down; completely and utterly unable to move, whilst lying in my bed during the early hours of the morning. The pinning down would always be accompanied by an extremely strong presence of spirit. I always tried to resist but it was impossible; all I could do in my fear was to send thoughts out to God to help me! You have all probably had experiences that are very real, but after the event you try to convince yourself that they didn’t happen, or that you just dreamed or imagined the whole thing. Well that is exactly how it was for me, and the first incident that I can actually remember would have occurred some time at the tail end of 1997; but I know there were incidents before that.

My memory of the finer detail is quite hazy as I type, but I know the experiences intensified as the new millennium approached; so much so that it got to the point where I decided to seek guidance. I asked at the spiritualist church and was given the telephone number of a lady who only lived a short drive away from where I was living in Gorse Hill. This was during the period that I was off work with stress. She was a medium so I went to her also in the hope that she would take all my problems away! I told her what I’d been experiencing, and straight away she said, “Oh, that’s astral travelling, just go with the flow and you will enjoy the experience”. Sure enough, and just as I thought it would, it happened that night. I took the medium’s advice and went with the flow; she was right, it was an incredible experience. I’ve had so many astral adventures since then that it would be impossible to say exactly how many out-of-body experiences I’ve had, but I would guess the figure is well in excess of 200.

In 99.9% of cases the pattern was exactly the same. I would wake in the middle of the night and be unable to get back to sleep. Eventually, I would enter a kind of limbo state; neither asleep nor awake, and it was then that I would feel myself enveloped by spirit. I would then be lifted from my body and carried off at incredible speed, usually through complete darkness but occasionally there would be a tunnel. I would then get dropped off at an astral destination where I was left to my own devices. Then at some point I would have the sensation of returning to my body. Interestingly enough, the return journey is always much quicker than the outbound. A whole new world opened up for me. I found very quickly that simply by thinking myself in a particular direction I would start travelling in that direction. I also learned very quickly to be able to pass through solid objects. Astral energy has a much finer vibration than matter; that’s why we can’t normally see it, but all energy appears solid in its own relevant plane of existence.

In the early days I always kept my eyes closed until I got to my destination, because I found that if I opened them en-route it put a dampener on things and I ended up straight back in my body. Eventually, I was able to open my eyes during the outbound journey, enabling me to view the surroundings and my companion. However, not all journeys have been smooth and I’ve only on very rare occasions had the same companion twice. On one occasion I had a soul whom I nicknamed “Einstein”, because he resembled that great man of science with his crazy, wild hair. It was so uncomfortable for me that I got quite angry and demanded that I return immediately to my body. I did go straight back in my body, but not before acquiring an astral bruise. It remains the only time that has ever happened to me.

Incredibly, on some occasions it got so boring that I questioned the relevance of the experience. On one such occasion I learned that all I needed to do was think myself back into my body, and I would be back in the blink of an eye. There has only been one time when I seemed to be stuck and contemplated the thought that I might possibly have “died”. I ended up outside what looked like a very small version of one of those open-planned newsagents that you get in airports. There was no soul anywhere to be seen except me. I seem to remember looking to try to fathom out what was going on in the “astral news”. All I could see was blank placards and I remember thinking that I was wasting my time. I “thought” myself back into my body but nothing happened! I did it a few more times and still nothing happened. Eventually, I started to make a very slow journey back to my body; it seemed to take an age but I got there in the end.

In the early days things were shown to me that indicated that these experiences can be used to show you scenes from previous lives. In my case I was shown things that I understand to be from my two previous lives. However, I have no way of proving this. Below are a couple of links to accounts of some of my more spectacular out-of-body experiences, and I will touch on the subject again in a future post. Thanks for reading, bye for now!

Operation Caravan

At Last – An Out-Of-Body Experience Worth Writing About

The Descent Into Matter Of The Individualised Soul

Quote


A concise but brilliant description of how the individual soul is formed from Paramahansa Yogananda:

Spirit projects the desire to create an individualised expression of itself. The soul becomes manifest and projects the idea of the body in causal form. The idea becomes energy; or the lifetronic astral body. The astral body becomes condensed in the physical body. Through the integrated spinal passageway of these three instrumental media, the soul descends into identification with the material body and gross matter.

Who Am I? Part Twenty


A photo of the old Swindon College; my saving grace during a difficult time. Alas, she is no more…

In this post I will endeavour to tie up the loose ends from this stage of my journey, and I’d also like to give you a gentle reminder that I am trying to write these articles from the standpoint of my understanding at the time of the events. So, I was now on the right track but I wasn’t quite out of the woods yet. I was still off work ill; and it would be roughly another three months before I went back. At the request of the HR department I went to see the company doctor. I had already, off my own back, attended counselling (which was a waste time) and a stress management course. I wanted to be seen to be pro-active; after all, I didn’t want to be off work, I just wanted to be in a job where I was treated fairly.

Due to a past experience whilst at Royal Mail in the early 1990s I went in to see the company doctor all guns blazing! I felt quite stupid when he assured me that he wanted the best outcome for both sides. We had a constructive chat; the outcome of which was that I believed that he genuinely wanted to help me get back into work, and he believed that I wanted the same. He wrote a letter to HR recommending that I be redeployed back to Swindon. Once again, I will add that the finer details are not relevant so long after the event, and it will waste blog space by explaining why redeployment would be the best fix for me.

Unfortunately, the HR department were completely and utterly insensitive to what I was going through and their treatment of me while I was off work almost amounted to torture. My mind was in a terrible state. In hindsight, I don’t believe they did this on purpose, it was just that they were oblivious to what I was actually experiencing. They were meant to be sending me weekly lists of vacancies in Swindon through the post. But most of the information they sent was for jobs in London and Reading. At the time my tortured mind believed they were doing it deliberately in an attempt to drive me crazy. It never occurred to me that someone in an office somewhere in Reading was simply sending me a general list of current vacancies. There was also the farce of me having to go in to the Customer Service Centre in Swindon, believing I was going to have an informal chat with an HR representative on how they were going to help me back into work. It turned out I was going in for a job interview that I knew nothing about. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. So, they were making me go through the recruitment process to get me back into work! I eventually went back in March 2001, working on a temporary project. While I was doing that I continued applying for jobs and eventually bluffed my way back into full-time employment. Meanwhile….

My lovely flat above the hairdressers, that had served me so well, would soon be confined to the past. Lorraine, who had bought the whole premises soon after I moved in, decided to sell the hairdressing business, whilst maintaining ownership of the shop and flat. After buying the property and business, Lorraine had stopped working in the hairdressers. But, during my time as her tenant we maintained a fantastic relationship. Unfortunately, when I was ill and my paranoia was at its peak, my relationship with the salon in general did sour somewhat; again, the details are not relevant. So when Lorraine sold the business and the new hairdresser took over, naturally her priority was to build up her own business. This meant that she was there much more often than I was used to the other hairdressers being there. It didn’t matter when I was out at work, but when I was off sick and going round the bend it was a nightmare. I could hear everything downstairs. She would stay late on Saturday evenings, she would be in there on Sundays and she also opened on Mondays, which had always been a day when the shop was closed. I was going crazy and decided to look for somewhere else to live.

During this period I had started a couple of courses at Swindon College (but not at the same time). Unfortunately, due to my state of mind I left both courses before the end. However, for a period I was still technically a student at Swindon College, so as long as my student ID was valid I continued to use the facilities. This was a Godsend while I was off work as it gave me a reason to go out in the air every day. I would walk into town to the college and use the computer facilities. It was during one of my visits that I saw a sign on one of the notice boards, “room to let”. It would be a step backwards for me as it was obviously a bedsit, however, I was desperate to get out of the flat in Gorse Hill. Enter Steve…

I made a note of the telephone number and rang it that evening. Steve answered and said that he was no longer wanting to rent out the room and that I had obviously seen an old card. But, in the next breath he said I could come and have a look. He was such a pedantic person that I nicknamed him, “Sad Steve”, but he was harmless really and the rent was so unbelievably cheap that it was almost as though HE was paying me to live there. I had only been there a matter of days when he took in another tenant; a Slovakian girl named Dana. In Steve’s head, because he had taken in another tenant, he felt obliged to reduce my rent even further! In his world he wanted a certain amount of money for the two rooms each month, and simply split the cost between us. I seem to remember Dana’s room being slightly smaller than mine, so she was paying even less than me. In the space of what seemed like no time at all, Steve went from, “I’m no longer looking to rent out a room”, to having two tenants.

He was a man of record keeping, lists and filing cabinets. He only worked a short drive away, but he was up every morning at around 05.30 or even earlier, and would always be at work at least one hour before he was due to start. It was a very strange hotchpotch of people in the house, but we managed to bumble along. Dana and I both knew that we couldn’t stay there too long. Steve got us to sign a contract in which it stated that we were not allowed visitors after 9:00 pm. We both thought that he was an incredibly strange man, but we both felt sorry for him and the rent was ridiculously cheap, so we put up with his peculiar ways. However, it didn’t stop me feeling ashamed and embarrassed that at the age of 45 I was living in a bedsit in a strange man’s house and I wasn’t allowed visitors after 9:00 pm. I was the first to go, but that’s a story for the next post.

In March 2001 I started back at work and also moved out of the flat, and by now my spiritual development was making good progress; in November of that year I would stand up as a medium for the first time. But now it’s confession time! In Part Nineteen I said was going to elaborate on my strange experiences in the night “in the next post”. Well I’m not going to. Instead I’m going to dedicate a whole separate post to it, having decided that it would have made this post far too long. I’m estimating that there will be another seven parts to my journey. One on my “strange experiences in the night”, one on my experiences with Sai Baba, another four to bring us up to present day, and finally, a summary post. Hope this hasn’t been too long-winded for those of you who have stuck with it from the start! See you soon!

The Transitory Phenomenon We Call Life


The nature of our relationship with creation is that of subject/object. The mind (subject) constantly seeks out objects in the world and interacts with them; objects can be things or people. It then draws a series of conclusions and opinions around the interaction, which determine whether we are happy, sad or indifferent with the experience. Relationships are so-called because we all exist in relation to each other. When two people are in love; genuinely in love, it is not because they are in a relationship with each other. It is actually because the soul connection between the two is so strong, that the illusion of the subject/object relationship has broken down and dissolved away, allowing the two souls to merge in Love with each other and experience the oneness of consciousness. This is a great paradox of life; we are only in a relationship when the relationship has broken down!

The subject/object relationship is what is also known as duality; the illusion that things and people exist separately and independently. The only reality is consciousness, however, when consciousness has its dancing shoes on, objects rise up and appear to exist independently of everything and everyone else. But all that rises up must also dissolve away; this is the transitory phenomenon that we call Creation.

Who Am I? Part Nineteen


When the fertilizer hit the fan at work I found that I still had a job, but not the one I’d been doing. It is not relevant to go into too much detail here so many years after the event, instead I will simply relate the main points. The marketing division was unrecognisable from that day in mid December 1998, when the “Swindon crew” rocked up in Reading for the first time. There had been many comings and goings, new jobs, but mainly for people with specific qualifications and young graduates. It was apparent that I was a fish out of water; at one point I was turning up for work in the knowledge that I didn’t really have a job. It was clear to me that I did not fit into the model of the division and that I was on borrowed time. Things got quite intense when I put up resistance to what was happening to me. It didn’t go down well that I was fighting my corner. I remember it being a terrible feeling, working in a place where I didn’t actually have a job. It was also obvious to all my workmates as well, but in the corporate world there is no room for sentiment and it was all about self-preservation. I could see that Gary and Huw were not comfortable with what was happening to me, but Gary had a position of great responsibility and had to get on with his own stuff. Huw as well; his job changed drastically and he was flying, but I will always respect that through that difficult time they remained friends.

Things eventually came to a head when my stubbornness won me a battle. However, it did not win me the war, because I turned up for work one day and the stress of everything had finally taken its toll. I sat down at my desk and had a pain above my eyes. I had not been myself for months; I’d not been sleeping well, drinking every night and with the realisation that I was now a “dead man walking”, having irritated management even more by winning my little battle against them, I had nothing more to give. I was spent. I was told to go home and I would spend six months off work with an acute stress related illness…. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me! Meanwhile…

The open circle became very frustrating. I was like a caged lion, hungry for knowledge of the spirit, and I wasn’t going to get it in a spiritualist church. But, while I was off sick I encountered Sue and John Geis; they ran a spiritual development centre in Gloucester. I got chatting to John at a charity clairvoyant night at Swindon Town Football Club in September 2000. I’d met him before when he’d been working at the church. John’s wife Sue was one of three mediums working that night and I, along with my friend (also called Sue) were helping out with the teas. We were chatting and out of the blue John asked me if I would be interested in developing spiritually. I didn’t need asking twice and I gave him my number. Hold that thought…

We were now into the new millennium and me and Sue, the graphic designer, were history; we had split for good around April 2000. I was off work from early September 2000 to March 2001, and that was a crazy time for me. I was full of anger and hatred towards those at work who I considered were responsible for my plight. The negative emotions festered within me and I became more bitter with each passing day. At first Huw kept in touch, and when Gary was in town we would meet up. But I became a very difficult and negative person to be around and eventually the phone stopped ringing.

It was just me, in my flat above the hairdressers, with my booze, my hatred and my anger. I hadn’t felt like this for a few years, but in that time of misery, every now and then, out of the blue, the phone would ring and it would be Sue. It was probably at this time that I realised what I’d lost. It was apparent that Sue Crewe was an exceptional human being with a heart of gold. She was genuinely concerned about me; even though she was now in a new relationship with a man she would eventually marry and have two lovely children with. She still thought about me and made the time to get in touch. I am eternally grateful for that. meanwhile….

It was around 1999 that I started having strange experiences in the early hours of the morning. Hold that thought because I’m going to elaborate in the next post.

There were some very significant events during my time in the grip of my self-made hell. I’d started trying to meditate. It was my own version but it suited where I was on my journey. I’d also got to know of a book called, “Discover Your Psychic Powers”, by an author called Tara Ward. Not the sort of book I would read today, but very significant indeed back then. It was one of those books that gives you exercises to do. I remember one day I was reading a particular chapter, and there was an exercise that was about forgiving those who you perceive to have done you wrong. The hackles went up and I put the book down in disgust. I wasn’t going to forgive anyone! It must have been a few months later (as I’m quite a slow reader) that I came to a passage that said, “please refer to the exercise on page …”. I leafed back through the book and to my disgust I saw it was the exercise about forgiving people. Once again I shut the book in a defiant mood; there was no way I was going to forgive those b*#*##*!!!!!!!

A few days later something inside me felt that if I was encountering this exercise twice, there must be something in it. I felt that someone, somewhere was trying to tell me something. I decided I was going to give it a go, but it took me a couple of days to psyche myself up, such was the depth of my anger and hatred. The time came and I sat down to do the exercise. I remember that I kind of put my own spin on it. I did a meditation, in which I divided all my “enemies” from work into two groups, men and women. I visualised that I encountered all the men one by one in the street. I greeted them, shook them by the hand and wished them well on their way. I then visualised encountering the women, greeting them with a friendly hug, producing a bunch of flowers from behind my back and giving them the flowers as I wished them well on their way. It wasn’t that difficult. When I’d finished I stood up from my seat and to my amazement I had the tangible experience of feeling something rising up inside my stomach. I realised years later that this was my kundalini rising after so many years of being stuck.

The next significant thing to happen was that in between the Christmas and New Year of 2000/01 I got a phone call out of the blue from John Geis. He said he was starting up a new closed circle in January and would I like to participate. It was manna from heaven for me and I snapped up the chance. But that wasn’t all! He said that before the circle begins there is a chance, if I want, to attend a meditation workshop at their centre. I jumped at the chance to do this as well, and what a choice it was. In all the time I’d been going to the spiritualist church I’d never had any proper guidance with regard to meditation. But in the space of a few hours on this particular Saturday I experienced an explosion within my being of epic proportions. I’d never experienced anything like it in my life and my new adventure had begun.

I’m so glad to have been able to write two blog posts in such quick succession, as my chronic fatigue has not been very kind to me since my return from Nepal. Thanks for your patience!

Who Am I? Part Eighteen


This post is going to be like one of those films where they keep switching from one scene to the other because there are several stories going on at the same time, which all come together in the end. Firstly, as far as work was going, I fell for the yarn that was spun to me prior to accepting the new position, and was swept away on the crest of a wave of delusion. I was constantly making enquiries as to whether any new positions were coming up, and I had my heart set on joining the marketing team. I was bored with key accounts, and my efforts to get myself noticed didn’t go down very well with key accounts management. So much so, that my line manager eventually took me to one side and reminded me that I was a customer agent in the key accounts team; implying that I should know my place and get on with the job I was paid to do.

Eventually, I was offered a position within the marketing team; I was elated! If only I knew then what was just around the corner! It was cloud cuckoo land for several months. The job was only a side-step, but the marketing manager promised me it would lead to a promotion. During a conversation I had with the key accounts manager some weeks after taking up the new position in marketing, I mentioned what I had been told about getting promoted; he just laughed and walked off! This was a sign of what was to come. But in the meantime I was still riding the crest of a wave. There was long lunches, paid for on the managers’ expense accounts, and even though I was quite a low grade I was issued with a company mobile phone and I could also claim any expenses that I incurred on my travels. I should mention that my new job entailed managing the products that we were trying to sell to our commercial customers. This meant going out on the road from time to time, hence I was allowed to claim any expenses incurred. As well as ordering any stocks that I thought we needed I was also responsible for managing the installation of the aforementioned products. By this time I was no longer using the rail warrant to get to work. I had been advised to take out a company loan and buy a car, as I would need one to do my new job. This I did, and because I was not the only one commuting from Swindon, we would car share so that the burden of fuel expense could be shared.

In the meantime I had started going back to the spiritualist church on a more regular basis. Nothing had particularly changed; I still felt that there was a staleness to Spiritualism and the atmosphere in the church was pretty much exactly as it was. This time however, I did get to meet several people who I could relate to, and eventually I decided to go along to what they called the “open circle”, which was held on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. An open circle is not something that I would particularly advise participating in these days; they can actually be quite dangerous, but at that time it suited me. The open circle is for people who are wanting to find out more about Spiritualism and to start to develop their psychic and mediumistic abilities. It’s called an open circle because anybody can come and sit. Me and my particular group of friends formed the nucleus of the open circle; there was about six of us. When it was just us it was great, but sometimes there would be loads of people turning up, and everyone brings their own horrors with them so to speak, so an open circle is not always the ideal experience. Meanwhile back in Reading…

My best mates at work were Gary and Huw. Gary was one grade below middle-management within the marketing team and he lived in London. Huw was also in the marketing team and lived in Swindon; he was one of the car sharers. From time to time Gary would come to Swindon and stay at Huw’s house and we would get together over a few bears and have a real laugh. Eventually, I realised that my sexy new job was nothing of the sort. My line manager had previously been responsible for what I was now doing. When it became apparent that it entailed a lot of hassle and that it was pretty much a losing battle, they needed someone to dump on, and that person was me. In theory the products were great, but in practice they simply didn’t work; mainly because of the many unforeseen problems with installation. Cracks started to appear and eventually someone very high up within the organisation realised that our new all-singing-all-dancing marketing department was haemorrhaging money. Thousands of pounds had been spent with very little return so heads had to roll. Incredibly, there was only one actual redundancy that I remember, but there was a huge restructuring. The one bloke who got made redundant was Dave. He was one of the three salespeople and a really good bloke. As ever in these situations it was the people who had been responsible for the biggest mess who came up smelling of roses once the dust had settled, poor Dave was just a scapegoat. Meanwhile back at the oasis…

Prior to things turning sour, I started a relationship with a woman called Sue. She worked in the same building as me in Reading; she was upstairs in graphic design. We were together for six months, during which time I was incredibly insensitive towards her. I really didn’t appreciate her and eventually we parted company. For me, it was a case of, “you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone”, but we still had some good times together. I’m mentioning Sue because I think she is quite significant to my story at this time, which will become clearer a little later. We had two things in common, an interest in Spiritualism and alcohol.

Eventually, I got more involved with trying to develop myself spiritually, and there is a milestone moment I will share with you. I’ll also have to backtrack because it was the first time I ever went to the open circle.  It was as though something inside me was saying, “now is the time to go forward”, so I decided that I was going to go to this open circle thing. The person in charge said we were going to try something called psychometry, which is to pick up information from an object by holding it. For example, by holding a piece of jewellery in your hand you may be able to pick up information about who has worn it. Most of the others present seemed quite apprehensive but I quickly offered myself forward to have a go, and to my amazement I was able to give some fairly accurate information to complete strangers simply by holding the items they had brought with them. This was the springboard for me and now there was no holding me back.

Because this period is quite involved I’m going to split it into two parts as I want to keep the reader’s interest. So I’m going to get straight on with part nineteen.